Natural Eye Care Tips

As COVID-19 Disrupts Education, Ophthalmology Residents Adapt

When Dr. Charles DeBoer, a second-year resident in the USC Department of Ophthalmology, learned that barrier shields meant to protect patients and physicians from COVID-19 droplet transfer were nationally backordered, he spent his own time and personal resources to build PPE customized for ophthalmic exams

“I saw a barrier shield design in the paper, ‘Stepping up infection control measures in ophthalmology during the novel coronavirus outbreak: an experience from Hong Kong (2020)’ and thought the way they implemented infection control made sense,” said Dr. DeBoer. “So I copied it for our clinics and we refined the design.” In collaboration with co-resident Dr. Diana Lee and two attending physicians, Drs. Vivek Patel and Annie Nguyen, Dr. DeBoer created barrier shields out of polycarbonate sheets for slit lamps, the microscopes used to look into patients’ eyes.

In addition, residents are continuously implementing the latest COVID-19 industry responses provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). They are strengthening their history taking skills to learn more about their patients’ health histories, and have increased in-depth provider-to-provider discussions with their fellow residents, fellows, and faculty. Furthermore, residents are learning how to use new technology to provide telehealth services to meet patient needs.

Dr. Hua elaborated that patients often call with eye problems that can be resolved over the phone. Several patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have called with concern that they are developing an eye infection, as well. “In this situation, we ensure that the patient has no vision-threatening issues. We educate and counsel them on supportive care, emphasize the importance of social distancing, and make sure they practice good hygiene. As a result, we minimize exposure for everyone.”

Due to the California Governor’s Executive Order, as well as LA County requirements, clinic volume has been drastically limited to only treating patients with emergency eye conditions. The residency program has taken additional measurements to decrease the likelihood of a COVID-19 infection by having residents rotate in teams at LAC+USC, one week on and one week. In addition, KMC clinics are only seeing urgent patients and all elective surgeries have been canceled. Due to these changes, residents are not rotating in Keck clinics.

 

Helpful Winter Eye Care Tips

When the snow and cold of winter begin to roll in, we often take steps to protect ourselves from the impending cold and flu season. But it may surprise you to know that the cold of winter may have a few potential risks in store for our vision as well.

Dry Air

As outdoor temperatures drop during the winter, the air becomes colder and can no longer hold as much atmospheric water vapor–humidity–as warmer air present during the rest of the year. Cold winter winds are especially dehydrating to our eyes and skin which are comprised mostly of water. When the air is dry, the eye surface—which is 99 percent water—loses moisture content to accelerated evaporation and can become dry, dehydrated and irritated.

Reflected UV Radiation

It’s commonly known that excessive UV exposure from direct sunlight puts us at greater risk for skin cancer and can even lead to cataracts—hence the reason we’re advised to wear sunglasses and sunscreen during long periods of outdoor activity. UV radiation can also be reflected from the snow and while it may not always cause a sunburn, it poses just as great a threat to our vision health.

Indoor Air

Dry air isn’t just problematic outside during the cooler months. When we heat our homes during the winter, the cold, dry air from outside is heated up and forced indoors. Warm dry air is even more dehydrating than cool dry air and creates an uncomfortable and dehydrating environment for our eyes and skin. Recirculated indoor air also contains other dehydrating factors such as ambient skin flora and bacteria, in far greater amounts than fresh outdoor air.

Although the cold, dry air of winter may not be ideal for optimal vision health, there are plenty of solutions to keep your eyes clear, comfortable, and healthy, such as:

Keep your eyes moist. Placing houseplants or a humidifier in your home can drastically improve dry indoor air conditions. Moisturizing eye drops can relieve dry eyes as well. Feel free to ask your Vision Source® optometrist which drops would be right for you.

Wear sunglasses in the winter. Choose sunglasses with UV protection to ensure your vision is safe from snow-reflected sunshine.

Consider wearing eyeglasses more frequently than contact lenses. Regular eyeglasses do a better job of protecting your eyes from the cold winter winds and can even help hold heat and moisture close to the eyes.

 

Comprehensive Eye Exam

At Lentz Eye Care in Wichita Kansas and Newton, our optometrist provide thorough eye exams using the latest technology, but we also take time to listen to your needs and explain your options

Routine eye exams include:

Physical eye health exam. The external and internal parts of the eyes are examined using special instruments like a slit lamp biomicroscope, binocular indirect ophthalmoscope and special focusing lenses. Your pupils may be dilated with eye drops for some of these tests.

Refraction. This test determines your eyeglass or contact lens prescription and we perform precise measurement in several different ways to determine the lens formula that will work best for you. Instruments used include computerized autorefractor, phoroptor and retinoscope, but an important part of prescribing lenses is for the doctor to understand how you use your eyes at work and leisure.

Binocular vision testing. We test your eye coordination to be sure your vision is comfortable and that your eyes work well together. This includes an analysis of the eye muscles used for movement, focusing and depth perception. If you have a problem with binocularity, your doctor may correct it with prescription glasses or recommend vision therapy.

Tonometry. This is one of several risk factors for glaucoma that we evaluate. It is a measure of the fluid pressure inside the eye. We offer a couple of ways to do this test: 1) a new generation of air puff test that is very gentle and quiet, 2) Goldmann tonometry, which is a device with a blue light that shines at the eye.

Visual field test. Every comprehensive exam includes a screening of your peripheral vision with a computerized autoperimeter. You click a hand-held button when you see shimmering squares off to the side. It takes about 1.5 minutes per eye and it can help diagnose or rule out neurological disorders of the visual system.

Optos retinal photography. The Optomap scanning laser takes a digital color photograph of the back of your eye. This test is recommended on a routine basis to provide your doctor with a baseline record of the appearance of your retina, internal blood vessels and optic nerve. It is also used to document diseases and anatomical abnormalities and monitor them over time.

Macular Pigment Optical Density. MPOD is a measure of the risk for developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. This screening test measures the density of pigment cells in the macula and it is recommended for all patients 18 and over. This test is evaluated along with 10 other AMD risk factors. Patients with a low macular pigment score may take nutritional supplements which will provide protection against macular degeneration and could even restore the pigment layer.

Specular endothelial microscopy. A microscope magnifies the cells thousands of times and the image is captured with a camera. The reason for this exam is to monitor the number, density and quality of endothelial cells that line the back of the cornea. Healthy endothelial cells keep the cornea clear.

 

Eye Health: How to Care For Your Eyes Naturally

From small, practical activities, like looking up a phone number, to life-changing events, like looking into your baby’s eyes for the first time, your eyes play an important role each and every step of the way. Here a few simple ways you can protect and care for them naturally.

Refresh your eyes morning and night

After a night of sleep or a busy day, your eyes will feel less tired and more vibrant when you splash them with water. One of the first things you do upon waking and before going to sleep is to brush your teeth right? So either before, or after brushing your teeth, take a moment to fill your mouth with water and hold it for a few seconds with your eyes closed. This puts a slight pressure from inside to push the eyes outward. Spit the water out. Now splash your eyes and face with slightly warm, or cool water several times. Never use hot or cold water on the eyes.

Remember to relax your eyes

We live amidst a constant stream of information transmitted through cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions. There are movies on airplanes and televisions in taxis. There are touch-screens at the airport to check you in, and touch-screens at the supermarket to check you out. There are apps to check the weather, and GPSs in the car so you don’t get lost. With so much time spent looking at screens, it’s no wonder our eyes feel strained. In fact, there’s even a term for it. CVS. Computer Vision Syndrome

To ease the strain it is important to relax your eyes. Here are some helpful tips:

For every hour spent focusing on the screen, take 10 minutes to take a short walk around the block, or sit by a window and have a glass of water or cup of tea. Relax your eyes by gazing at the horizon, the trees in the distance, or something in nature.

Blink often to renew moisture.

Palm your eyes by rubbing both hands together quickly for several seconds to create a mild heat. Close your eyes and gently place the palms over your eyes for a minute or so. Breathe gently. Repeat 2 or 3 times. If it’s hot outside, or if your eyes are burning and red, instead of rubbing the palms together, run your hands under cool water, dry them, and then gently place them over your closed eyelids.

Adjust your computer screen or seat so that your eyes are slightly higher than the screen, and your gaze is cast ever so slightly downward. This will relieve your neck and face from getting overly stiff.

Exercise your eyes

We give a lot of attention (hopefully!) to making sure our bodies stay strong and flexible, our core muscles don’t weaken, and our hearts stay vital. But how many of us do the same for our eyes? Although doing eye exercises may not keep you from needing glasses, they can help your eyes feel refreshed and vibrant. Here is a simple exercise.

 

Eye Care Tips & Information

We’ve compiled our top eye care tips for you and your loved ones so that you never miss out on special moments. From nutrition to protection, discover expert advice on keeping your eyes healthy through every season of life.

Equip Your Kid to Succeed: Unusual changes in your child’s behavior may be due to changes in their vision. Discover the signs that your loved one needs to see an eye doctor

Eye Care Tips for your Children

Signs Your Kids Might Have Poor Vision: Learn the tell-tale signs that your child might need to see their eye doctor.

Can She See at School?: One in four school-age children have a vision problem – find out if your child does too.

Importance of Eye Exams for Kids: Discover why you should add “eye exam” to your child’s back-to-school list every year.

Why Kids Need Eye Care: Discover the top five reasons why you should bring your child in for an eye exam every year.

Why Your Eye Health Is Vital: When it comes to vision, there’s more than meets the eye. Discover what your eye exam could reveal about your health.

There are ways to help if you know what to look for.

If you have been lucky enough to have never needed eyeglasses or contact lenses in your life, encountering eye problems as you get older can be a bit frustrating. One year Spring is in bloom and the next it might be hard to see leaves on a tree. Difficulty reading or working on a computer is a good indication that your focusing ability may be suffering due to aging eyes Keep reading to learn five of the most common signs that your vision is potentially changing.

You need more light.

A common eye condition is needing more light to see as you age. Brighter lights in your work area or next to your reading chair always have to be on to help make reading and other close-up tasks easier.

Use Eye Care Methode To Make Your Eye Healthy

How to Choose a Good Eye Doctor

Choosing an eye doctor is just as important as selecting a general health physician. Your eyes are not only a window to the world, but they also serve as a window to your overall health. Because your eyes are an essential part of everyday life, your choice of a good eye doctor is not one that should be taken lightly. Here are five key things to look for when choosing an eye doctor

Two Types of Eye Doctors

Optometrists can treat some eye diseases, prescribe medication, and do not perform surgery on the eyes. To become an optometrist one would go to college, then spend four more years in Optometry school and can participate in programs specializing in some types of eye disease

Ophthalmologists treat all types of eye disease, prescribe medication, and perform surgery on the eyes. To become an Ophthalmologist one would go to college, then spend four years in Medical School, and then spend four more years in a residency program. Some ophthalmologists, after their residency will spend up to several more years if they are interested in specializing in a particular type of Ophthalmology, although this is not required to be considered a general Ophthalmologist

Which Is Right For You

It’s a good idea to consider the type of care you need when selecting an eye doctor. For a general eye exam either an ophthalmologist or optometrist will suit your purpose, however if you have a specific eye disease – you may want to consider an ophthalmologist for ongoing care (depending on the issue). In terms of fitting contact lenses and educating you on all the options with regard to glasses, spectacle lenses and contact lenses – Optometrists are typically thought of as the go to professional.

Eye Doctor Availability

When it comes to optometrists – does the practice offer evening and weekend hours of availability? Does the practice have openings within the week of your desired well vision exam?

 

Tips for Good Eye Health

Watching lots of movies

Sit at a distance equivalent to at least five times the width of your TV screen

Include eye healthy foods in your meal

Foods containing vitamin C (papayas, red bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, and oranges) or antioxidants such as lutein and beta-carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, kale, and broccoli) can help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Get regular…with your eye exams

There is no better way to protect your vision than an eye exam, as many eye diseases have no easily detectable symptoms. The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends children have their first eye exam between ages six and nine months, and annually after that. Adults should have eye exams every two years, or at the direction of their optometrist.

Butt out!

Smoking contributes to a number of eye related health issue

Take 20

Take a 20 second break from your computer screen every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.

 

Healthy Eyes

Eat a Balanced Diet

As part of your healthy diet, choose foods rich in antioxidants, like Vitamins A and C; foods like leafy, green vegetables and fish.  Many foods – especially fatty fish, such as salmon – contain essential omega-3 fatty acids that are important to the health of the macula, the part of the eye responsible for central vision.

An inadequate intake of antioxidants, consumption of alcohol or saturated fats may create free-radical reactions that can harm the macula – the central part of the retina. High-fat diets can also cause deposits that constrict blood flow in the arteries. The eyes are especially sensitive to this, given the small size of the blood vessels that feed them

Get a good night’s sleep

You’ll feel the difference when you get the sleep you need. You’ll look great, you’ll perform at home or work—and good rest will support the health of your eyes.

Wash your hands

Keeping your hands clean is so important when it comes to your eyes, especially if you’re a contact lens wearer. Before you touch your eye—and before you put in or remove a contact lens—wash your hands with a mild soap and dry with a lint-free towel. Some germs and bacteria that come from your hands can cause eye infections, like bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye). When you touch your eye, whatever is on your fingers goes right onto your eye’s surface. This is one way that people catch colds—rubbing their eyes while they have cold virus germs on their hands.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking exposes your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress. While the connection has not been clearly identified, it is known that smoking increases your risk for a variety of health conditions affecting the eye.

 

AN OPTOMETRIST’S BEST TIPS FOR EYE CARE

EAT BETTER

Your eye health actually begins with what you eat. If you want to avoid developing any age-related vision problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration, you should pay more attention to what you put on your plate. You should fill up on more nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, lutein and omega-3 fatty acids. You’ll get these nutrients by eating more oily fish such as salmon and tuna. Incorporate more green leafy vegetables like collards, kale, and spinach in your meals too. For a healthy dessert or snack, have an orange or enjoy a glass of natural citrus juice.

WEAR SUNGLASSES

Just like your skin, your eyes could also use some protection from the harmful rays of the sun. For this, you need a pair of sunglasses able to effectively block 99 to 100 percent of UVB and UVA rays. You can also use polarized lenses to help reduce glare when driving

STOP STARING AT THE SCREEN

Whether it’s your phone or computer, staring at the screen for far too long can result in a wide range of eye issues. These include eye strain, dry eyes, blurry vision, trouble focusing, headaches, and more

MAKE REGULAR VISITS TO YOUR EYE DOCTOR

There’s no better expert to check out your eyes than your eye doctor, so make sure to schedule regular visits to your eye care center. Ideally, you should come in at least once a year.

Remember these tips to keep your vision and overall eye health in good condition. For the clearest vision possible, your eyes just need proper care and attention just like every other part of your body.

 

Ways To Maintain Good Eye Health

When you wake up in the morning, your surroundings may appear a little blurry. After a few minutes, the blurriness fades and you can see things properly. As you go throughout your day, you notice that you have a harder time reading the writing on boards. Your eyes may even hurt a little bit as you look at your computer screen during the day.

You feel slightly concerned about the change in your vision and the strain you feel, so you schedule an appointment with your optometrist. During your visit, you discover that you need to wear glasses to resolve the problems you’ve experienced

VISIT YOUR EYE DOCTOR OFTEN

First and foremost, you should visit your eye doctor every two years and receive eye exams. During these appointments, your optometrist will check your eyes for abnormalities, diseases, and other complications. If he or she notices any issues, you’ll work together to treat the condition.

EAT THE RIGHT FOODS

Another way to ensure good eye health is to eat the right kinds of foods. Nutrient-rich foods promote healthy eyes and overall health.

STOP SMOKING

According to recent studies, smoking negatively affects your eye health, as well as your overall health. These studies have linked smoking to increased risks for optic nerve damage, macular degeneration, and cataracts. All of these conditions could cause you to go blind.

Find Out The Correct Dentist For You

5 steps to choosing a new dentist

Regular check-ups

When it comes to tooth care, it’s always best to see the same dentist regularly. You’ll establish a relationship, and that dentist will get to know all your individual needs, from anxieties to allergies. Plus you’ll have a history together. “They will be familiar with what’s gone on in your mouth The more work the dentist has put in, the more responsibility the dentist will have for it. If anything happens down the road, it makes a difference how it’s taken care of.

But how do you find a dentist who’s right for you? These five steps will guide you in your search.

Getting a referral

If you’re moving to a new community, it’s always helpful to ask your current dentist if she can recommend someone. But don’t stop there. Check with your family doctor or neighbourhood pharmacist for referrals. Use your social network: Put the word out to friends, relatives and even parents of your kids’ friends to let them know you’re looking.

Checking out the logistics

A certain new dentist may be dazzling, but how accessible is his office? Is there parking or public transportation nearby? What are the office hours? If the dentist won’t book appointments on weekends or evenings and you’re tied to your desk from Monday to Friday, it may not be a match. What about dental emergencies, like a broken tooth on a Sunday afternoon? How are they handled? What’s the fee range, and if you don’t have insurance, is a payment plan available?

Placing a call

Phone the front-desk staff to find out whether the dentist is accepting new patients. While you’re at it, ask about some of the logistics you’re still wondering about. This is also your chance to check out any attitude. “How does the receptionist treat you?” says Ward. “Are the staff friendly? Do they make you feel good?” If you’re left on hold indefinitely, if the staff seem snappish and rushed, or if they don’t seem to know the answers to any of your questions, it may not be a good sign.

Paying a visit

Go and see the place in person. Is it easy to get to, and did it take you a reasonable amount of time? Are the waiting room and offices neat, clean and well-organized? Are you treated with courtesy when you arrive? What’s your sense of the overall atmosphere – do you feel comfortable in this environment?

Talking with the doc

At your first visit, ask the dentist about her approach to treatment. Does she explain things clearly, and is prevention part of her oral care plan?  Dentists differ in things like their emphasis on cosmetic dentistry, or how frequently they require an x-ray. “You should have a pretty good idea about what you want for yourself, and see how they fit in with that,” says Ward. Most important of all, this introductory chat with the dentist will help you decide how comfortable you are with her. Do you find you can communicate easily, and does she listen to your questions and concerns?

It may take some doing to find the best dentist-patient fit. But the long-term payoff for you-and your teeth-will be well worth it.

 

How to Find the Right Dentist –

Considering that you and your dentist will be partners in your dental healthcare for the long haul, choosing the right dentist is an important decision for you and your family. How do you go about finding the right dentist?

To help you with this, we’ve come up with a list of what we think are the top 10 things to consider:

First make an initial list of three or four dentist based on a few things:

  1. Do they submit claims to all insurances?

If you want to see a dentist that comes highly recommended by a friend or family member but is out of your network, call the practice and ask if they submit claims to all insurance providers. Most do, so it is worth asking before eliminating this practice from your list.

  1. Do they offer other payment options for non-insured patients?

If you do not have dental insurance a big consideration may be whether or not the practice offers patient financing options such as Credit Care or Springstone.  As many practices require payment upfront, having a means to pay for the service insures you get the treatment you need.

  1. Are they members of professional associations such as the American Dental Association or the Wisconsin Dental Association?

Members of the ADA voluntarily agree to abide by the ADA Code as a condition of membership in the Association.

The ADA Code has three main components: The Principles of Ethics, the Code of Professional Conduct and the Advisory Opinions. For more info: WDA Code of Ethics.

  1. Are treatment plans discussed up front and cost estimates given?

When discussing treatment, are the plans covered in detail so you know what to expect, how many visits the treatment will take, how much time? Are you given accurate estimates up front? Are your questions answered clearly?

 

Your Right to Care

The ADA dictates that, as a patient, you have a right to “reasonable arrangements for dental care and emergency treatment.” This doesn’t mean that the dentist has to be available at all hours or to participate in procedures for which he or she may not be qualified.

With that being said, the ADA adds that you have the right to “arrange to see the dentist every time you receive dental treatment.” The interpretation of this varies by state. Some states, for example, requires a dentist to see you once a year even if you only go in for cleaning. Other states are far more lax in their regulations.

In addition to access, the ADA asserts that:

  • You have the right to receive considerate and respectful treatment
  • You have a right to accept, defer, or decline any part of your treatment
  • You have a right to ask for alternative treatment options (even though a dentist may decline if they are harmful, experimental, or contrary to prescribed dental practices)

 

What if I’m satisfied with my current dentist, but they’re not in my network?

Keep going to the dentist you love!

To understand why this is probably the best choice, it’s important to know that dental prices are not standardized like medical charges.

In-network providers sign a contract in which they agree to be paid less than they’d hope to in exchange for being included in the network. The fee isn’t massive, and it’s worth it for many providers. However, if you’re out-of-network, you can technically charge anything you want.

Here are the two options I would recommend, in this order:

  • Show them your new dental insurance plan to find out if they’re willing to accept whatever the insurance company is willing to pay, then write off the rest. The downside to this is that you could eat up the cap on your dental insurance benefits for the year, which isn’t great if you have major work needed.
  • Ask for an “in-network fee schedule.” That schedule is set up to normalize every dental billing code and how much they agree to make from every insurance company for those codes. Most offices are willing to accept this, and it means you’ll pay similar prices with your existing dentist as you would by switching to an in-network provider.

Either way, the dental office will still file the claim for you. I suggest setting up an agreement for one of the above options before your appointment, so you understand what you will (and won’t) be required to pay.

 

Eat a Balanced Diet

The ADA encourages patients to eat a tooth-friendly, balanced diet, limiting sugar intake. While sugars are necessary for proper body functions, they also feed the bacteria in the mouth, resulting in acid production. This acid production is responsible for erosion and tooth weakening.

Choose foods such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy options for general oral health. The ADA also lists several foods that are among the most damaging to teeth:

  • Acidic citrus foods
  • Sugary coffee drinks
  • Sticky, hard candies or dried fruit
  • Crunchy foods that retain plaque
  • Sodas and sports drinks

The ADA recommends drinking plenty of water throughout the day, too, not only to stay hydrated, but to rinse residual food debris and acids from the surface of the enamel. Saliva is also critical to helping you wash away food particles and acids from your mouth. Your mouth actually releases less saliva during snacking compared with when you eat a meal, which is why the ADA recommends limiting your snacking.