304 W. Houghton, PO Box 128, West Branch MI 48661, 989-345-2020
The office is closed for lunch on Wednesdays only.
Monday.......10:00am to 5:30pm
Tuesday........8:00am to 7:00pm
Wednesday..8:00am to Noon, then 1:30pm to 5:00pm
Thursday.......8:00am to 7:00pm
Friday............8:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday.......8:00am to Noon
Call 345-2020 for an appointment.
Same day appointments
may be available. We post cancellation openings on our facebook page
Smartphone Screen Time Tied To Lower Quality Sleep, Study Suggests. Reuters reports smartphone screen time is tied to lower quality sleep, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) published in the PLoS ONE. Researchers used a mobile app to calculate how much time spent looking at smartphone screens and found that an increase in screen time was correlated with lower quality sleep.
The NPR Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/22, Bichell) “Shots” blog reports, “Vision loss in one eye can be a sign that a person is having a small stroke” or may “also signal a compressed optic nerve.” But, “after further investigation, researchers...think the problem is” simply a case of “transient smartphone ‘blindness.’” The women were looking at their smartphones with “one eye covered because they were lying in bed.” That meant the retina in the eye looking at the smartphone “was adapted to light,” while the retina in the covered eye had adapted to the dark.
CDC Says Zika Is “Scarier” Than Initially Thought And Has Been Linked To Blindness: ABC World News Tonight (4/11, story 8, 1:10, Muir) reported on Monday that the CDC has said the Zika virus is “scarier than we initially thought.” The CDC now expects the virus to reach “farther north” to 30 states in the US, and that the virus has been linked to premature birth, birth defects, smaller brain size, and blindness. NBC Nightly News (4/11, lead story, 2:20, Costello) reported there are already 346 Zika cases in the US, and Dr. Peter Hotez, a tropical disease expert, said he’s “very worried” that in “areas of extreme poverty, poor neighborhoods in US Gulf Coast cities...we are highly vulnerable to seeing Zika virus transmission leading to microcephaly cases.” The US News & World Report Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/11, Leonard) reports “concern is mounting...as the weather gets warmer and as travelers return from Latin America, where the prevalence of the virus is high.” Zika “is primarily spread through mosquitoes but also is transmitted sexually, and scientists aren’t sure what many of its long-lasting effects will be.”
Many People Unaware Certain Eye Problems Require Immediate Emergency Care: Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (2/24, Doyle) reports that not many people are aware certain eye problems can present suddenly and require emergency care immediately, such as central retinal artery occlusion, acute-closure glaucoma, giant cell arteritis, or retinal detachment, a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online Feb. 18 in JAMA Ophthalmology suggests. This is problematic, because if these conditions are not treated swiftly, vision impairment or blindness can ensue.
AOA offers consumers closer look at ordering eyeglasses online: Purchasing eyeglasses online may offer convenience to consumers, but AOA warns that the consequences of making an incorrect or uninformed purchase could cost patients more time and money in the long run. The AOA stresses to consumers that eyeglasses are an investment in their health and must be custom-fitted not only to be comfortable, but also to meet their particular prescriptive needs, which only an eye doctor can determine. "Without visiting an eye doctor, patients run the risk of purchasing eyeglasses online with an improper fit or receiving the wrong prescription altogether," said Samuel D. Pierce, O.D., AOA secretary-treasurer. "Ultimately, patients can expend more time dealing with order mistakes and making returns than had they simply visited their local optometrist in the first place."
An AOA study published in 2011 with the Optical Laboratories Association and The Vision Council reinforces the drawbacks of online orders. The study concluded:
Of 200 glasses ordered online, only 154 pairs were received;
44.8 percent had incorrect prescriptions or safety issues;
29 percent had at least one lens fail to meet required prescription;
19 percent of adult lenses failed impact resistance testing; and,
25 percent of children's lenses failed impact resistance testing.
Purchasing eyeglasses from a local optometrist is the AOA's first and foremost recommendation, but if patients are still interested in making a purchase online, the AOA warns consumers to do their homework before making a final decision. "If a consumer believes that ordering a pair of glasses online is in their best interest, it is important for the consumer to be fully informed regarding the potential pitfalls in doing so," Dr. Pierce said. "The peer-reviewed study revealed that nearly half of all glasses ordered online had either prescription errors or failed to meet minimum safety standards. Personally, I find that very scary. Patients deserve better than that."
Regular Sugary Drink Consumption Tied To Increased Risk For T2D Regardless Of Weight. HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/22, Thompson) reports that no matter whether people are obese or slim, if they “drink lots of sugary soda or other sweetened drinks,” they may be at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D), according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online in the BMJ.
Company Claims New Laser Treatment Can Change Brown Eyes Into Blue Eyes. TIME Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (3/6, Poppick) reports that California-based Stroma Medical claims that “a new treatment has successfully changed the color of people’s eyes in Latin America.” In the US, however, the FDA has not approved the procedure. Stroma “claims that it has conducted 37 successful treatments on patients in Mexico and Costa Rica” with a laser treatment that “turns brown eyes blue.” The 20-second, $5,000 procedure “works by disturbing the thin layer of pigment that exists on the surfaces of all brown irises.” Results are not instantaneous. It takes several weeks after the procedure for the eyes to turn blue. While the company maintains the procedure is safe, some eye experts have expressed caution that the procedure could result in increased ocular pressure and a higher risk for glaucoma.
OTC Medicines Purporting To Promote Eye Health May Have Misleading Labels. The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/17) reports in its “New Old Age” blog on treatments associated with age-related macular degeneration, “the leading cause of severe vision impairment and blindness in older Americans.” A “big clinical trial,” called AREDS and conducted by the National Eye Institute, “showed that certain nutritional supplements could slow the progression of macular degeneration and reduce the risk of vision loss.” Manufacturers “quickly responded with a host of over-the-counter pills making a host of claims” that “supposedly help people with macular degeneration.” Dr. Ingrid Scott, an ophthalmologist at the Penn State College of Medicine, “recently reviewed the ingredients and found reasons to proceed with caution.” The study, published in the journal Ophthalmology, “found that most best-selling products didn’t follow the proven AREDS formula,” and also made no mention of the fact that “the AREDS results don’t pertain to everyone.” The blog adds that “because such products aren’t considered drugs,” the FDA doesn’t “test or approve” the products.
CDC Study Links Thousands Of Eye, Skin Injuries To Indoor Tanning. USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/16, Painter) reports that a study by CDC researchers published in JAMA Internal Medicine indicates that “an estimated 1,957 indoor tanners landed in U.S.” emergency departments (EDs) “in 2012 after burning their skin or eyes, fainting or suffering other injuries.” CDC researcher Gery Guy “says the actual number of injuries is certainly higher because the study did not include injured people who did not go to” EDs.
Weight-Loss Surgery Patients Who Don’t Take Supplements May Face Vision Problems. HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/5, Preidt) reports that research published in Obesity Surgery suggests that “weight-loss surgery patients who don’t take prescribed vitamin and mineral supplements could put themselves at risk for vision problems.” HealthDay adds, “A lower intake of vitamins A, E and B1 (thiamine) and copper are especially concerning because they help with the normal functioning of the eye and optic system...said” the investigators. The researchers “found that vitamin A deficiency was most strongly linked to eye problems after weight-loss surgery.”
AOA Provides Tips On Helping Kids Avoid Digital Eye Strain. The Midland (MI) Daily News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/6) reports that “a survey by the American Optometric Association found that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 say they use an electronic device for at least three hours each day.” This may result in “digital eye strain, a temporary condition caused by prolonged technology use” that “can cause children to experience burning, itchy or tired eyes, headaches, fatigue, loss of focus and blurred vision.” The AOA recommends practice of the 20-20-20 rule to help avoid eye strain. In other words, kids should take a break lasting for 20 seconds every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet in the distance.
Bad news Contact Lens practices:
1. Wearing lenses longer than recommended;
2. Not washing hands prior to handling lenses;
3. Not drying hands prior to handling lenses;
4. Failing to adhere to the proper lens care system;
5. Forgetting to care for storage cases; and,
6. Sleeping in lenses not designed to be slept in.
Should you order glasses online? Pertinent highlights of an AOA study published in 2011 with the Optical Laboratories Association and The Vision Council reveals the drawbacks of online orders.:
Of 200 glasses ordered online, only 154 pairs were received;
44.8 percent had incorrect prescriptions or safety issues;
29 percent had at least one lens fail to meet required prescription;
23 percent of adult lenses failed impact testing; and,
29 percent of children’s lenses failed impact testing.
Laser Toys May Cause Serious Eye Damage. HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/22, Preidt) reports that, according to a case report published online Nov. 4 in the journal Ophthalmology, high-powered blue laser toys may “cause serious and potentially permanent eye damage.” Researchers reported “on 14 cases of laser-caused eye damage” that “were caused by high-power blue laser gadgets and included four cases of perforations of the retina.” The injuries were sustained by boys and men ranging in age from 11 to 30. Two patients suffered lasting damage to the retina.
Dry-Eye Syndrome, Treatments Explained: On the front of its Personal Journal section, the Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/9, D1, Reddy, Subscription Publication) reports that dry-eye syndrome may affect up to 25 million Americans. The condition can be caused by aging, but intense smartphone or computer use may also be behind the increased in cases observed by eye doctors. People with dry eye may not produce enough tears or the quality of the tears may not be particularly lubricating. While gel drops and ointments may help, prescription medications such as Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) or steroids also provide relief. Finally, people with extreme dry-eye syndrome may elect to have punctal plugs placed to help tears stay longer in the eyes.
Expert: Swimming Pools One Reason Kids’ Eye Injuries Increase In Summer: HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/22, Preidt) reports, “Swimming pools are a major reason why children’s eye injuries increase in the summer, according to an expert.” Gerald McGwin Jr., a professor in the epidemiology and ophthalmology departments at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a university news release that “overall, the leading cause of eye injury in children 15 and younger is sports, specifically swimming.” He added that “ensuring that a pool’s pH level is within normal range is one way to reduce these injuries.”
Tips for Allergy Season: Although common, giving up contact lens wear during allergy season is often unnecessary. Judicious use of specific ocular medications, as well as switching to other types of contact lenses for limited periods during times of heightened allergic symptoms, or perhaps permanently, may allow continued wearing of contacts. Here are a few tips I would recommend to assist your allergy patients who would like to stay in their contacts:
1. Avoid specific antigens. Avoid pollen by wearing wrap-around and closely-fitted sunglasses. Drive with windows closed and the air-conditioner on, and use only high-grade filters for the home A/C system. Reduce pet dander, which is highly allergenic, by keeping pets out of the bedroom and off the bed. Avoid early-in-the-day outdoor activities when pollen levels are highest, and leave the lawn mowing to someone else.
2. Dilute and flush antigens. Use frequent lens lubricants or in-eye lubricant-cleaners. Wash hands and face and shampoo hair more frequently. Reduce exposure to dust mites by more frequent laundering of bed linens at high temperatures.
3. Daily. Wear only daily disposable lenses during allergy season if at all possible, and steer clear of extended wear too during periods of high antigen exposures.
4. Modify lens care. For those who cannot use dailies, emphasize rubbing of lenses prior to disinfection to decrease antigen load and consider switching to hydrogen peroxide systems.
5. Avoid eye-rubbing to reduce the mechanical release of inflammatory mediators. Use cold compresses for itching.
6. Allergy Mantra: "OTCs are not for me!" Most allergy sufferers are likely to overuse OTCs and with vasoconstrictors may wind up with "rebound hyperemia." Prescription medications used judiciously, on a "bid" basis, before and after lens wear, are typically much better.
7. And what about Meds? The early spring is the right time to start allergy medications, even before severe symptoms strike. For most lens wearers, a combination antihistaminic-mast cell mediator topical eye drop is useful throughout prime allergy months. For severe allergies topical steroids can be added, if necessary, but use only the "soft-steroid" loteprednol products and limit their use to short periods, relying on the combo agents for regular allergy control. OTC oral agents may concurrently be prescribed to further control allergic symptoms, but may lead to greater dryness complaints.
Five Foods May Help With Retaining Good Vision.
The Huffington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/16) reported the National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease study provides the recommended doses of vitamins and proteins that have been shown to improve vision. The Post lists recommended food products that contain those nutrients, including orange juice, which has vitamin C that “promotes healthy ocular blood vessels, and can reduce the risk of nuclear cataracts,” according to the American Optometric Association; oysters, the “best source for zinc,” which enables vitamin A to produce melanin to protect the eyes and improve night vision; cooked kale, which is high in two antioxidants – lutein and zeaxanthin – that are also found in the eyes; peanuts as they contain vitamin E, which can delay “cataracts and age-related macular degeneration,” and the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, which have been found in low levels among individuals with diabetic retinopathy and other eye diseases; and quinoa because research has shown that a low-glycemic diet could reduce the risk for AMD “by 8 percent.”
Bionic Eye Maker Has Vision Of The Future.
The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/28, White) reports on the development and FDA approval of a bionic eye system. The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, made by Second Sight Medical Products, is approved for US patients "with advanced retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that can cause blindness." It's not perfect vision, the company admits, but "we are taking blind people back up to low vision, and that is pretty significant." It took "some 20 years and $200 million" to get the product this far.
Contact Lens Users At Risk For Acanthamoeba Infection.
The Daily Mail (UK) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/7, Macrae) reports, "Contact lens wearers are at the mercy of a bug that is found in tap water and gnaws through the eyeballs causing blindness, scientists have warned." The single-celled parasite Acanthamoeba, which is found in tap water, "feeds on bacteria found on dirty contact lenses and cases." When contaminated lenses are inserted into the eye, the parasite "starts to eat its way through the cornea, the outer layer of the eyeball and breeding as it goes," potentially damaging vision permanently. Keeping contact lenses clean, not using water to rinse them off, replacing contact lens cases regularly, and not wearing lenses in the shower or in the swimming pool will help reduce the risk of Acanthamoeba infections.
Statin Use May Increase Risk For Age-Related Cataracts.
HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/25, Mozes) reported, "The millions of adults who currently use prescription statins to control their cholesterol levels may be inadvertently increasing their risk for developing age-related cataracts," according to a study published in the August issue of the journal Optometry and Vision Science. After examining data "on nearly 6,400 cataract patients who were being treated...between 2007 and 2008," researchers found that "the bump in cataract risk linked to statin use appears comparable to the elevated risk already known to exist among people with type 2 diabetes."
Changes In The Eye May Portend Disease Elsewhere In Body.
On the front of its Personal Journal section, the Wall Street Journal (8/14, D1, Wang, Subscription Publication) reports that changes in the eye may signal disease elsewhere in the body, such as diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and even certain kinds of colon cancer. Eye examinations may also help assess stroke risk. To help physicians better understand what the eyes may reveal about the rest of the body, some companies are developing better retinal screening technology. The piece quotes Emily Chew, MD, of the National Eye Institute, who stated, "There's no question the eye has always been the window to the body." Chow added, "Anybody with any visual changes...should be seeing someone right away."
Researchers Release Data On Microbes Living On The Human Body.
Research released by scientists with the Human Microbiome Project Consortium received extensive print and online coverage, but was not mentioned during any of last night's network news broadcasts. Many sources portray the findings as one day being instrumental in helping researchers understand how to prevent certain illnesses.
In a front-page story, the Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/14, A1, Mestel) reports, "After five years of toil, a consortium of several hundred US researchers has released a detailed census of the myriad bacteria, yeasts, viruses and amoebas that live, eat, excrete, reproduce and die in or on us." The findings "released Wednesday describe microbes of the skin, saliva, nostrils, guts and other areas of 242 adults in tiptop health."
The USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/14) "On Deadline" blog reports, "The findings appear in 16 scientific articles to be published Thursday in Nature and in several journals in the Public Library of Science (PLoS)."
The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/14, Botelho) reports, "In their analysis, the researchers found that what matters in the different body habitats is the work needing to be done rather than what microbes are doing it." For instance, "in the intestine...one important job for a person's microbes is breaking down certain carbohydrates in food. It turns out that the specific microbes doing that work can differ somewhat among people and can even change in a single person over time."
The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/14, A24, Kolata, Subscription Publication) reports that the researchers "discovered more strains than they had ever imagined -- as many as a thousand bacterial strains on each person." The researchers also found that "each person's collection of microbes, the microbiome, was different from the next person's." Surprisingly, "they also found genetic signatures of disease-causing bacteria lurking in everyone's microbiome."
The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/14, Subscription Publication) reports, "But when a person is healthy -- like the 242 US adults who volunteered to be tested for the project -- those bugs simply quietly coexist with benign or helpful microbes, perhaps kept in check by them." The human body is "thought to be home to about 10 bacterial cells for every human cell, but they're so small that together microbes make up about one...to three percent of someone's body mass, explained Dr. Eric Green, director of NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute. That means a 200-pound person could harbor as much as six pounds of bacteria."
Experts: Nutrients May Help Provide Eye Health In Aging Individuals.
Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/18, Hitt) reports, "Several nutrients, including zinc, vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, help promote eye health in aging individuals, according to a statement from a roundtable of experts convened by the Ocular Nutrition Society (ONS)." The expert panel, "led by Jeffrey Anshel, OD, president of the ONS, included eight experts in ophthalmology, optometry, diet and nutrition, and primary care." Members of the "roundtable concluded that the displacement of 'nutrient-dense foods by processed foods in the Western, or American, diet is disconcerting, as is the lack of awareness of key nutrients and other modifiable risk factors that impact eye health,' and they encouraged eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients."
US Melanoma Rates Increasing In Young Adults; Tanning Beds Blamed.
ABC World News (4/2, story 8, 2:25, Sawyer) reported, "There is a stunning new number tonight potentially affecting everybody in this country. The deadly skin cancer melanoma is on the march diagnosed at eight times the rate it was 40 years ago."
The CBS Evening News (4/2, story 7, 0:20, Pelley) reported that melanoma is "on the rise in younger Americans. In a new study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic say they are seeing four times the number of cases in men under the age of 40 than they did in 1970 and for women eight times as many. Researchers blame tanning beds for the increase." NBC Nightly News (4/2, story 9, 2:45, Williams) also covered the study.
Proper Eyeglasses May Ease Computer Vision Syndrome.
The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (3/15, B9, Meece, Subscription Publication) reports, "Eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain are common complaints of someone experiencing computer vision syndrome, according to the American Optometric Association." For people who make changes to their "work environment for comfort and still have problems, the solution may be another pair of glasses, the association says." Many people who use computers "need special-purpose glasses with lenses adjusted to bring the computer screen sharply into focus." The article goes on to detail the various eyeglass prescriptions needed for computer use, depending on the person's age and focusing requirements.
The Michigan Optometric Association encourages people to follow the recommendations below, which will go a long way in maximizing productivity while minimizing discomfort while surfing the Web, editing a document or sending an e-mail.
· Give It A Rest: Remember the 20-20-20 rule. At least every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. The Eye-Q® survey found that the majority of Americans don't follow this rule; more than half (59 percent) take breaks every hour, or less frequently.
· Size Up: Smaller screens on hand-held devices usually favor tiny type that challenges vision. Instead of bringing the screen closer to the eyes, increase the font size so the device can be used at a distance that is more comfortable.
· Sharpen Up: Better resolution offers greater clarity and usually more comfort. Adjust the brightness of the screen to a comfortable intensity, neither too bright nor too dim.
· Reduce Glare: Hand-held devices present challenges in various lighting conditions. When possible, try to make sure lighting is not directly behind the head or in front. Try to reduce glare, which may ease reading and can make a bigger difference than increasing the font.
· Look Down: Since it's easier on the eyes to focus on reading material that is below eye level, position a computer monitor or hand-held device slightly below eye level.
Changes In Retina May Portend Disorders Elsewhere In The Body.
The Washington Post Share to Facebook Share to Twitter (3/6, Thigpen) reports that according to studies, a specific freckle found in the back of the eye called CHRPE (congenital hypertrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium) "has a 'statistically significant' correlation with hereditary colon polyps known as familial adenomatous polyposis, or FAP." The article quotes retina expert Neal Adams, who said, "When we look in back of the eye at the retina, we can find signs that may help us identify many disorders -- common ones like high blood pressure and diabetes, rare genetic disorders and even life-threatening cancers."
The Michigan Optometric Association recommends parents contact their optometrist if their child frequently:
- Loses place while reading
- Avoids close work
- Tends to rub eyes
- Has headaches
- Turns or tilts head
- Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
- Uses finger to maintain place when reading
- Omits or confuses small words when reading
- Consistently performs below potential
- Struggles to complete homework
- Squints while reading or watching television
- Has behavioral problems
- Holds reading material closer than normal
Reducing Contact Lens Tearing: Would you like to decrease the unnecessary expense and frustration of cracked or torn contact lenses? Use the "slosh and toss" technique when opening a new flat pack: Shake the flat pack before opening, slosh the flat pack back and forth to insure that the lens is moving, and toss the lens and solution out into the palm of your hand. This technique prevents both lens adherence tears and finger nail slices. Lubricating your lenses with rewetting drops at least one minute before removal will make the lens more pliable and will decrease adhesion.
Sports-Related Eye Injuries: According to a recent study by the U.S. Eye Injury Registry, more than 600,000 sports-related eye injuries occur every year and 40,000 require emergency room care, says a release from Prevent Blindness America (PBA). Of these, 90% can be prevented by wearing proper eye protection. Among other findings:
• Fishing injuries are the number one cause of eye injuries, accounting for 9% of all injuries and 38% of those injuries involve a hook to the eye.
• Approximately 1 in 50 little-league baseball players will sustain an eye injury that requires attention.
• The leading cause of eye injury in adult women involves racket sports.
• The average football team will sustain four eye injuries every season.
• More than half of all eye injuries from soccer occur in children age six to 14.
Teachers Believe Clear Vision as Important as Nutrition to Academic Success: A new survey reveals 93% of teachers believe poor vision impacts a student’s academic performance and 74% of those surveyed have personally observed children falling behind in school due to vision problems. The survey involved 509 kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and was conducted by Russel Research on behalf of Give the Gift of Sight foundation. The teachers surveyed estimated that two in five of their students suffer from vision problems, more than one-third of which they say have not been treated. Other findings include:
• 82% of teachers believe poor vision hinders academic motivation
• 70% believe poor vision negatively affects self-confidence
• 64% believe it affects a child’s ability to enjoy sports and games
• 40% believe poor vision affects a student’s ability to develop social skills.
The teachers surveyed also believe eye care should be provided for underprivileged children, with 88% saying that exams should be offered free of charge for students who can’t afford them, 87% believe these children should receive free vision screenings and 80% think they should receive free prescription eyeglasses. For more information, visit http://www.givethegiftofsight.org.
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