Vail Daily column: Take steps to protect your eyes
Ryan Summerlin March 25, 2014
While it is unfortunate, I spend quite a bit of time in front of a computer monitor. Who would have thought there is a “best practices” for placement of a computer monitor in relation to your eyes? Do you too sit in front of a computer screen for a number of hours each day? If so, take a moment; is the top of your screen at or below eye level? Ideal location for the screen is at or below eye level with 20 inches of separation.
March is Eye Safety Awareness month. As such, I thought I would reach out to one of our valley’s eye doctors and ask for some suggestion as to what we can do this summer to mitigate some of the eye issues most commonly seen during the summer.
Dr. Matthew Ehrlich has provided the following eye care information for all of our benefit:
One of the most important things you can do to protect your eyesight is wear protective eyewear. Each year in the United States there are approximately 300,000 emergency room visits for a workplace eye injury, and 20,000 of these require time off from work.
Here are some facts that may surprise you:
• Almost half of all eye injuries, 45 percent, occurred in the home during such activities as home repairs, yard work, cleaning and cooking. In this category, one-third occurred in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or family room.
• A similar number of injuries occur during sports or recreational activities.
• Sadly, more than three-quarters of these injuries occurred without people wearing protective eyewear. Only 5 percent of the injuries occurred where people were wearing safety or sports glasses.
In our office, we carry RecSpecs, which protect the eyes for sports, especially basketball, with a sturdy elastic band to hold the frame tightly to your head.
Protective eyewear, or traditional glasses with an impact resistant lens, are very important for patients with poor eyesight in one of their eyes. We must protect their remaining good eye.
Common injuries that we see in our office are trauma with broken bones of the orbit or eye socket, foreign bodies that embed in the outer cornea and need to be removed or treated with an antibiotic, chemical burns that require treatment with eye drop medicines, scratched corneas or corneal abrasions and lacerations of the outer tissues of the eye that can require suturing in the operating room. Some of these eyes are ruptured.
IMPORTANT FOR ALL AGES
Also be aware that ultraviolet light can burn the eye. You may be familiar with “welder’s flash,” which is a burn from ultraviolet light. But many people don’t realize that chronic sun exposure, particularly at our high altitude, can accelerate cataract formation and aging of the retina or macular degeneration. So, eye protection is important to our seniors as well as our younger population.
I recommend that you invest in a high-quality pair of sunglasses with good side protection or wrap coverage and built-in ultraviolet filters. These lenses can be bought commercially like this or prepared in our lab to custom specifications of degree of filtrations or darkness, color, and polarization.
Ehrlich is our county’s only full-time, board-certified ophthalmologist. He has offices in Eagle and Glenwood Springs and can be reached at 970-926-7773 or 970-928-0105.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle, Garfield, and Routt counties. Contact by calling 970-328-5526 visiting www.visitingangels.com/comtns.