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Halloween Costume Safety Tips for Your Eyes

More than 179 million Americans are expected to enjoy Halloween festivities this year, scaring up over $9 billion on holiday-related purchases, according to the National Retail Federation. But dressing up in your favorite costume can be a nightmare for your eyes. Makeup, decorative contact lenses and props can cause temporary discomfort or even long-term damage. Take simple precautions by reading labels and doing a little research before purchasing costumes and accessories.

With makeup and face paint being common aspects of many costumes, it’s important to be careful when applying any product around your eyes. The Food and Drug Administration advises consumers to inspect packaging closely to make sure products are hypoallergenic and that any color additives are FDA-approved for use on or near the eyes (find list at fda.gov). If makeup or face paint gets into your eyes, flush out with cool water.

Decorative, nonprescription contact lenses are another popular choice during the Halloween season, but experts only recommend using contacts prescribed by an eye care professional. Contacts from party supply and costume stores may contain low quality plastic and toxic dyes. Contacts need to be fitted, cleaned and used properly to prevent serious infections that can lead to blindness. An eye care professional will make sure to provide you with the necessary instructions for use and care.

Accessories and props are often the last touch for many costumes, but you should steer clear of anything that is sharp and pointed—especially for children. All props should be made of soft or flexible materials, which helps to decrease the risk of accidents. Also, watch out for sharp edges on masks and hats.

Good visibility while in costume is a very important, but often overlooked, safety issue. Masks, hats and other accessories should fit properly so that they don’t block your vision. Families and children trick-or-treating at night should use flashers or reflective tape to increase visibility for passing motorists.

Persistent or serious eye injuries should be seen by a doctor immediately. With just a few precautions, you can enjoy this Halloween and minimize irritating or damaging your eyes.

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UV Safety: Protecting Your Vision from the Sun

By Steven Rhee, D.O.
Cornea Specialist at
Hawaiian Eye Center 

Hawaii is blessed with year-round beach weather, which is one of the many reasons most of us are happy to call this place home. However, the more time you spend outside in the sun, the more you’re exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light isn’t just damaging to the skin, but it’s also damaging to the eyes.

Exposure to the sun is hazardous anytime during daylight hours even when it’s cloudy. UV radiation is especially severe from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can burn the surface of the eyes directly or indirectly from reflections off sand, water and pavement.

UV damage to the eyes often goes unnoticed but accumulates over time. Exposure to UV light can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, skin cancer around the eyes, and pterygium—an unsightly, noncancerous growth on the eye’s surface.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss for those 50 years of age and older, with an estimated 11 million Americans affected by the disease. In addition, over 24 million Americans 40 and over suffer from cataracts.

The best way to prevent eye damage from the sun is by wearing sunglasses. No matter the style or cost, choose sunglasses labeled “100% protection” or “UV 400.” Wrap-around sunglasses that extend around the temples and a hat add further protection from indirect sunlight.

Eye care professionals recommend that everyone of every age wear sunglasses whenever spending anytime outside.

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Upcoming Events

July 31 – August 13 – UH of Manoa, Family medicine residency program: Ophthalmology rotation – Nash Witten

August 2 – Seminar for OD’s @ Pearl Country Club: Unusual Glaucoma and case studies – Dr. Christopher Tortora, MD

September 4 – Labor day we will be closed

October 4 – Seminar for OD’s @ Pearl Country Club: Cataract Surgery update and complications of modern Cat surgery –  Dr. Christopher Tortora, MD

October 21 – Breast Cancer walk with the employees at Keehi Lagoon Beach Park

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Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Leading Cause of Blindness in Seniors

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) affects more than 2 million Americans and is the leading cause of severe vision loss for those 50 years and older. It is a progressive and usually painless eye disease that occurs when the eye’s macula starts to deteriorate, diminishing central vision. The macula is the small central portion of the retina, or the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye.

 

AMD develops slowly over time with symptoms often going unnoticed until significant damage has already occurred. It causes central vision to blur while peripheral vision is unaffected. Central vision is necessary to see straight ahead and distinguish fine details.

 

There are two forms of AMD—dry and wet. Dry AMD is the most common and is a result of drusen, white or yellow fatty protein deposits, in the macula. Eyesight becomes dimmed or distorted as drusen grow and multiply. In advanced stages, the macula becomes thinner and can lead to blind spots or complete loss of central vision.

 

Wet AMD is far less common but advances much more rapidly. Abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the macula and leak blood and fluid into the retina. The abnormal blood vessels eventually scar and cause permanent loss of central vision. In some cases, dry AMD can turn into wet AMD. Symptoms of AMD include dark, blurry spots in the center of vision and a decrease in the brightness of colors.

 

Early detection of AMD is vital in preserving eyesight. For those over 50, a complete dilated eye examination is recommended every one to two years, or annually for anyone with diabetes. If early AMD is detected, more frequent eye exams may be needed to see if the disease is progressing.

 

Risk factors for AMD include: being 50 and older, smoking, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and a family history of the disease. Caucasians and women are also more likely to develop AMD. The best way to help prevent AMD or limit its effects is to exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet and not smoke.

 

Currently, there’s no treatment for early AMD and no cure for the dry form. Nutritional supplements based on extensive studies conducted by the National Eye Institute are available from a number of manufacturers and may be referred to as AREDS or AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Studies). The supplements consists of high doses of certain vitamins and minerals (vitmain C, vitamin E, zinc, copper, lutein and zeaxanthin) that help to slow the progression for those with intermediate or late AMD.

Wet AMD can be treated with a variety of procedures that help to close off broken blood vessels and slow the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels. Treatments can be helpful in stabilizing vision loss.

 

Even with treatment, AMD may still progress or reoccur. It’s important to speak with an eye care professional about treatment options and risks.

 

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Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration:

Leading Cause of Blindness in Seniors

 

(Wahiawa, Hawaii) February 8. 2017 – Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) affects more than 2 million Americans and is the leading cause of severe vision loss for those 50 years and older. It is a progressive and usually painless eye disease that occurs when the eye’s macula starts to deteriorate, diminishing central vision. The macula is the small central portion of the retina, or the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye.

 

“AMD develops slowly over time with symptoms often going unnoticed until significant damage has already occurred,” said Christopher Tortora, M.D., Medical Director of Hawaiian Eye Center. “It causes central vision to blur while peripheral vision is unaffected. Central vision is necessary to see straight ahead and distinguish fine details.”

 

There are two forms of AMD—dry and wet. Dry AMD is the most common and is a result of drusen, white or yellow fatty protein deposits, in the macula. Eyesight becomes dimmed or distorted as drusen grow and multiply. In advanced stages, the macula becomes thinner and can lead to blind spots or complete loss of central vision.

 

Wet AMD is far less common but advances much more rapidly. Abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the macula and leak blood and fluid into the retina. The abnormal blood vessels eventually scar and cause permanent loss of central vision. In some cases, dry AMD can turn into wet AMD. Symptoms of AMD include dark, blurry spots in the center of vision and a decrease in the brightness of colors.

 

Early detection is important to preserve eyesight. Those 50 and older should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam from an eye doctor every two to three years to check for AMD and other eye diseases. If early AMD is detected, more frequent eye exams may be needed to see if the disease is progressing.

 

Risk factors for AMD include: being 50 and older, smoking, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and a family history of the disease. Caucasians and women are also more likely to develop AMD. The best way to help prevent AMD or limit its effects is to exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet and not smoke.

 

Currently, there’s no treatment for early AMD and no cure for the dry form. Nutritional supplements based on extensive studies conducted by  the National Eye Institute are available from a number of manufacturers and may be referred to as AREDS or AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Studies). The supplements consists of high doses of certain vitamins and minerals (vitmain C, vitamin E, zinc, copper, lutein and zeaxanthin) that help to slow the progression for those with intermediate or late AMD.

 

Wet AMD can be treated with a variety of procedures that help to close off broken blood vessels and slow the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels. Treatments can be helpful in stabilizing vision loss.

 

“Even with treatment, AMD may still progress or reoccur,” Dr. Tortora said. “It’s important to speak with an eye care professional about treatment options and risks.”

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