With Summer upon us a common question in the office is “what is the best way to travel with contact lenses.”
Daily disposable contact lenses are easily the most convenient travel option. With daily disposables all you have to worry about are lenses, no extra contact lens solutions are needed. Now, there are many new, convenient options available for daily disposable contact lens wearers. Numerous contact lens companies now make daily disposable contacts in both toric, spherical and bifocal versions. With the expanded parameters now available, over 80% of contact lens wearers can now find a daily disposable contact lens that will fulfill their needs.
The biggest hassle for traveling contact lens wearers is how to transport the contact lens cleaners and solutions. After all, the TSA limits each bottle of liquid, aerosol, or gel to 3.4oz (100 ml) or less and all of the bottles in your carry-on luggage must fit into a clear, 1 qt. zip lock bag. There are exceptions; however, for prescription, OTC medications, and people with special needs. You are not limited in the amount or volume however if an item is over 3.4 oz or it is not in a 1 qt. zip lock bag then you must declare it.
As parents we often think that our son or daughter has good vision and therefore does not need an eye exam. Common misperceptions of why eye exams in children are not important include, my son doesn’t complain of blurry vision, my child’s grades are good, or the parents have good vision therefore the kids probably do too.
School screening don’t qualify as an eye exam. While an essential part of protecting the visual and physical health of our children, school screenings were never intended to replace a professional eye exam. School screenings prevent children from “falling between the cracks” and are best used to supplement regular eye care. Read more about safeguarding our children’s vision.
That is the opinion of The National Commission on Vision & Health, in a new report entitled “Building a Comprehensive Vision Care System“, found that 25% of school age children have undiagnosed vision problems and that correcting this must become a national health care priority.
Some of the vision problems cited in the literature review included undiagnosed nearsightedness, farsightedness, amblyopia, retinoblastoma, congenital defects, and strabismus. The report went on to state that a vision screening was not a substitute for an eye exam and that eye exams from an optometrist or ophthalmologist were a very effective way to detect vision problems in children.
In 2004 The Vision council of America estimated that the rate of undetected vision problems in children to be 25%. The 2010 National Health Objective 28-4 to reduce blindness and visual impairment in children and adolescents has experienced little progress in it’s goal to reduce childhood blindness.
In 2002 the American Public Health Association (APHA) issued a statement supporting regular eye exams in children to improve the detection rate of vision problems instead of regular screenings. APHA recommended eye exams at age 6 mos, 2 years and 4 years. A failure of the current screening program is the lack of follow through for children when problems are detected. “Most forms of vision loss in children are preventable. Improving the access to eye care for children should be as important as are our current childhood vaccination programs” said Dr. Richard Driscoll.
Sixteen states do not require any vision assessment prior to a child entering school. The remaining states require some for of vision assessment prior to a child entering school, however only five states require a follow up examination to the screening. Screenings are clearly not effective if the results are not acted upon. Only three states, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri have legislated mandatory eye exams prior to a child entering school.
Cost was found to be an issue with getting visual assessments for children. Uninsured children did not receive a well child visit 54% of the time. Often a well child visit includes a visual assessment.
The recommendations of the study to improve access to eye care for children included funding national campaigns to educate the public regarding the need to seek care for their child, setting up national standards to be adopted by all states, assure adequate vision coverage by all public and private insurers.
For more articles written on The Eye Doc Blog on vision problems in children see
Scientists at the University of Florida Restore Some Sight to Three Adult Patients with Congenital Vision Loss
One year ago the retina of two men and one woman in their 20s were injected with a harmless virus that contained vision correcting genes. All three patients lived with severe vision loss from a congenital problem call Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis Type 2. A gene responsible for a necessary protein used in the visual process is defective, gene therapy fixes the failed gene. One year after the gene therapy treatment these patients reporting being able to see light which was a significant improvement in their vision. One of the patients reported that she was able to see her parents clock, she had never been able to do this before. The study has two more years to run and it is likely that more patients will be added.
This is a very exciting medical development and shows that gene therapy holds great promise. There are so many genetic conditions, not only in the eye but the entire body, that can benefit from this type of treatment. Much research still needs to be done, however this lays the groundwork for promising future development. The exciting thing about this discovery is that it shows that it is possible to fix bad genes and improve people’s lives.
Assessing the visual needs of your child with an eye exam is the first step in protecting your child’s vision. It is equally important to select lenses that will not only make them see well but also protect their eyes.
Polycarbonate or Trivex lenses are the only lens types that have the potential to reduce—not increase—the risk of serious eye injury. Polycarbonate and Lexan are used in bullet-proof windshields, safety glasses, helicopter canopies and many other hi performance applications. Other lens types, including glass and regular plastic (CR-39) will break into pieces upon impact. Often the impact from an object does less damage to the victim than the broken eyeglass lenses.
Both polycarbonate and Trivex are thin, lightweight and highly impact resistant. Kids can do crazy things and accidents can happen, therefore polycarbonate and Trivex are not just recommended for sports but should be used to protect their eyes everyday.
Trivex is highly scratch resistant making it the best option for children. Polycarbonate is much softer and therefore less scratch resistant, however it is slightly less expensive. Both lens materials naturally block 100% of UV light without any additional coatings. The optical qualities of Trivex are much better than those of polycarbonate, therefore there is less distortion and reflection from an ophthalmic lens made of Trivex. Both lens materials are available in Transitions (get darker outside, lighter inside) and accept an antireflective coating, which prevents reflections, making the lenses look transparent.
Technorati Tags: eye, children, amblyopia
Is it too early to think about what we need to do to get our kids ready for school? One of the most important “school supplies” is your child’s annual eye exam. Over 80% of what a child learns is through their eyes, therefore it is important for our kids to see their very best.
Kids often don’t complain when they don’t see well and we can not rely on them to tell us when their vision is blurry. Blurry vision rarely happens quickly, it happens slowly over time and children and adults alike don’t realize what they have lost because it happens so slowly. On the Total Eye Care website we have more information on the components of a complete eye exam, school screenings and more information on children and vision. So carve out some time this busy summer and enhance your child’s learning with an eye exam.
I came across this video from the American Optometric Association about the importance of yearly eye exams. We also filmed our own video about the importance of yearly eye exams at the new Colleyville office . With back to school eye exams being an important part summer it is important for us to safeguard our children’s vision.
Posted in examinations, eye, Eye Care
Tagged American Optometric Association, back to school, children, eye exam, eye health, Eye-Q Survey, prevention, Vision, yearly eye exam
This is great stuff. A contact lens was applied to a patient’s eye to treat a corneal problem, reducing the patient’s blindness. Contact lenses will soon be used to administer allergy and glaucoma medications. Our state legislature, here in Texas, last month approved eye doctors to fit the medication delivery contact lenses. Optometrists and ophthalmologists will be able to begin fitting them when the FDA gives the new drug delivery contact lenses their final approval. Check out the stem cell video below. A medical school in Australia is pioneering this important technology.
A new study found that first person action games improved the vision of adult video game players. Two groups of patients were tested. The first group of patients played Call of Duty and experienced a significant increase in their ability to distinguish different shades of gray (contrast sensitivity function). The second group used The Sims, which was similar in it’s graphic detail however it is a non action game that does not require precise visual activities such as aiming.
Contrast sensitivity function is a measure of visual acuity (the chart on the wall that uses progressively smaller numbers is another, more common method, shown to the right) uses different shades of gray to evaluate a person’s vision rather than how small of a letter a person can read (the latter is called Snellen visual acuity. Contrast sensitivity is a much more precise way of evaluating a person’s visual acuity and is more often used in clinical research.
The exciting part of this study is that it has been previously thought that it was difficult to improve the vision in adults. This study paves the way for possible new treatments of amblyopia in children and the hope of retraining patients that may have lost vision due to some retinal conditions. The study showed that not all games are created equal in producing this affect and advised caution in recommending games to recommend to patients. The entire study was published online by the journal Nature Neuroscience.
The American Optometric Association and the National Association of School Nurses have come to agreement to promote comprehensive vision care for students to improve a students ability to learn in the classroom. This comes on the heels of a study published in October by Vision Service Plan that showed that most children have not had an eye exam. School screenings, while helpful and necessary, are unfortunately often confused by parents as an eye exam. It will be great to see what the two associations do to promote better eye care and learning in children. Read the entire press release here.