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Dry Eye - A Closer Look

What is dry eye?

 

Normally, the eye constantly bathes itself in tears. By producing tears at a slow and steady rate, the eye stays moist and comfortable. Sometimes people do not produce enough tears or the appropriate quality of tears to keep their eyes healthy and comfortable. This condition is known as dry eye.


The eye uses two different methods to produce tears. It can make tears at a slow, steady rate to maintain normal eye lubrication. It can also produce large quantities of tears in response to eye irritation or emotion. When a foreign body or dryness irritates the eye, or when a person cries, excessive tearing occurs.

What are the symptoms of dry eye?

The usual symptoms include:

  • stinging or burning eyes;
  • scratchiness;
  • stringy mucus in or around the eyes;
  • excessive eye irritation from smoke or wind;
  • excess tearing;
  • discomfort when wearing contact lenses.

Excess tearing from “dry eye” may sound illogical, but it can be understood as the eye’s response to discomfort. If the tears responsible for maintaining lubrication do not keep the eye wet enough, the eye becomes irritated. Eye irritation prompts the gland that makes tears (called the lacrimal gland) to release a large volume of tears, overwhelming the tear drainage system. These excess tears then overflow from your eye.

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Fireworks Safety

American Academy of Ophthalmology Offers Tips for Fireworks Safety

 

SAN FRANCISCO – Each Fourth of July, thousands of people are injured from using consumer fireworks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 9,000 fireworks-related injuries happen each year. Of these, nearly half are head-related injuries with nearly 30 percent of these injuries to the eyes. One-fourth of fireworks eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

July is Fireworks Eye Safety Awareness Month, and through its EyeSmart™ campaign the American Academy of Ophthalmology wants to remind consumers to leave fireworks to professionals. “Too many Fourth of July celebrations are ruined because a child has to be rushed to the emergency room after a fireworks accident,” said Marguerite McDonald, MD, a clinical correspondent for the Academy. “Potentially blinding injuries can be avoided if families attend a professional public fireworks display instead of putting on a home fireworks display.”

Children are the most common victims of firework accidents, with those fifteen years old or younger accounting for half of all fireworks eye injuries in the United States. For children under the age of five, seemingly innocent sparklers account for one-third of all fireworks injuries. Sparklers can burn at nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause a third-degree burn.

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Eye Protection is Essential for All Athletes

American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends sport-specific eyewear to prevent devastating injuries

 

For Stephen Sacks, what started out as a routine basketball game his senior year of high school turned into a medical emergency. Stephen was a young basketball star who played years of hoops without any injuries. But when he was accidentally elbowed in the eye by a teammate, Stephen ended up with a large laceration on his left eyelid and a close encounter with permanent eye damage

“After the knock to my eye, all I could see was a black haze,” Stephen recalls. “I was rushed to the emergency room in the middle of the game, where I was told that I might have permanent damage to my left eye.” Fortunately Stephan regained his vision three weeks later, but had to miss his last senior game because of the eye injury. He went on to play college basketball and has vowed to always wear protective eyewear while playing.

April is Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month, and through its EyeSmart™ campaign the American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds the public that 40,000 people suffer from eye injuries related to sports every year. The Academy advocates the need for athletes to wear appropriate, sport-specific protective eyewear properly fitted by an eye care professional. Lenses made from polycarbonate materials provide the highest level of impact protection; they can withstand a ball or other projectile traveling at 90 miles per hour.

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