At long last, summer is finally here. We can finally put away our winter wear and enjoy the long, glorious days of basking in the sunshine. Picnics, barbeques, camping, going to the beach, or just staying home and lounging by the pool. But don’t forget that the warm sunshine we miss so much during out long, cold winter, can do much more than provide us with light, warmth and Vitamin D. The Ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun is capable of doing as much harm as good. Make sure you use sunscreen to protect yourself from getting a nasty sunburn and potential skin cancer. But remember that sunburn isn’t the only thing you have to fear from UV rays. Your eyes also need to be protected.
In spite of its name, Photophobia is not actually a fear of light. If you have it, your eyes are extremely sensitive to light. In fact, any form of light can cause extreme discomfort and pain. In most cases, only bright light will cause symptoms, but in some cases, any light can bring on a reaction.
What Causes Photophobia?
I’m sure that everyone has heard about the dangers of alcohol abuse at one time or another; increased risk of heart disease, liver disease, stroke, cancer, depression, the list goes on and on. Add to that the dangers of addiction, the risks of drinking and driving, or the effect excessive drinking can have on family relationships, friendships and job performance. They all paint a pretty bleak picture, yet some people just don’t get the message. So let’s add another effect that most people may not think of. Are you aware that excessive alcohol use can damage your eyes?
Visual Impairment is defined as having a vision problem that cannot be corrected to bring it to a level that we would consider “normal.” The most extreme case of visual impairment, of course, is blindness. When one’s eyes aren’t that severe, but are still impaired, it is referred to as Low Vision. Approximately 1.3 billion people world-wide are living with some form of visual impairment. In Canada, approximately six percent of adults are visually impaired. But what do we know about visual impairment?
What does it mean to be Legally Blind?
According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. Called the “Silent Thief of Sight”, glaucoma is actually the name given to a group of diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve, eventually leading to vision loss and even blindness. Since January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, this would be an ideal time to study the causes and prevention of this condition.
What Do We Know About Glaucoma?
As of yet, we still don’t know the precise cause of glaucoma. For the most part, glaucoma is associated with high fluid pressure in the eye, but there are some exceptions to that rule.
Since World Diabetes Day was on November 14th, now may be a good time to discuss a condition that often goes hand in hand with Diabetes, and that is Hypertension, or High Blood Pressure. I’m sure that everyone has heard the warnings about high blood pressure increasing the risk of stroke, heart failure and kidney disease. But are you aware that high blood pressure can damage your eyes as well?
Hypertension and Vision Loss
November 14th is World Diabetes Day, a day dedicated to global recognition of diabetes and how it affects everyone. It is a safe bet that virtually everyone in Canada has heard of, and likely knows someone who is living with diabetes. Currently, there are nearly 11 million people living with either diabetes or prediabetes, a disease that causes the body to either fail to produce insulin, or makes it incapable of using it. Since insulin helps the body control blood sugar, people with diabetes suffer from high blood sugar levels. You may be aware that high blood sugar can damage your body’s organs, but were you aware that your eyes were included in the potential damage?
Halloween may be the most stress free, fun holiday we have. In spite of its origins, steeped in pagan harvest festivals and honouring the dead, Halloween has turned into a fun night involving children dressing up in costumes, varying from scary to funny, and going door to door begging for candy. Adults even get in on the fun by going out to parties and dances that often involve a contest for the best, scariest and most original costume. But it isn’t always just fun and games. Halloween comes with its own dangers. Some people have been known to put unhealthy substances in the candy they hand out, so parents have to be sure to go through the candy their kids bring home, throwing out anything that looks suspicious. On October 31st it gets dark early so visibility is poor, and there may be rain or snow to deal with, so walking outside may be challenging. But what about the costumes themselves? Have you safety proofed them? Are you aware that some costumes, masks and accessories could be dangerous to your child’s vision, or even your own if you dress up for Halloween?
Not much is known about what causes Optic Neuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve. It often flares up suddenly, usually in connection with an infection, virus or nerve disease. There is a strong connection between optic neuritis and Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and often one of the early symptoms of MS is an optic neuritis flare up,
What are the Symptoms of Optic Neuritis?
World Sight Day is a global event, originally created in 2000 by the SightFirst Campaign of the Lions Club Foundation to raise awareness of vision impairment and blindness worldwide. Since then it has been picked up and coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO). It is held on the second Thursday of October every year. This year’ World Sight Day falls on Thursday, October 11th and the theme is Eye Care Everywhere.
What are the Statistics of Vision Impairment and Blindness Worldwide?