Eyeball licking can be dangerous…you’re kidding!

Eyeball-licking fetishism, also known as “oculolinctus” or “worming”, is gaining popularity as a way of expressing affection or inciting sexual arousal in Japan. With the increase of this activity, doctors are warning that there is a linkage to serious risk of virus conjunctivitis, other eye infections, and even blindness.

The oculolinctus craze in the country among young lovers has resulted in a significant increase in eye-infection cases. When the tongue makes contact with the eye, the eye is exposed to all kinds of infections and eye damage.

The trend of eyeball-licking was first documented when a Japanese school noticed that children were coming into class wearing eye patches. Apparently, one third of all the twelve-year-old children at the school had engaged in oculolinctus. This questionable trend was inspired by a Japanese emo band called “Born” in one of their music videos.

When interviewed by the Huffington Post on this phenomenon, ophthalmologist David Granet said “Nothing good can come of this. There are ridges on the tongue that can cause a corneal abrasion. And if a person hasn’t washed out their mouth, they might put acid from citrus products or spices into the eye.”

There is a very real risk of transmitting viruses. If the one who does the licking has herpes and/or a cold sore, there is a risk of human transmission via oculolinctus. If the licker suffers from halitosis (bad breath), they are more likely to have massive amounts of harmful bacteria in their mouth and on their tongue. Allowing such an individual to lick your eyeball (which has an absorbing membrane) puts you at risk of developing an infection.

Dr. Phillip Rizzuto, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology said there is even a risk of eventual blindness. “The bacteria in the mouth are nothing like the bacteria in the eyeball, which is why we no longer recommend people lick contact lenses to moisten them.”

Animals use their tongues for personal hygiene (watch any pet cleaning itself). And in some cases, humans do the same (licking your thumb to remove a spot from your body). However, the tongue and mouth are designed to deal with a wide variety of pathogens that our eyeballs are not designed to deal with.  There are many practices in the animal world that do not translate well to the human world. I think I can safely say that we all prefer our traditional handshake to the traditional method of introduction in the dog world.

If you want to show someone affection, hold their hand, give them a kiss or a hug. But PLEASE don’t lick their eyeball!

To read the original article click here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262012.php

This Just In

New Layer In Human Eye Discovered

I just read an article dated June 16, 2013 about a new layer of the Human eye being discovered.  This is great news for those people who need to have corneal graft or transplant.

The new layer, located in the front layer of the eye, is being called the “Dua Layer”, so named after the researcher (Professor Harminder Dua) who led the study in which the discovery was made. Dua explained the significance of the discovery in this way:

Having identified this new and distinct layer deep in the tissue of the cornea, we can now exploit its presence to make operations much safer and simpler for patients.”

He went on to add:

“From a clinical perspective, there are many diseases that affect the back of the cornea, which clinicians across the world are already beginning to relate to the presence, absence, or tear in this layer.”

With over 65,000 penetrating corneal graft procedures being carried out worldwide each year, surgeons will benefit considerably by understanding more about the new Dua’s layer, which will improve outcomes for patients undergoing corneal grafts and transplants.

This discovery will alter the way these surgeries are preformed and therefore chances of tearing during surgery will be significantly reduced.

On a side note, this discovery means that ophthalmology and anatomy textbooks will literally have to be re-written. Not a bad price to pay for the advancements this discovery will yield.

Click here to read the original article: New Layer in the Human Eye Discovered

Here Comes the Sun

Summer is upon us! We protect our skin with sunscreen, but do we need to protect our eyes too? Most people are aware of the dangerous effects ultraviolet (UV) rays have on our skin, but most don’t realize the danger to our eyes. UV radiation can burn the front surface of the eye, similar to a sunburn on the skin. It can also damage the eye’s surface tissues, the cornea and lens.

UV radiation is the invisible rays from the sun. There are three types of UV radiation: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, and therefore pose no threat to us. However, exposure to UVA and UVB rays can have adverse effects on your eyes and vision. Short- and long-term exposure to these dangerous rays can cause significant damage. The sun is not the only source of UV radiation; artificial sources like welding machines, tanning beds and lasers also emit UV radiation.

Unprotected exposure to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a short period of time, can result in photokeratitis. Photokeratitis is an inflammation of the cornea caused by a brief exposure to UV radiation, usually when combined with cold wind and snow. This “sunburn of the eye”, it may be painful and exhibit symptoms including red eyes, a foreign body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. The good news is this is usually temporary condition and rarely causes permanent damage to the eyes.

Scientific studies and research growing out of the U.S. space program have shown that exposure to small amounts of UV radiation over a prolonged period of time (years) may increase the chance of developing a cataract and may cause damage to the retina. This damage is usually not reversible. Cumulative damage of repeated exposure may contribute to chronic eye disease, and increase the risk of developing skin cancer around the eyelids. Long-term exposure to UV light is also a risk factor in the development of pterygium (a growth that invades the corner of the eyes) and pinguecula (a yellowish, slightly raised lesion that forms on the surface tissue of the white part of your eye.)

Although we know that exposure (both short and long-term) may damage the eyes,Ii is not yet known how much exposure will cause how much damage. A good rule of thumb is to wear quality sunglasses that offer good protection and a wide-brimmed hat when doing anything in the sun.

When choosing sunglasses, use these guidelines:

  • block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation
  • screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light
  • be perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection

When it comes to the color of the sunglass lens its really personal preference… Gray and Green are less color distortion, but brown is fine too, some people prefer it for glare. I’ve worn all kinds, brown gray, green, polarized or non-polarized and as long as the frame is a comfortable fit and the lenses have all the qualifications for protection that is fine.

Wrap-around frames can provide additional protection from harmful UV radiation by keeping UV rays from reaching the eyes. Don’t forget to the UV eye protection for children and teenagers. They typically spend more time in the sun than adults. Finally, even if you are wearing contact lenses that have UV protection, you still need to wear sunglasses. UV rays can affect the eye tissue that is not covered by the contacts.

So when you grab the sunscreen, grab a good pair of sunglasses too!

What to Do Guide for the Four Most Common Eye Injuries

Everyone has experienced the stinging, burning, watering reaction to something getting in your eye. We aren’t sure what to do so we try all sorts of things to try to get the offending object out. I’ve put together a “What to do Guide for the Four Most Common Eye Injuries”.

Preventing an eye injury is the best thing you can do to maintain your eye health. Wearing eye protection is the most effective way to prevent eye cuts, objects in the eye, blows to the eye and other dangerous mishaps.

With summer quickly approaching we may find ourselves confronted with an eye injury that we didn’t see coming. In the event that you are unable to protect yourself from eye injuries, here are some tips to help you navigate an eye injury.

How to Safely Remove Foreign Objects From the Eye

Whether it’s a grain of sand, paint chip, insect or some other particle, here are suggestions on what to do, and equally important, what not to do when an object gets in your eye:

  • Do not rub your eye to get the object out, you may end up scratching your cornea by applying pressure and moving the foreign object around.
  • Do not try to remove an object that is penetrating or embedded in the eye. You must see your eye doctor immediately if you have an embedded object in your eye.
  • Use a dampened cotton swab to gently remove an object that is not embedded.
  • Watering eyes are your body’s way of trying to flush the object out of your eye.
  • Try rinsing your eye with eye wash or water to flush out the particle.
  • If you are not certain that you got the particle out, see your eye doctor.

How to Safely Clean Chemicals out of the Eye

Household cleaners and other chemicals that can splash into the eye can cause serious damage, and requires immediate first aid to prevent eye injury:

  • Immediately use tepid warm water to flush/rinse out the eye right away.
  • Do not cover or put anything over the eye.
  • Stand underneath a showerhead or place your head beneath a running faucet of tepid water. You may need to use both hands to keep the injured eye open while flushing it.
  • Flush the eye for at least 15 minutes, keeping the eye wide open and allowing the water to run over and cleanse it.
  • After following these steps, go to an emergency room immediately.

How to Treat a Blow to the Eye

If you get with a ball or some other object with force; or run into something and sustain an injury in or near your eye, here is what you should do to treat it:

  • Gently hold a cold compress or ice pack against the eye, but do not put pressure against it.
  • Keep your head elevated to minimize swelling.
  • Go to your eye doctor’s office or the emergency room if you experience extended pain or if your vision is affected.

What To Do if you Sustain an Eye Cut or Puncture Wound

This type of eye injury requires the immediate attention of an eye doctor. If your eye or eyelid has been cut or punctured in any way, do not attempt to wash the eye or remove anything stuck in the eye. Here are some immediate first aid tips for cuts or punctures in and around the eye (These are not a replacement for seeing your eye doctor just measures to take before you see your eye doctor):

  • Avoid rubbing the eye or surrounding skin.
  • Protect the eye from inadvertent rubbing by covering the eye with a rigid, circular object (cutting out the bottom of a paper cup will work in a pinch).
  • Do not put pressure on the eye while holding up the protective covering, in case there is a foreign body inside the cut.
  • Affix the protective covering over the eye using a piece of tape.
  • Go to an eye doctor or emergency room right away.

My hope is that no one will have reason to use any of these tips, but if you do have an eye emergency, now you know just what to do. In the event you do sustain an injury it’s always a good idea to see an eye doctor to get your eye checked out. Remember to safeguard your eyes as much as possible with protective eyewear so that you don’t need to use eye first aid.

Astigmatism: What does that mean??

Of the five senses, vision is probably the most taken for granted and least thought about, that is until you go to an Optometrist and hear that you have astigmatism. “What does that mean?” you think, and hopefully ask. Astigmatism is one of the most common problems with vision.  Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens has stretched or simply formed into an irregular shape. Whereas a “normal” cornea is round, the cornea is oblong when there is astigmatism.

What this means is light will not hit the eye as it should: a refractive error occurs due to the oblong shape, resulting in difficulty in reading and viewing objects up close.  Additionally viewing object from a distance may also become difficult and blurry.

Astigmatism is part of a group of related eye conditions, known as refractive errors. This group also includes myopia, which is more commonly known as short-sightedness; and hypermetropia, or long-sightedness. So if you have astigmatism then you are more likely to have of these conditions as well.

The good news is this condition can be treated with a variety of options depending on if it presents as invasive or non- invasive. The treatment can be as simple as wearing glasses and/or contact lenses to correct your vision; or if you prefer a more in depth solution you can undergo LASIK surgery. LASIK surgery is a refractive surgery that addresses not your astigmatism but also myopia and hypermetropia. The surgeon re-shapes the cornea to improve visual acuity.

If surgery is not an option you wish to use, then contact lenses may appeal to you. Toric contact lenses are what is typically prescribed for anyone who has astigmatism. What makes this contact lens different from the traditional contact lens is the thicker zone at the bottom. This added thickness keeps the lenses from rotating and provides a consistent positioning while on the eye.

So astigmatisms are nothing to be concerned over. As we grow older our eyes, along with our bodies ages and deteriorates. If you are already wearing glasses or contact lenses then this condition should be identified during a regular check up. However, if you find you are beginning to experience headaches and notice a change in the quality of your eyesight then it is  recommended you see your optometrist.  By the way, this condition is hereditary, so if anyone in your family has astigmatism you should be sure to inform your optometrist.

Everyone Loves their OD, Even Justin Timberlake!

Everyone Loves their OD, Even Justin Timberlake!

I’m a fan of JT and it looks like his is a fan of his Eye Doctor! When I saw this I couldn’t resist writing a blog about 20/20 vision! Just what exactly does 20/20 vision mean?

Visual acuity is usually measured with a Snellen chart.

The expression “20/20″ is so common in the United States that there’s even a TV show named after it. But what does it really mean? Here’s where the 20/20 designation comes from.

By looking at lots of people, Optometrists have established what a “normal” or average human being should be able to see when standing 20 feet away from an eye chart. If you have 20/20 vision, it means that when you stand 20 feet away from the chart you can see what the “normal” human being can see. (In metric, the standard is 6 meters and it’s called 6/6 vision). In other words, your vision is “normal” — most people can see what you see at 20 feet.

If you have 20/40 vision, it means that when you stand 20 feet away from the chart you can see what an average human can see when standing 40 feet from the chart. To further clarify: if there is a person with “normal” vision standing 40 feet away from the chart and you are standing only 20 feet away from it, you both can see the same detail. 20/100 means that when you stand 20 feet from the chart you can see what a person with “normal” vision standing 100 feet away can see. 20/200 is the cutoff for legal blindness in the United States.

You can also have vision that is better than the norm, which is stated in the opposite ratio. A person with 20/10 vision can see at 20 feet what a person with “normal” vision can see at 10 feet.

Levels of Vision

20/20 – Normal vision. Fighter pilot minimum. Required to read the stock quotes in the newspaper, or numbers in the telephone book.
20/40 – Able to pass Driver’s License Test in all 50 States. Most printed material is at this level.
20/80 – Able to read alarm clock at 10 feet. News Headlines are this size.
20/200 – Legal blindness. Able to see STOP sign letters.

So all this leads me to ask…Is JT saying is new CD is a “Normal” or “Average” Experience???

Next Posting: What the heck is that thing in front of JT’s face and what does it do??

Could Aspirin Increase the Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Say it ain’t so! Could it be that our miracle cure-all can contribute to age-related vision loss when taking regularly?

A new study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that there could be a link between regular aspirin use and an increased risk of developing the more severe “wet” form of age-related macular degeneration; even when smoking and heart disease risks are taken into account. The researchers found that the relationship was “dose-dependent” (the more aspirin a person took on a regular basis, the higher the risk of the vision loss condition).

Age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness among people over the age of 55), is a condition that occurs when the retina begins to degenerate. It is characterized by loss of sight in the center of the field of vision.  There are two main types of macular degeneration: Dry (more common) and wet (which is rarer but more severe). Wet age-related macular degeneration occurs when blood vessels leak into the macula (which is located in the middle of the retina), thereby blocking vision.

The study which was conducted by University of Sydney researchers included 2,389 people whose aspirin habits and vision loss were tracked over 15 years (via four examinations). Of those people, 257 (or 10.8 percent) regularly took aspirin; however, researchers didn’t provide full information on why these people took the aspirin.

By the end of the 15 year study period, 24.5 percent of the study participants had developed “wet” age-related macular degeneration. The researchers’ discovered that a greater proportion of regular aspirin users had the disease than the aspirin non-users.

Even in light of the results, the researchers did not feel that the evidence was strong enough to suggest people stop regular aspirin use, though some who may be at an increased risk for age-related macular degeneration might want to talk to their doctors about their risks.

This is not the first study to show a link between regular aspirin use and macular degeneration. A study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that regularly taking aspirin for a decade is linked with an increased risk of developing the eye disease.

Another study, published in 2011 in the journal Ophthalmology, showed that people who take aspirin twice a day have a fifty percent greater risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration, compared with people who don’t regularly take aspirin. However, even that risk is still relatively low.

So what does it all mean?? Who knows! I will continue to take aspirin as needed, but I do think it is something to keep an eye on (pun intended)!

To read original article click here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/aspirin-macular-degeneration-age-related_n_2527221.html

How Many Blinks Are Enough?

“How many blinks are enough to keep your eyes moist and prevent eye strain?”  This is a question I get fairly often in my practice.  A low blink rate can cause irritated eyes (“eye strain”). Small fonts and poor type contrast, can contribute to low blink rates.  But the good news is eye strain is not permanent.

Some people believe that they could be “hurting” or “damaging” their eyes by using small type on their computer screens. However, Dr. Kimberly Yen, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine states:

 “Despite popular belief, sitting too close to the television, or in this case the computer, won’t cause blindness or other permanent damage, what it can do is cause eye strain symptoms.”

When eyes are focused on one item for a long period of time, whether it’s a computer screen, television or even a book, the blink rate slows. That could lead to eyes feeling dry or uncomfortable. Vision could even begin to blur or double. One common side effect of eye strain is headache.

source: Baylor College of Medicine

There is an interesting article in Eye Magazine that breaks down specific stressful conditions for one’s eyes:

  • reading small text sizes
  • reading low-contrast gray text
  • reading with a light source behind the reading material to cause glare
  • reading from too close a distance, which causes the eyes to point inward towards each other (convergence stress)
  • reading from variable focal distances (accommodative stress)
  • reading while wearing glasses that simulate an astigmatism (refractive stress)

“Small text sizes, low contrast, glare and refractive stress all resulted in increased activity in the orbicularis oculi, while convergence stress and accommodative stress did not, though after reading in these two conditions, readers are more likely to report headaches and pain coming from behind the eye. Stressors such as small text size and glare are reported as irritation on the front of the eye.”

They conclude that the blink rate is a key factor in eye stress. Difficult-to-read text (e.g. small text) causes a lower blink rate.  They go on to add:

“Light grey text on a white background and small text size both lead to an increased orbicularis oculi activity and decreased blinking. These two conditions are related to text quality, and we would expect to find similar indicators of eye fatigue with poor font quality or condensed letter spacing. To reduce this type of eye strain, we need text of the highest possible quality.

…other studies found that we blink far more often under relaxed conditions than while reading: 22 blinks per minute while relaxed, versus ten blinks per minute while reading a book. A recent study at Pacific University illuminated why blinking is suppressed during reading. Tai and Sheedy found that the eye movement following a blink was far more likely to be a regressive or backward corrective eye movement than one that did not follow a blink.”

My advice is to bump up the size of the font that you are reading anytime you start to feels the symptoms of eye strain. Since it is not a permanent condition, you should experience relief in a short amount of time.

Hillary Seeing Double……

For those of you who watched the senate hearings you may have noticed that Hillary Hillary Clinton with EyeglassesClinton was wearing glasses throughout.  These were not just a fashion accessory. If you look closely you will see tiny vertical lines over the lens.  This is an adhesive over the lens called “ Fresnel prism.”  This is commonly used to ‘bring things into focus’ for those individuals with double vision. It is believed Hilliary is suffering from double vison symptoms after she suffered a recent head trauma.   If you are wondering what caused her double vision it could be answered the way Hiliary likes to answer questions:

”Is her double vision due to a brain bleed, or due to the concussion she experienced when she passed out and hit her head in December?  What difference, at this point, does it make?  It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.” If you or someone you know suffers a head trauma like a concussion be aware that one of the lingering effects is double vision. You should consult with your eye care professional anytime you receive a head injury.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/hillary-double-mrs-clinton-specs-hint-impairment-article-1.1247375#ixzz2JJ4zzjvR

What’s up with the Giant Eyeball?

There was a lot of news lately about the softball sized eyeball that washed up on a Florida beach recently.

The speculation was that it could be from a giant squid, or even a whale.

Alas, it appears it was probably from a large swordfish.  “‘Experts on site and remotely have viewed and analyzed the eye, and based on its color, size and structure, along with the presence of bone around it, we believe the eye came from a swordfish,’ said Joan Herrera, curator of collections at the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.”   Also there were straight-line cuts visible around the eye pointing to a fisherman cutting the eye out and then discarding it.

That’s a pretty big swordfish! Although, I think a giant squid would have been even cooler :)

To read more about it click here