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What’s Your Optometrist Role in Cataract Surgery?

If you’re over the age of 60, there’s a good chance you’ll develop cataracts sometime in the next 20 or so years. While the only effective long-term treatment for cataracts is surgery, it can take years or even decades for a cataract to reach the point where it needs to be surgically removed.

In the meantime, your optometrist can monitor its progression, manage your symptoms and ensure you have the best vision possible. Once your cataract makes it difficult for you to function day-to-day, your eye doctor will refer you to an ophthalmologist who will perform eye surgery to replace your eye’s natural lens with a clear artificial lens.

Following your surgery, your optometrist will co-manage your post-op recovery in coordination with your eye surgeon.

Your Optometrist Will Discuss Cataract Treatment Options

A cataract, a clouding of the eye’s natural lens caused by the breakdown of proteins in the lens, leads to progressively blurry vision. So if you’ve been diagnosed with a cataract but aren’t yet ready for surgery, you’ll be having regular contact with your optometrist, who will explain the condition, discuss your treatment options and help manage your symptoms.

Once you’re diagnosed with cataracts, you may want to slow the progression of the condition. Working with an optometrist who knows your personal and family health history as well as your various options for cataract management and surgery is a massive advantage, as your optometrist can give you advice on dietary and lifestyle changes.

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are important for everyone, and particularly if you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts. Because the cloudy areas on your eye lenses will worsen with time, your optometrist will carefully monitor your vision and upgrade your glasses or contact lens prescription as needed. Your optometrist will perform a visual acuity test and other tests to gauge increased sensitivity to light and glare, as well as deterioration in your contrast and color vision.

When’s It Time for Cataract Surgery?

At some point, your optometrist may determine that your cataracts are severe enough to require surgery. That’s typically when options to correct your vision — updated prescriptions and speciality filters that block glare and increase contrast vision — are no longer sufficient to give you the vision you need.

Your optometrist can recommend an ophthalmologist and provide information about what to expect during cataract surgery. You’ll see your eye surgeon for post-surgery check-ups, and your optometrist for long-term eye care.

If your vision is blurred or if you notice a cloudy patch forming on your eye, you may have developed cataracts. For optimal vision care and cataract management, make sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt at Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. today.

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What’s the best treatment for cataracts?

Although many people use glasses to manage cataract symptoms and improve their deteriorating vision, the only way to really treat cataracts is via surgery. You may want to delay the procedure, but once your quality of life is affected to the degree that it’s difficult to drive or perform everyday tasks, it’s time to have cataract surgery.

Will cataracts return after surgery?

Generally, no. Because the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one during cataract surgery, a cataract can’t return to that eye. That said, there’s a possibility that a few years after the surgery, you may need a quick laser procedure if the proteins on the lens capsule — the layer that holds the artificial lens in place — becomes cloudy.

5 Vision-Saving Tips for National Save Your Vision Month

March is here. And you know what that means…

It’s National Save Your Vision Month!

In honor of this special month, which not only signals the start of spring but reminds us to protect our eyes, we’ve put together a list of 5 essential ways that you can ‘save your vision.’

It goes without saying that routine eye exams are a top priority when it comes to taking care of your eyes, so here are 5 additional things you can do to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet

You’re likely aware that a balanced diet consists of all different types of nutritious foods that contain the vitamins and nutrients you need to keep your body healthy and strong.

But did you know that certain foods actually promote eye health and can lower your risk of eye disease?

Eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamins A, B, C and E, can protect your eye health and help save your vision from sight-threatening eye diseases, like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

If you don’t think your daily meals offer enough of these essential vitamins and nutrients, ask your doctor whether you should add a daily supplement to your diet.

2. Limit Screen Time

The digital world has created a new venue for working, communicating, socializing and entertainment. But it’s also brought about a new eye condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS) — also called digital eye strain (DES) — that’s a growing concern among eye care professionals.

Not only can too much screen time affect productivity in work and school, but it can also result in dry, red, irritated eyes, blurry vision, headaches, neck, back and shoulder pain, and even have a negative effect on your mood and quality of sleep.

So this month, take it upon yourself to be more aware of how much time you spend in front of a digital screen, and try to set boundaries whenever possible for you and your children. You can also practice the 20-20-20 rule — every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.

3. Use Protective Eyewear

Every day, thousands of people receive emergency care for an eye-related accident — many of them resulting in permanent damage and vision loss.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by wearing protective eyewear for all activities that pose an eye health risk — from sports and water gun fights to lightsaber tournaments and science experiments. And, of course, this also implies any type of home-improvement project that involves small particles like grass, saw dust or metal flying into your eye.

Protective eyewear can truly save your vision.

4. Wear Sunglasses All Year Round

Sunglasses are more than just a fashion accessory to enhance your look. They shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can damage your vision and lead to serious eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Now you have an even better excuse to go out and buy yourself the new pair of shades you’ve been dreaming about. Just make sure they offer 100% UV protection.

Wear your new sunglasses all year round, even on cloudy and snowy days, because the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds and reflect off the snow-covered ground, doubling your exposure.

5. Quit Smoking

If you’ve been thinking about quitting, now’s the time! Smoking is not only dangerous for your overall health, it increases your risk for sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

So, for the sake of your vision and overall health, take the first steps toward kicking your smoking habit.

In honor of National Save Your Vision Month, why not try some of these vision-saving habits that can help you keep your eyes and vision healthy for a lifetime. Your future self will thank you.

Interested in learning more about how you can protect your eyes and vision? Contact Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. today to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and to offer you the best possible eye care.

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Do children need to wear sunglasses?

Yes, sunglasses are essential for protecting your child’s eyes both now and in the future. A child’s eyes are still maturing and are therefore even more susceptible to UV damage than adults. Encourage your child to wear sunglasses whenever they play outside by setting a good example and making sure to wear sunglasses whenever you venture outdoors.

What are sports goggles?

Sports goggles are a type of protective eyewear worn by many athletes. These goggles contain impact resistant, durable polycarbonate lenses, offering the ultimate eye protection during sports activities. If you or your child play sports, sports goggles are an essential accessory to your athletic gear.

10 Ways to Give Your Eyes Some Love This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the time to express your love and appreciation to those you care about most. But it’s also a great opportunity to take the time to pamper yourself — so why not start with your eyes?

Practice these 10 healthy lifestyle habits to help protect your eye health and vision.

1. Be Mindful of the Food You Eat

Fill your plate with fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. A well-balanced diet is good for your body and can lower your risk of eye disease.

Studies show that foods high in vitamins A, C, E, Omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin are especially beneficial for promoting eye health.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day will keep your body hydrated and your eyes moist — which is essential for preventing dry eye syndrome. To add some flavor to your water, try adding a splash of lemon juice or swap some of those glasses of water for an herbal tea or other non-caffeinated beverage. Caffeinated drinks have a dehydrating effect, so try to limit your coffee consumption as much as possible.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is widely known for its physical and mental health benefits, but studies show that it can also lower your risk of serious eye conditions and diseases. Cardio exercise in particular has been shown to lower eye pressure and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye. So grab your gym bag and get moving!

4. Don’t Smoke

If you’ve been thinking about quitting, there’s no better time than now. Smoking tobacco significantly raises your risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and can also lead to their early development.

Smoking also robs the body of the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain eye health, and contains around 7,000 chemicals that can lead to eye irritation and dry eye.

5. Practice Good Makeup Hygiene

While wearing makeup can accentuate your eyes and make you feel more beautiful, it’s important to note that if not used properly, certain makeup products can adversely affect eye health.

To keep your eyes and vision healthy, make sure to:

  • Clean your brushes and applicators regularly
  • Toss any expired products, or eye makeup you’ve used during an eye infection
  • Only apply makeup to the outer margin of your eyelids
  • Remove your makeup before going to bed
  • Never share makeup or use in-store testers

Following these safety tips will help to lower your risk of eye infections and other serious complications.

6. Wear Sunglasses

Studies show that prolonged UV exposure can damage the eyes and lead to the development of sight-threatening eye conditions, like cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, in the future.

Purchase a pair of stylish sunglasses with 100% UV protection and wear them any time you venture outdoors — the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds and reflect off of snow, sand, water and pavement. So keep a pair of sunglasses next to your front door and a spare pair in your bag or car to ensure you have UV protection wherever you go.

7. Prevent Eye Injuries

About 90% of vision loss from eye injuries can be prevented by wearing the right eye protection.

Protective eyewear like sports goggles or glasses with polycarbonate lenses are designed with sturdy materials that are less likely to break or shatter while you play sports, and can protect your eyes from small particles that fly in the air when you mow the lawn or engage in DIY projects.

8. Learn First Aid for Eye Injuries

Let’s be real, accidents can happen even if we take all the right measures to protect ourselves. But knowing what to do in case of an unexpected eye injury can potentially save you or someone you love from permanent eye damage or vision loss.

Note: Any type of eye injury should be taken seriously, and promptly examined by an eye doctor.

9. Avoid Digital Eye Strain

Prolonged screen time can cause eye strain, dry eyes, blurry vision and headaches — and lead to a condition called digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

Avoid symptoms of digital eye strain by limiting screen time as much as possible. If prolonged screen time is unavoidable, practice the 20-20-20 rule: set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to take breaks every 20 minutes to focus on an image at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

10. Visit Your Eye Doctor

Regular eye exams are crucial when it comes to maintaining your eye health. With an eye exam, your eye doctor can identify early signs of sight-threatening eye diseases and conditions — enabling earlier treatment and increasing your chances for optimal results.

From all of us at Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C., we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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What’s the difference between an eye exam and vision screening?

Vision screenings are basic tests of visual acuity, generally conducted by a school nurse or pediatrician. These screenings can’t identify many vision conditions that impact learning or work performance, and are unable to detect ocular health problems.

A comprehensive eye exam, which is performed by an eye doctor, includes tests for visual acuity and functional vision, as well as close examination of the inner and outer structures of the eye.

How often do I need to have an eye exam?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), it is important to have your eyes examined every one to two years, depending on your age, whether or not you wear glasses or contacts, your family history of eye disease, and your ocular health to date. Annual eye exams help your eye doctor monitor your eye health and easily identify any changes in your vision.

Vision Exams: What Does 20/20 Vision Really Mean?

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If you’ve had your eyes examined, your eye doctor likely asked you to read letters and numbers from an eye chart. That was to check for changes in your visual acuity, or sharpness of vision. Visual acuity can be measured in different ways, but the most common way is by using a Snellen eye chart — a chart with different sized letters and numbers in descending rows.

In 1862 Dr. Herman Snellen, an eye doctor in Holland, created the Snellen eye chart and coined the term ‘20/20 vision.’ Below we explore what that really means.

What is 20/20 Vision?

20/20 vision describes how clearly a person with normal visual clarity can see. All measurements of vision are taken when the patient is located 20 feet from the eye chart. A person with 20/20 vision can clearly read a certain row of small letters on the Snellen chart from 20 feet away.

A person with 20/40 vision who is 20 feet from the eye chart can only see the letters double the size of the letters that a person with normal vision can see.

Likewise, a person with 20/80 vision, who is 20 feet from the chart can only see letters four times larger than those seen by a person with 20/20 sight.

Legal blindness is considered to be 20/200 vision, and means that an individual with this sight at 20 feet away from the eye chart can only see letters 10 times larger than those seen by a person with 20/20 sight.

Is 20/20 Perfect Vision?

Not necessarily. This is a standard of measurement used by optometrists to help assess distance vision and prescribe eyeglasses and contacts, but vision is more than just 20/20 sight.

Several other visual skills are essential to functioning in today’s world and even a person with 20/20 vision can lack other necessary visual skills. Well-developed visual skills help individuals succeed at school, in the workplace and sports. For example, skills like eye tracking, teaming, convergence and visual processing all need to be up to par for a person to truly have ‘perfect vision.’ Visual acuity is just one piece of the puzzle.

Additionally, 20/20 isn’t the clearest possible vision. Some people have 20/15 or even 20/10 vision. This means their visual acuity is higher than a person with 20/20 sight.

How To Correct Visual Acuity

The first step in correcting a visual acuity problem is to undergo a comprehensive eye exam with your local optometrist. If your vision requires correction, your eye doctor will explain the different methods of vision correction, including prescription glasses and contact lenses.

Some people choose to correct their vision with refractive surgery, but like any surgery, it comes with the risk of surgical complications.

At Washington Eye Doctors, our goal is to help all patients achieve clear, crisp and comfortable vision, no matter their visual condition.

Not sure you have 20/20 vision? Call Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. today to schedule your eye exam today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What conditions can impair visual acuity?

  • A: Conditions like astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and an age-related loss of focusing ability (presbyopia) all impact sharpness of vision at various distances. Other conditions, including dry eye syndrome and cataracts, can also affect visual clarity.

Q: How common is it to have 20/20 vision?

  • A: Approximately a third of adults in America have 20/20 vision without the use of any vision correction, and 75% of American adults have 20/20 vision when wearing prescription lenses or other forms of vision correction.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Eyesight

Pregnancy can impact almost every part of a woman’s body and health — including her eyes. In fact, an estimated 14% of pregnant women report experiencing visual changes during pregnancy that usually resolve on their own within a couple of months after giving birth.

Knowing the different visual symptoms that can present when you’re expecting can help alert you to potential underlying health concerns that your physician may need to address.

Normal Visual Changes During Pregnancy

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is the most common visual symptom that pregnant women may experience. Hormonal fluctuations are usually to blame for the temporary decrease in visual acuity, and your eyesight will likely return to normal soon after giving birth.

The influx of pregnancy hormones causes fluid retention in some areas of the body and can cause the cornea to thicken slightly. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused accurately and vision may be blurred.

Less commonly, blurred vision can signal gestational diabetes, a pregnancy complication affecting 6-9% of pregnant women. The rise in blood sugar level impacts the focusing lens of the eye, leading to blurry vision. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, including gestational diabetes, it’s a good idea to book an eye exam to monitor for retinal changes.

Blurred vision is also a common side effect of dry eye syndrome, a condition characterized by tears that don’t adequately lubricate the eyes, which can be brought on or exacerbated by pregnancy.

Eye Dryness

Pregnancy hormones can cause a reduction in the amount of tears your eyes produce or affect the quality of the tears. These changes can affect a woman throughout her entire pregnancy, but studies show that eye dryness is particularly common in the last trimester. For this reason, some women find it difficult to wear contact lenses in their third trimester and temporarily switch to glasses.

Eye Puffiness

Yet another body part that swells during pregnancy: the eyelids and tissues around the eyes.

Pregnancy-related water retention may cause your eyelids to appear puffier than during your pre-pregnancy days. You may also notice darker areas under the eyes. If your puffy eyes bother you, try limiting your salt and caffeine intake, as they can worsen the problem.

Visual Changes That May Indicate a Problem

The following visual changes warrant a prompt call to your eye doctor or obstetrician to rule out any underlying complications.

Flashes or floaters

Seeing stars during pregnancy can signal high blood pressure, which is associated with preeclampsia — a serious medical condition that requires close monitoring by your physician and possible treatment.

It’s crucial to have your blood pressure monitored throughout your pregnancy, as preeclampsia can potentially endanger the life of mother and child, as well as damage the cornea and retina.

Temporary vision loss

Temporary vision loss is concerning for pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. Vision loss is another warning sign of preeclampsia, so contact your doctor promptly if you suddenly lose any portion of your visual field.

Sensitivity to light

Light-sensitivity can either be a normal side effect of fluid retention in the eye, or it can signal dangerously high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

How We Can Help

At ​​Washington Eye Doctors, our goal is to keep your vision and eyes healthy throughout your pregnancy and beyond. If you experience any visual symptoms, we can help by thoroughly examining your eyes to determine the underlying cause and provide you with guidance on what next steps to take.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time, when self care should be at the forefront — and that includes comprehensive eye care.

To schedule an eye exam or learn more about our eye care services, call Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. today!

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Why are regular eye exams important?

Having your eyes evaluated by an optometrist on a regular basis is crucial for detecting early signs of eye diseases and changes in your prescription, including during pregnancy. Many serious eye diseases don’t cause any noticeable symptoms until they’ve progressed to late stages, when damage to vision may be irreversible. Whether or not you wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction, ask your optometrist about how often to schedule a routine eye exam.

Will my baby need an eye exam after birth?

According to the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists, babies should have an eye exam within the first 6-12 months of life, even in the absence of noticeable vision problems. Healthy vision is a significant part of healthy overall development, so be sure not to skip your baby’s eye exams!

Protecting Your Eyes This Winter

winter vision care eye exam and sunglasses

Some people enjoy winter, while others can hardly wait for it to end. What no one disputes is the effect that months of cold temperatures, dry air and winter sun can have on the eyes. Here are some suggestions for keeping your eyes healthy and vision clear this winter.

Wear Sunglasses

While the sun may not shine as brightly in the winter, it can still damage your skin and eyes. Even on the coldest days you need to protect yourself from UV radiation. To lower your risk of developing complications and eye diseases like sunburned eyes, glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, look for sunglasses that offer 100 % UVA and UVB protection.

Wear a Hat

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat limits UV exposure by preventing the rays from reaching your eyes.

Keep Your Eyes Moist

Winter is a dry-air season. The chilly air is known to induce eye discomfort and can aggravate dry eye symptoms, whether due to the wind or the heat from an indoor heating system. Keep moisturizing drops on-hand to combat the dryness of the season and use a humidifier to keep the air moist.

Practice Good Hygiene

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is more common in the winter. This eye inflammation is usually caused by a viral or bacterial eye infection that spreads easily from one person to another. Wash your hands frequently to safeguard your eyes, refrain from touching your eyes, and don’t share linens during an active infection.

Visit an Eye Doctor

Make an appointment with an eye doctor who can assess your vision, diagnose winter-related eye conditions like dry eye and pink eye, and offer treatment and advice on how to keep your eyes healthy.

The tips above can help protect your eyes from the winter sun and wind, and increase your enjoyment during this winter season. Schedule an appointment with Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. to discover ways you can safeguard your eyes this winter or to schedule an eye exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What can I do to protect my eyes when doing winter sports?

  • A: When choosing adequate eye protection for skiing or other winter sports, you need to consider the cold and snowy weather conditions. Because the sun is brighter at higher elevations, there is a greater risk of snow glare. By wearing anti-glare sports goggles with 100 % UV protection, you not only protect your eyes from the sun and glare, but also prevent snow and ice from flying into your eyes.

Q: It’s not sunny out. Do I still need to protect my eyes?

  • A: UV light rays reach the earth even on overcast cloudy days. So make sure you wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays, even when the sun is hidden behind the clouds.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Don’t Lose Your FSA Dollars!

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Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a special tax-free account employees can contribute to in order to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs.

FSA’s are a great way to pay for eye care and eyewear—but there is one catch: it follows a ‘use it or lose it’ provision, which means that you must use your benefits by the end of the calendar year.

What can you buy with FSA funds?

FSA’s usually cover the majority of out-of-pocket expenses related to health care, including co-payments, deductibles, vision supplies, wearable devices and medical equipment.

But before booking your appointment or purchasing an item, check the details of your FSA account with your employer or representative.

In addition to an eye exam, you can use FSA dollars to pay for the following:

  • Prescription eyeglass lenses. You can get bifocals or progressive lenses, reading glasses, safety lenses, and specialty lenses. You can also order single-vision lenses or have any lens coated with an anti-reflective/anti-glare coating.
  • Sunglasses. Sunglass lenses, whether prescription or non-prescription, come in a variety of hues and types, including polarized and mirrored. You can also get sunglasses designed for sport-specific protection.
  • Frames. Designer frames are available in many different designs, materials, and colors.
  • Contact lenses. Contact lenses are more comfortable than they’ve ever been. To reduce maintenance, consider daily or short-term disposable lenses. Or if you have specific eye needs, you may choose to get bifocals, multifocals, or toric lenses for astigmatism. Colored contact lenses are equally an option.

Accessories. Contact lens cleaning and saline solutions, rewetting drops, and even eyeglass cleaner and wipes can all be purchased using FSA dollars.

​​Act Now Before Time Runs Out

Not using your benefits is comparable to leaving money on the table and walking away. We can help you take advantage of your FSA funds by providing eye exams and offering a wide array of eyeglass frames and contact lenses to choose from.

For more information or to schedule your eye exam, call Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is FSA?

  • A: A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a non-taxed savings account that allows you to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses, such as eye care and eyewear. What you may not know is that many of these benefits will expire at the end of December.While FSA follows a ‘use it or lose it’ rule, according to HealthCare.gov, your employer may elect to give you a grace period of up to 2.5 months to use the funds or allow you to carry over up to $550 to spend the following year. Clarify the details with your employer.

Q: Does FSA also cover eye surgery?

  • A: If you require surgery, such as LASIK, radial keratotomy, or cataract surgery, your FSA may be able to compensate you for the procedure’s medical costs.Because your coverage depends on the surgery, you should check with your insurance representative and your eye doctor to confirm the specifics of your case.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Eye Safety Awareness For Toys and Games

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Gift-giving season is just around the corner, and you may already be planning what toys or games to purchase for your little loved ones. The unfortunate reality, however, is that between 2015 and 2018 over 1 million toy-related injuries were treated at emergency rooms across the US. Not surprisingly, boys account for almost 2 out 3 of all these injuries. Some of these injuries have resulted in permanent vision loss, even blindness.

Data computed from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) reported on eye injuries from toy guns with projectiles: over a ten year period (2010-2019), 6,617 cases of ocular trauma due to toy guns were recorded in ED across the US, most concerning is that over 60% of these eye injuries were in children under age 9.

The most common pediatric eye injuries include corneal abrasions (scratches to the outer surface of the eye), corneal hyphema (collection of blood inside the eye, from an internal injury), a ruptured or punctured eyeball, and retinal detachment.

That’s why it’s so important to be aware of which features make a toy less or more likely to cause injury. By keeping the following tips in mind when picking out gifts, you’ll minimize the risk of any toy-related eye injuries.

Toys With a High Risk of Causing Eye Injury

1. Shooting Toys/Guns

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has made public statements about the risks that toy guns pose to children’s eyes. Even toy guns that shoot soft projectiles or darts are considered unsafe.

Many of these guns can shoot projectiles 75-150 feet away, making them especially dangerous for younger children who may play with them indoors and in close range of other children or adults, as they may not realize the power of these toy guns.

Even water balloon launchers can cause blunt force trauma to a child’s eye and lead to retinal detachment or vision loss.

If you decide to purchase this type of toy, make sure that the children are supervised and that they wear protective eyewear while using them.

2. Toys with Pointed or Sharp Ends

This one doesn’t require much explanation — if it’s pointy, it’s risky.

Toys like swords, fishing poles, wands, bows and arrows, darts and sabers are all hazardous to eye health as even the briefest contact between the object and the eye can cause a serious eye injury.

Even if the toy’s packaging says that it’s age appropriate, think twice before handing over a pointy object or any item with sharp edges to a child, especially if other children are around.

3. Aerosol Spray/Spray Streamer

If the product that comes out of these aerosol cans gets into a child’s eye, it can cause chemical conjunctivitis (pink eye) or sight-threatening chemical burns, depending on the nature of the spray. When used at close proximity to a child’s face, spray streamers can also cause corneal abrasion, which can lead to bacterial, viral or fungal eye infections and even vision loss.

4. Fireworks/Firecrackers

Several organizations, including Prevent Blindness, recommend that children never be allowed to play with fireworks or firecrackers. There simply isn’t a safe way for non-professionals to handle these explosive devices.

Protect the children in your life from probable danger by avoiding gifting fireworks or firecrackers, no matter the occasion.

5. Bright Flashlights and Laser Pointers

The light intensity of laser pointers can be damaging to kids’ eyes and even cause permanent vision loss.

Though flashlights aren’t toys, kids love playing with them. When shone directly into a child’s eyes, the bright light can cause temporary blindness, which puts them at risk of getting injured in other ways, like tripping or bumping into things.

How To Choose Eye-Safe Toys

  • Try shopping in-store rather than online so you can see what the toy looks like in person.
  • Examine the toy closely for any potential factors for eye injury, as outlined above.
  • Consult with the child’s parents before giving a gift to be sure they’re okay with the toy you’d like to buy.
  • If you’re purchasing sports equipment, make sure to supply the appropriate protective eyewear as well.
  • Bear in mind the ages of the other children who may come into contact with the toy.
  • Consider the age and maturity of the child you are shopping for. Just because the age recommendation on the box says it’s appropriate, it doesn’t guarantee that it is safe for all children. Take the child’s level of maturity and penchant for risk-taking into account.

Some eye-safe toys and games for kids include many types of arts and crafts kits, card games, building toys and board games. Arts and crafts projects involving wood, glass or other potentially sharp objects should be used with protective eyewear.

No matter what toy or game you decide to purchase for a child, make sure they are always supervised when playing. The good news is that most pediatric eye injuries are preventable with the correct protective eyewear and supervision, and by choosing low-risk toys and games.

At Washington Eye Doctors, we are here to assist with all matters of eye health and care, and wish a safe and healthy holiday season to all of our valued patients!

To schedule an eye exam or to ask any questions about our services, call Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should I do in the event of a toy-related eye injury?

  • A: If your child sustains a toy-related eye injury, seek medical attention from your eye doctor, without delay. Do not try to remove an object that’s lodged in the eye, unless you are certain that it’s easy to remove, like a piece of dust or eyelash. Instruct your child not to rub their eyes, as rubbing can often worsen the problem. If your eye doctor is unavailable, seek emergency medical care at your nearest urgent care center.

Q: Can a toy-related injury cause corneal abrasion?

  • A: Yes. A sharp piece of metal or debris, like a tiny shard of glass, can scratch the cornea—known as corneal abrasion.
    A deep abrasion can cause an eye infection or a corneal ulcer, so if your child gets a foreign substance in their eye without successfully flushing it out, contact your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


7 Signs That Your Child May Need Glasses

optometrist near you eye exam for kids

Poor eyesight can cause children to lag behind in class or on the sports field, which may impact their self-esteem.

So how can parents tell when it’s time to take their child to an eye doctor? Here are some signs that your child’s eyesight may benefit from prescription eyeglasses.

1. They Squint a Lot

If your child sometimes squints their eyes when trying to focus on a distant object, they may have a condition called myopia, or nearsightedness. Squinting reduces the amount of light that enters the eye and helps to focus incoming light onto the center of the retina, resulting in sharper vision.

2. They Complain of Headaches

Children who have uncorrected farsightedness or astigmatism are very susceptible to headaches, especially after reading or doing near work. That’s because their eye muscles have to work very hard to focus on the words or objects in front of them.

3. They Frequently Rub Their Eyes

Eye rubbing can be a sign of tiredness or eye infection, but pay attention to when your child rubs their eyes. If they do so when trying to read or visually concentrate on something, they may have a vision problem. Many children don’t have the verbal skills to communicate a vision problem and may simply rub their eyes to try and eliminate the blurry vision they’re experiencing.

4. They Sit Too Close to the Board, TV or Digital Screen

Is your child holding up their book or phone too close to their face? Do they bring their seat right up to the TV screen? If so, their eyesight might be to blame. While nearsightedness is a fairly common problem, it is easily correctable with a pair of prescription glasses.

5. They Close One Eye

When a child closes one eye to focus on something, it may indicate an uncorrected refractive error or binocular vision problem. When the two eyes aren’t able to work in tandem, the child may unconsciously close one eye to enable the stronger eye to send a clear image to the brain.

6. They Seem Clumsy

Do they keep tripping or bumping into things because they are clumsy, or because they simply can’t see very well? The best way to tell is through a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist.

7. Reading Is a Challenge

Refractive errors and other vision problems can make it very difficult for a child to read. Children with uncorrected vision problems may often lose their place while reading, skip lines, use their fingers to point to each word or may avoid reading altogether. In fact, many children who have undiagnosed vision problems are mistakenly diagnosed with a learning disability. That’s why it’s important for children who are struggling in school to undergo a thorough eye exam with their optometrist.

We Provide Pediatric Eye Exams and More!

If any of the above signs apply to your child, it’s time for a thorough evaluation with an optometrist. At Washington Eye Doctors, our friendly and knowledgeable staff use a very gentle and welcoming approach with young patients to help every child feel safe and comfortable throughout the process.

Whether your child needs glasses, contact lenses or other eyewear, we can help them find their perfect fit.

And remember, basic vision screenings offered by schools or pediatricians do not replace the care and expertise of an optometrist.

To schedule your child’s appointment and learn more about the services we offer, call Washington Eye Doctors in ​​Washington, D.C. today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often do children need to have their eyes examined by an optometrist?

  • A: According to the American Optometric Association, children should have their eyes evaluated by an optometrist at ages 6 months, 3 years, before entering first grade and every school year after that. Some children may need more frequent optometrist visits, depending on their risk factors or other conditions.

Q: What are the most common vision problems among children?

  • A: The most common vision problems found in children are refractive errors (farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism), lazy eye, crossed eyes and color deficiency. A thorough visual evaluation will help rule out any of these conditions in your child.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


It’s Autumn! Does that Mean You Should Put Away Your Sunglasses?

happy woman wearing sunglasses in autumn 640×350

Shorter days and cooler weather can fool us into a false sense of security, especially when it comes to sun damage. Many people think they don’t need to wear sunglasses in the autumn and winter, when there are fewer sunny days and the sun feels less intense. In reality, autumn light can be much more harmful to our eyes than the summer sun.

Here are 5 reasons why you should have your sunglasses on hand and wear them all year long.

The Sun’s Position

The sun is lower in the sky and closer to the horizon in the autumn, so UV rays have a much more direct path to our eyes. Even though the sun might seem less intense than it does during the summer months, there are still very high levels of UV rays and exposure. Wearing UV protective sunglasses can help reduce UV ray exposure.

Autumn’s Dangerous Sun Glare

The sun’s lower angle this time of year causes a lot of glare, especially while driving. A shallow autumn sun reflects a lot more glare than the summer sun. Glare can temporarily blind you, making driving and even walking perilous.

Fortunately, there are lens alternatives available that are capable of dealing with both mid and flat light as well as glare. Our sunglass lenses are particularly popular this time of year because they are polarized to block off glare but allow enough light to see well in less sunny or gloomy settings.

Changing Temperatures

The season’s cool and sometimes severe winds often cause irritating symptoms like dry, red, or watery eyes. The tear oils (meibum) in the eyes stiffen and thicken as the air gets cooler. Tears may be unable to provide adequate protection and moisture to the eye’s tear surface because thicker meibum does not spread uniformly across the surface of the eyes.

Wraparound sunglasses shield the eyes from the chilly air, reducing irritation.

Protection From the Elements

Autumn winds can transport dust, debris and pollutants that can irritate the delicate areas in and around the eyes.

The season also brings less humidity and more wind. Low humidity and strong winds can dehydrate both your eye film and skin around the delicate eye area. Wear sunglasses to protect yourself from irritants and allergens that float around in the autumn air.

UV Rays

Exposure to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation is dangerous all year round, as it can cause sight-threatening eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. That’s why, no matter the season, you should always wear 100% UV-blocking sunglasses when you’re outdoors.

Even on cloudy days, wear your sunglasses because up to 90% of UV radiation passes through clouds. Outdoor materials, such as pavement and snow, also reflect a substantial quantity of UV rays into the eyes.

In the fall and throughout the year, regardless of the season or climate, you should protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses.

Visit Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. if you’re looking for a new pair of high-quality sunglasses for the fall, with or without prescription lenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I still need to wear sunglasses, even if the sun doesn’t bother my eyes?

  • A: Yes. UV rays can penetrate clouds, so even on overcast days the sun can damage your eyes.

Q: Do children need sunglasses?

  • A: Sunglasses for kids, including bables, are a must. Children are at greater risk of sun exposure than adults because they spend more time in the sun and their eyes are clear, allowing more UV rays to reach the retina. Since UV damage builds up over a person’s lifetime, start protecting your child’s eyes as soon as possible.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.