Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a deterioration or breakdown of the eye's macula. The macula is a small area in the retina — the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for your central vision, allowing you to see fine details clearly.
Many older people develop macular degeneration as part of the body's natural aging process. There are different kinds of macular problems, but the most common is age-related macular degeneration.
With macular degeneration, you may have symptoms such as blurriness, dark areas or distortion in your central vision, and perhaps permanent loss of your central vision. It usually does not affect your side, or peripheral vision.
For example, with advanced macular degeneration, you could see the outline of a clock, yet may not be able to see the hands of the clock to tell what time it is.
If this sounds all too familiar its time for a comprehensive eye exam.
The physicians at Mid Atlantic Eye Physicians are here to help guide you every step of the way. Call today for an appointment and be sure to tell our staff that you have some of these symptoms.
Diabetes is a disease that affects the body's ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Although glucose is an important source of energy for the body's cells, too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause damage in many parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys, blood vessels and the small blood vessels in the eyes.
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Overall, more than 9,000 fireworks injuries happen each year on average in the United States, with roughly 1 in 8 fireworks injuries harming the eyes, according to the most recent report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Injuries include burns, lacerations, abrasions, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, and ruptured eyeballs. Even sparklers can burn more than 1,000 degrees hotter than the boiling point of water The physicians at Mid Atlantic Eye remind people that fireworks should not be thought of as toys, but devices that can cause third-degree burns. This is why people must be vigilant and take precautions to avoid the risk of serious eye injury.
Fireworks Safety Tips
The Academy of Ophthalmology advises that the best way to avoid a potentially blinding fireworks injury is by attending professional public fireworks show rather than purchasing fireworks for home use.
For those who attend professional fireworks displays and/or live in communities surrounding the shows:
Respect safety barriers at fireworks shows and view fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
Do not touch unexploded fireworks; instead, immediately contact local fire or police departments to help.
For those who decide to purchase consumer fireworks because they live in states where they are legal, the Academy recommends the following safety tips to prevent eye injuries:
Never let children play with fireworks of any type, even sparklers.
Adults handling fireworks should always wear protective eyewear that meets the parameters set by the American National Standards Institute and ensure that all bystanders are also wearing eye protection.
Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyrotechnicians.
What to do for a fireworks eye injury
If an eye injury from fireworks occurs, remember:
Seek medical attention immediately.
Do not rub your eyes.
Do not rinse your eyes.
Do not apply pressure.
Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
This month the staff at Mid Atlantic Eye Physicians reminds you of the dangers associated with sports and recreation this time of year. Tens of thousands of sports and recreation-related eye injuries occur each year. The good news is that 90 percent of serious eye injuries are preventable by using something as simple as protective eyewear.
For all age groups, sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in baseball, basketball and racquet sports.
Boxing and full-contact martial arts pose an extremely high risk of serious and even blinding eye injuries. There is no satisfactory eye protection for boxing, although thumbless gloves may reduce the number of boxing eye injuries.
In baseball, ice hockey and men's lacrosse, a helmet with a polycarbonate (an especially strong, shatterproof, lightweight plastic) face mask or wire shield should be worn at all times. It is important that hockey face masks be approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
Protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses should be worn for sports such as basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey. Choose eye protectors that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards or that pass the CSA racquet sports standard. See the EyeSmart Protective Eyewear page for additional details.
If you already have reduced vision in one eye, consider the risks of injuring the stronger eye before participating in contact or racquet sports, which pose a higher risk of eye injury. Check with your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) to see if appropriate eye protection is available and whether or not participating in contact or racquet sports is advised.
Other Risky Leisure Activities
While sports account for a particularly high number of eye injuries, they are by no means the only hobby that poses a risk to your sight. According to physicians surveyed for the 2008 Eye Injury Snapshot conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma, more than 40 percent of patients treated for eye injuries sustained at home were involved in home repairs, yard work, cleaning and cooking. Use common sense and err on the side of caution, whatever the activity.
- Consider the risk of flying debris or other objects during activities and wear appropriate eye protection.
- Remember that eyeglasses aren't sufficient protection.
- Be careful during activities or games involving projectiles and other sharp objects that could create injury if in contact with the eye. For example, the U.S. Eye Injury Registry indicates that fishing is the number one cause of sports-related eye injuries.
- If you wear contacts or eyeglasses, pack a back-up form of vision correction during bike trips or other activities where you could lose or shatter a lens.
If an eye injury occurs, see an ophthalmologist or go to the emergency room immediately, even if the eye injury appears minor. Delaying medical attention can result in permanent vision loss or blindness.
March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month at Mid Atlantic Eye Physicians in Roanoke Rapids.
About 300,000 people visit the emergency room each year due to workplace eye injuries.
Out of all eye injuries sustained on the job, 40 percent happen in the fields of manufacturing, construction and mining, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The physicians at Mid Atlantic Eye Physicians believe that workers and employers should be diligent when it comes to eye protection.
Watch Out for Eye Dangers
Common causes for eye injuries are:
- Flying objects (bits of metal, glass);
- Any combination of these or other hazards.
Protecting Your Eyes
There are three things you can do to help prevent an eye injury:
- Know the eye safety dangers at work.
- Eliminate hazards before starting work. Use machine guarding, work screens or other engineering controls.
- Use proper eye protection.
Wear protective eyewear whenever there is a chance of eye injury. Anyone working in or passing through areas that pose eye hazards should wear protective eyewear. This is particularly true of workers involved in welding, which poses a high risk of on-the-job eye injury.
Always be sure your eye safety wear is OSHA-compliant