Sunday, September 27, 2015

Children’s Eye Problems & ADHD

Sometimes when children do not see well they can seem to have certain behavioral problems that may even appear to mimic the behaviors of kids with ADHD/ADD. Researchers reporting in the journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus (AAPOS) studied the possibility that there was an association between ADHD/ADD, uncorrected refractive-errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism-and visual acuity. They performed a carefully matched and controlled study that included a group of children with a known diagnosis of ADHD/ADD according to the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV-TR), along with another control group who were age-matched. The researchers examined both groups for uncorrected visual acuity for distance and near, cycloplegic refraction-an eye test to measure uncorrected refractive error with eye drops, ocular motility or eye movement and binocular function. Their results showed that ADD/ADHD children had similar visual acuity at distance and near and refractive errors as normal subjects. Eye movement and the ability to use both eyes together as well as focusing ability were also found to be similar in both groups and thus might not contribute to ADD/ADHD. They concluded that there was really no relationship between children’s eye problems and ADHD/ADD.

If you or someone you know has ADHD and is concerned about any effects of vision problems, refractive errors or decreased visual acuity please schedule an eye exam at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham by calling 205-930-0930, visiting Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205.

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Laser Pointers & Eye Injury Risk?

You might be surprised to learn that certain laser pointers may actually pose a risk of eye injury if you do not use proper precautions. Laser pointers are often used at meeting presentations, in the classroom or lecture halls and are even used in children’s toys. Knowing this should alert you to be careful as the greater a laser pointer's output power, the more likely it will cause serious eye injuries. Understanding the safety of that laser pointer in your desk drawer or in your kid's hand isn't always obvious but we can share some information that may be useful.

Laser Pointer Eye Safety
The single most important fact to know is that as power increases above five milliwatts, the time margin for safe exposure decreases and permanent eye and skin damage can occur quickly. However, the output power of laser pointers is not always easy to determine or even clearly marked. Laser pointers often lack appropriate labeling or are even mislabeled, and accurate testing of individual pointers by consumers just isn’t possible. What we know for sure is that even the briefest exposure to high-powered blue handheld laser products can cause serious eye injuries!

Laser Pointer Eye Injury Study Results
Researchers reporting the results of a study in the journal Ophthalmology, found that if a laser with less than five milliwatts of output power is directed at someone's eye, that person can blink or turn away without suffering an eye injury. However, the natural protective mechanisms of the eye, which is the blink reflex, is ineffective against lasers with an output power greater than five milliwatts, and severe retinal damage may occur, even after momentary exposure.

Here's what the FDA advises:

  • Never aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone.
  • Don't buy laser pointers for your children.
  • Before purchasing a laser pointer, make sure it has the following information on the label:
  • a statement that it complies with Chapter 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations);
  • the manufacturer or distributor's name and the date of manufacture;
  • a warning to avoid exposure to laser radiation; and
  • the class designation, ranging from Class I to IIIa. Class IIIb and IV products should be used only by individuals with proper training and in applications where there is a legitimate need for these high-powered products.
The problem is that many laser pointers lack labels or have inaccurate labels and the researchers found that 60 percent of the sampled laser pointer products that the FDA tests are overpowered compared with what the label says. Those pointers may be powered in the 10s or 100s of milliwatts!

How do you know if your laser pointer is overpowered?
Ideally, consumers could only choose to buy a laser pointer knowing that it is less than five milliwatts. But- this isn’t possible based on the poor labeling and compliance. The FDA says that if you have a laser pointer that isn't labeled or if you don't trust the labeling, consider the following information carefully:
  • If the pointer is small and runs on button batteries, its output probably is less than five milliwatts.
  • If it's pen-sized and runs on AA or AAA batteries, it's likely to be more powerful and may exceed five milliwatts.
  • If it's flashlight-sized and runs on a cluster of AA or AAA batteries or runs on lithium batteries, it likely exceeds five milliwatts.
  • Pointers sold with battery chargers probably drain their batteries quickly and are likely to be overpowered.
  • Some pointers are sold with a removable cap that spreads the beam into a pattern. If used without the cap, the beam becomes a single beam that could exceed 5 milliwatts.
  • Look for keywords that sellers might use to indicate a pointer is highly powered without saying that it's over five milliwatts: powerful, bright, ultra, super, military, military grade, super bright, high power, ultra bright, strong, balloon pop, burn, burning, adjustable focus, lithium battery, lithium powered.
  • Look for videos or photos that show the laser burning, melting, balloon popping or show a bright, well-defined beam of light.
  • Look for purchaser comments on websites that tout the brightness or power of the product.
Blue & Violet Laser Pointers Are the Most Dangerous!

Blue and Violet laser pointers are the most dangerous because the human eye actually is less sensitive to blue and violet. So, while a person would react quickly to a red or green laser, that person may not blink or turn away as fast from an equally powerful blue or violet light, creating a greater likelihood of injury.

If you or someone you know is concerned about laser pointer use and eye safety, please schedule an eye examination at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham by calling 205-930-0930, visiting Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lifestyle Choices for Eye Health & Vision

Each of us has a responsibility to make good lifestyle choices in order to preserve our eye health and vision. There are a list of some simple, basic actions you can take to maintain your eyes and sight. Here a few tips…
Have Regular Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exams
Making sure to schedule regular dilated eye health and vision exams-at intervals your eye doctor recommends- is the first step to maintaining eye health and good vision. Early detection, diagnosis and treatment when necessary allows us to find eye diseases, conditions and problems so that we can address them before they are sight threatening. Many eye diseases do not have early warning signs, but signs and symptoms can be identified during a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

Know Your Family History of Eye Problems
Many eye health and vision problems and eye diseases tend to run in families. This suggests that if an eye disease is present in any family member it may put you at greater risk of that eye problem. This is particularly the case for eye diseases such as glaucoma and age related macular degeneration (AMD). Stay abreast of the eye diseases and conditions as they exist in your family, AND BE SURE TO TELL US ABOUT THEM WHEN YOU COME IN FOR AN EYE EXAM.
Nutrition and Diet Affect Eye Health & Vision
Make sure to pay attention to what you eat and try to include a steady diet of foods high in important nutrients that support good vision, such as the following:
  • Vegetables: collard greens, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and dark, leafy greens, such as kale and spinach
  • Nuts: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts
  • Fruits: strawberries and blueberries
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: tuna, halibut and salmon
  • Beans: chickpeas, kidney beans and legumes
Watch Your Weight & Exercise
Being overweight exposes you to a greater risk of diabetes. In fact there is an epidemic of diabetes in the U.S. today. Diabetic eye problems include a greater risk of glaucoma, cataracts and sight threatening diabetic retinopathy. Exercise-even moderate amounts of daily exercise reduce your risk of developing MANY eye diseases and problems.

Wear Protective Eyewear
Eye injury prevention is relatively easy-if you wear the appropriate protective eyewear when taking part in sports or home activities that expose you to risk. It is estimated that some 90% of eye injuries can be prevented by taking a minute to review the need for protective eyeglasses before doing home projects, trimming branches or shrubs, using saws, tool or weed whackers-and on and on. In addition, when spending time outdoors or near the water, wear sunglasses designed to block out 99 to 100 percent of the sun’s UV-A and UV-B rays.
Be smart and be safe.
Stop Smoking
Not only does smoking cause a host of cardiovascular and systemic vascular problems, but smoking is now recognized as increasing the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and, all of which could lead to vision loss. We also now know that if you do smoke, there is considerable benefit in stopping!

Avoid Computer Eyestrain
CRT or video display terminals used for computers are well known to expose you eye fatigue, headache and more troubling-dry eye problems. When working on the computer or using a smartphone or tablet, practice the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eyestrain-that is, every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. If you have any sensation of dryness, grittiness or “something in your eyes”, use an eye surface lubricant or eye drop to replenish your tears.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about lifestyle choices to maintain eye health and vision please schedule an eye exam at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham by calling 205-930-0930, visiting Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham is located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine affiliated ophthalmologists Marc Michelson, M.D. and Tyler Hall, M.D.