Last week, Google announcedthat it is testing contact lenses that monitor individuals’ blood sugar levels, which could help eliminate daily finger-prick tests for patients with diabetes, Reuters reports (Oreskovic, Reuters, 1/17). Continue reading
A new study reveals that just 2 percent of contact lens wearers follow all the rules when it comes to contact lens hygiene, while more than 80 percent of people believe that they follow good practices, America’s NPR reported on Tuesday. Continue reading
Are you interested in taking optimal care of your eyes and experiencing your best vision? If so, we encourage you to get into a habit of blinking softly as often as possible.
Frequent and gentle blinking is essential to the health of your eyes and vision because it allows your eyelids to regularly coat your eyes with three beneficial layers of tears:
- The first layer of tears lies right up against the whites of your eyes, and provides an even coat of protein-rich moisture for the second layer to adhere to.
- The middle watery layer helps to wash away foreign debris. It also nourishes the cornea of your eyes with minerals, a variety of proteins, and moisture.
- The third outer layer of tears is somewhat oily. It serves to prevent the middle watery layer from evaporating quickly, and provides needed lubrication between your eyes and your eyelids.
If your eyes are not regularly coated with the three layers of tears described above, they will be deprived of ongoing nourishment and cleansing, and they will be unnecessarily strained.
One of the reasons why many of us don’t blink as often as we should is that we don’t see frequent blinking in mainstream media. Actors and anchor-people are typically trained to blink as infrequently as possible, so when we take in mainstream media, our subconscious minds learn that it isn’t normal to blink frequently.
To optimally support your eyes and vision, it’s best to blink softly every two to four seconds, which translates to about fifteen to thirty blinks per minute. By consciously making an effort to softly blink at this rate, over time, your body will turn your conscious efforts into a subconscious habit.
Here are some notes on blinking to promote optimal eye health and vision:
- A soft and natural blink should occur like the light flap of the wings of a butterfly – this is a good image to visualize as you make an effort to blink softly every two to four seconds.
- You should blink regularly during all activities, including reading, working on the computer, and viewing a TV program or film.
- Contact lenses can discourage frequent blinking because the back surface of your eyelids is not designed to rub over an artificial surface. This is one of several good reasons why contact lenses should be avoided whenever possible.
- Some yoga and meditation instructors suggest doing exercises that involve fixating your vision on one object, such as the flame of a candle, and doing your best not to blink. We encourage you to ignore the part about suppressing your instinct to blink. It’s quite possible to experience inner stillness and peace while blinking frequently.
Since the primary goal of blinking regularly is to keep your eyes well lubricated and nourished, another good tip for eye and vision care is to keep your eyes closed whenever you are thinking about something while you do not need your vision. For example, if you are stuck in the middle of composing an e-mail message, close your eyes while you think of your next sentence.
More than 70,000 children and teens go to the emergency room each year for injuries and complications from medical devices, and contact lenses are the leading culprit, the first detailed national estimate suggests.
About one-fourth of the problems were things like infections and eye abrasions in contact lens wearers. These are sometimes preventable and can result from wearing contact lenses too long without cleaning them.
Other common problems found by researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration include puncture wounds from hypodermic needles breaking off in the skin while injecting medicine or illegal drugs; infections in young children with ear tubes; and skin tears from pelvic devices used during gynecological exams in teen girls.
Malfunction and misuse are among possible reasons; the researchers are working to determine how and why the injuries occurred and also are examining the prevalence in adults. Those efforts might result in FDA device warnings, depending on what they find, said study co-author Dr. Brock Hefflin.
The most serious problems involved implanted devices such as brain shunts for kids with hydrocephalus (water on the brain); chest catheters for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy at home; and insulin pumps for diabetics. Infections and overdoses are among problems associated with these devices. Only 6 percent of patients overall had to be hospitalized.
Dr. Steven Krug, head of emergency medicine at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital, said the study highlights a trade-off linked with medical advances that have enabled chronically ill children to be treated at home and live more normal lives.
Home care can be challenging for families; Krug says he has seen children brought in because catheters were damaged or became infected.
“Health care providers need to be aware of these kids and their devices and how to recognize or diagnose” related problems, Krug said. He was not involved in the study.
The study appears in Pediatrics, published online Monday.
Hefflin and lead author Dr. Cunlin Wang work in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. They note there has been recent concern about medical device safety in children, particularly since many devices intended for adults are used in children.
The researchers analyzed medical records from ER visits reported in a national injury surveillance system. Based on data from about 100 nationally representative hospitals, they estimated that 144,799 medical device-related complications occurred during 2004 and 2005, or more than 70,000 yearly.
Almost 34,000 problems were linked with contact lenses in the two-year period. The rest were scattered among 12 other categories including general medical devices such as needles and catheters, gynecology devices and heart devices.
Hefflin said the study is the first to evaluate device-related injuries in children only. It did not include device problems in already hospitalized children.