Dr. Peter Liggett of Hilton Head Macula & Retina and the American Academy of Ophthalmology offer guidance on how to protect sight during Sports Eye Safety Month in April
More than 40 percent of eye injuries that occur every year are related to sports or recreational activities. A recent study found that about 30,000 people in the U.S. went to an emergency department with a sports-related eye injury, a substantially higher estimate than previously reported. Three sports accounted for almost half of all injuries: basketball, baseball and air/paintball guns.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. It is a is a disorder of the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead. AMD by itself does not lead to complete blindness, with no ability to see. However, the loss of central vision in AMD can interfere with simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, write, or do close work, such as cooking or fixing things around the house.
Dr. Peter Liggett of Hilton Head Macula & Retina is sponsoring a special seminar for Sun City Hilton Head called “Living with Low Vision,” designed to educate and encourage people living with vision impairment.
Hilton Head Macula & Retina is a sponsor of Camp Leo Golf Tournament, which will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 19 at Eagle Pointe Golf Club in Bluffton.
(From the American Society of Retina Specialists by Geoffrey G. Emerson, MD, PhD and Robert W. Wong, MD)
Don’t Get Burned by the 2017 Great American Eclipse
On August 21, 2017, North America will witness a rare total solar eclipse as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking daylight for several minutes. The last eclipse of this magnitude was in 1918, and weather permitting, it promises to be an incredible event if viewed safely.
During the eclipse, the moon’s coverage of the sun will be partially visible from most of the United States. In order to see the moon cover the sun completely, you’ll have to be in the so-called “Path of Totality,” which is a 70-mile-wide strip extending diagonally across the country from Oregon to South Carolina (Figure 1), crossing the major cities of Jackson Hole, WY; St. Louis, MO; Nashville, TN; and Charleston, SC. The total eclipse is predicted to last about 2 minutes, and detailed predictions of start time per location are available from eclipse2017.nasa.gov.
The next time you pack your bag for the beach, there are two items that are just as important as a bottle of sunblock: a hat and sunglasses.
Ultraviolet rays, classified as UVA and UVB, can not only wrinkle the skin they can damage the eye’s surface tissues, as well as the cornea and the lens. The sun can accelerate the formation of cataracts, pterygium (a non-cancerous growth over the cornea), skin cancer of the eyelids, and even result in an early form of age-related macular degeneration. Sunlight reflected off sand and water can cause photokeratitis, which is responsible for snow blindness.
Wear Sunglasses and a Hat
Sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats can dramatically reduce sun-related eye damage. However, don’t choose just any pair of sunglasses.
According to a national Sun Safety Survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, only about half of people who wear sunglasses say they check the UV rating before buying. Look for sunglasses that are affiliated with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which creates uniform testing standards and guidelines for a variety of products. Choose wraparound styles so that the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side.
Don’t Forget the Kids
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 80 percent of a person’s lifetime UVR exposure happens before age 18. Children are far more likely to spend time playing outside, particularly during the warmer months. Children’s eyes are more vulnerable to UV rayss because the lens of a child allows 70% more UV rays to reach the retina than in an adult. This may put them at increased risk of developing debilitating eye diseases such as cataracts or macular degeneration as adults. Try to keep kids out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day. Make sure they wear sunglasses and hats whenever they are in the sun.
Be Extra Cautious in UV-Intense Conditions
Sunlight is strongest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., at higher altitudes and when reflected off water, ice or snow. Don’t be fooled by the clouds. The sun’s rays can pass through clouds and can damage the eyes any time of the year, not just the summer. If you wear UV-blocking contact lenses, you still need to wear sunglasses.
Use Goggles at the Pool
The sun isn’t the only summertime culprit for eye damage. The chlorine, designed to protect you from exposure to germs, has the potential to hurt your eyes. In particular, chlorine can damage the integrity of the corneal epithelium, which protects your cornea from irritants and pathogens. This can lead to an increased likelihood of corneal abrasion or other eye injuries. The simplest solution for protection is to wear goggles every time you swim in a pool. This also applies to swimming in the ocean or other natural bodies of water, as they contain other contaminants that may hurt your eyes.
Peter Liggett, M.D., a Hilton Head retina specialist, joins with the Melanoma Research Foundation to urge the public to get a dilated eye exam with your eye care professional. Melanoma not only occurs on the skin but it also occurs within the eye. Ocular melanoma is the most common form of eye cancer in adults.
Peter Liggett, M.D.
Two local men with vision impairment will lead a seminar called “Living with Low Vision,” designed to educate and encourage others with vision problems.
Peter Liggett, M.D., a retina specialist for Hilton Head Macula & Retina, will conduct an educational seminar, “What You Need to Know About Macular Degeneration.”
Peter Liggett, M.D., a retina specialist on Hilton Head, will conduct an educational seminar, “What You Need to Know About Macular Degeneration,” at 10 a.m. Monday, November 14th in the Colleton River Room at Sun City Hilton Head. This event is open to Sun City Hilton Head residents only.