Tag: Vision

Literacy Deficiency Found in Children with Uncorrected Farsightedness

USC Pediatric OphthalmologyThe University of Southern California (USC) Eye Roski Institute, one of the nation’s Top 10 ophthalmology programs according to U.S. News & World Report, is announcing a call to action for all parents and educators to ensure children receive proper eye exams at an early age. Through awareness, education and early interventions, the USC Roski Eye Institute believes we can stem the tide of recent pediatric eye disease sight that may contribute to a reduction in the younger generation’s quality of life.

A new National Eye Institute (NEI)-funded study highlights that preschoolers ages 4 and 5 with uncorrected farsightedness (hyperopia), where children have difficulty seeing close-up, performed poorly on literacy tests relative to those with normal vision.

Researchers in the Vision in Preschoolers-Hyperopia in Preschoolers (VIP-HIP) study implemented a Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL) test to examine the reading skills of 492 children.  Eye exams were conducted on all children prior to administering the TOPEL.  In the reported results, a substantial literacy deficit was observed in children with moderate farsightedness (3-6 diopters).  Relative to the mild form, moderate farsightedness is associated with an increased number of diopters, which is the unit of measure of lens power that is required to correct vision. Most notably in this study, children with moderate farsightedness and reduced near visual function such as depth perception, had significant challenges in the print knowledge domain of the test, which assesses the ability to distinguish letters and words.

Elise Ciner, O.D., professor at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University in Philadelphia, and co-investigator of the study stated that, “Preschool children with moderate hyperopia and decreased near vision may benefit from referral for assessment of early literacy skills.” Ciner also indicated that early interventions in these children might provide a better educational outcome.

While a small percentage of children known to have severe farsightedness are corrected with prescription eyeglasses, it is common for cases of moderate farsightedness to go undetected.  “This study adds to the growing concerns surrounding the prevalence of eye conditions such as moderate farsightedness in children,” says Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, who is the Chair of the USC Roski Eye Institute, Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and epidemiology expert in eye diseases.

The results of the VIP-HIP study come on the heels of the recently completed Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study (MEPEDS), conducted by researchers and clinicians from the USC Roski Eye Institute at Keck Medicine of USC in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, which assessed childhood eye disease in over 9000 Los Angeles area children ages 6 months to 6 years.

While 4-14% of children overall are found to have moderate farsightedness, the MEPEDS found that children in specific racial/ethnic groups are at higher risk of developing farsightedness. The prevalence of farsightedness (+2 diopters or greater) was highest in Hispanic (26.9%) and Non-Hispanic White children (25.7%), but lower in African American (20.8%) and Asian children (13.5%). Thus, non-Hispanic white and Hispanic children are twice as likely to be farsighted than Asian children. Two other significant observations made in the study were that moderate levels of farsightedness was associated with the development of both amblyopia (lazy eye- poor visual development in an eye) and strabismus (misalignment of the eyes).

“Studies such as these are crucial.  Knowing the risk factors associated with farsightedness along with the impact that it can have on the intellectual development of our children, should be considered when creating guidelines for screening and intervention in preschool children,” says Varma. “The results emphasize the importance of vision screening in children at an early age, as detection and treatment of farsightedness, can lead to a more promising future for our children.”

About the USC Roski Eye Institute

The USC Roski Eye Institute, part of the Keck Medicine of USC university-based medical enterprise, has been a leader in scientific research and innovative clinical treatments for 40 years. Among the top three funded academic-based medical centers by the National Eye Institute (NEI) research grants and ranked in the Top 10 ophthalmology programs in U.S. News & World Report‘s annual “Best Hospitals” issue for more than 20 years, the USC Roski Eye Institute is headquartered in Los Angeles with clinics in Arcadia, Beverly Hills and Pasadena.

Patients from across the country come to see the USC Roski Eye Institute experts who treat a comprehensive array of eye diseases across the life spectrum from infants to aging seniors. The USC Roski Eye Institute is known for its scientific research and clinical innovation including: creation of the Argus implant (also known as the “bionic eye”) for retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients; stem cell therapies for those who have age-related macular degeneration; discovery of the gene that is the cause of the most common eye cancer in children; treatment for eye infections for AIDS patients; inventors of the most widely used glaucoma implant in the world; pioneers of a device for long-term intraocular drug delivery; and the first to use telesurgery to train eye doctors in developing countries.  For more information visit: eye.keckmedicine.org. or eye.keckmedicine.org.

Next, read USC Study Uncovers New Approach to Treating Dry Eye Syndrome

Top 10 Apps for Visually Impaired People

USC Roski Eye Institute Visual ImpairedLiving with low vision or blindness can present numerous challenges on a day-to-day basis. Simply running errands, preparing meals, recognizing faces, and performing tasks at home or work can become overly complicated and frustrating, to say the least. Fortunately, there are plenty of services available to offer assistance to visually impaired people, and access to these services is even easier thanks to smarthphones and other digital devices.

In order to help you or a family member find the best iOS or Android device apps designed specifically for the visually impaired, we have compiled a list of our top 10 favorites.

  1.  NavCog

Created by IBM Research scientist Chieko Asakawa and Carnegie Mellon University Cognitive Assistance Laboratory, NavCog is a brand new app that allows the visually impaired to successfully navigate the world around them with turn-by-turn guidance not unlike GPS. The app is a computer vision navigation application that provides real-time information about where an individual is, which direction they are facing, and other information about the surroundings. The app can be used to navigate both indoors and outdoors using Bluetooth signals.

  1. EyeNote

Designed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, EyeNote allows users to scan U.S. paper currency to determine the denomination. The application is a valuable aid for visually impaired or blind individuals when making purchases or transactions. The app can communicate the value of the paper money via tone, vibration, or spoken word.

  1. TapTapSee

Using the camera technology on iPhones and other devices, TapTapSee was designed specifically to help the blind or visually impaired accurately identify everyday objects without the need for sighted assistance. Simply tapping the screen to take a photo, the user will hear the app correctly name the item.

  1. Big Browser

Navigating the web can be particularly difficult for these with low vision. Big Browser allows users to adjust color themes and zoom in on content for an easier read. The app is also equipped with a larger keyboard and controls that are easier to see.

  1. RAY App

The RAY App replaces the traditional click interaction of Android devices with touch and directional swipe gestures for easy, eye-free navigation. From voice-operated messaging to online audio books and color identification, the RAY App makes any Android device visually impaired-friendly.

  1. iBrailler

Comfortably and quickly type and text using a customizable brailler that utilizes VoiceOver as well as audio feedback to ensure simple navigation. The app also features a blind-friendly design that eliminates typing accidents.

  1. AFB CareerConnect

Created by The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), CareerConnect is a free online resource for those who are blind or visually impaired. The app allows users to explore careers and learn about navigating the employment process from others who are blind or visually impaired.

  1. Voice Dream Reader

Voice Dream Reader is a voice-based mobile app that allows the blind or visually impaired to read anything that contains text, such as websites, local files on your device, Bookshare, and more. The app offers customizable text and reading options, such as different font sizes and colors, as well as text-to-speech reading in a variety of voices.

  1. ViA

With more than 500,000 apps available for iPhone and Android devices, narrowing down apps that are suited for the visually impaired can be overwhelming. ViA was created by the Braille Institute to make apps designed for those with low vision or blindness easier to find and more accessible. The app can be customized to find apps that are appropriate for children.

  1. A Blind Legend

A Blind Legend is one of the first audio-only mobile video games available that is aimed at both sighted and non-sighted players. Using three-dimensional sound, the game features a blind knight who must journey to the High Castle Kingdom to rescue his wife with the help of his daughter Louise. Players navigate and interact with the game using the touchscreen.

Learn More from USC Roski Eye Institute

If you or someone you love lives with vision loss of any degree, the USC Roski Eye Institute is committed to providing the solutions to make everyday life easier. To learn more from our renowned ophthalmology team and our treatment options, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (323) 442-6335 or submit a contact form today.

For more information about the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute by making a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.

Next, read Staying Away from Toy-Related Child Eye Injuries

Staying Away from Toy-Related Child Eye Injuries

Children Eye HealthWhen families and friends get together for the holidays, the children are often treated to presents of all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, even a well-intentioned loved one may choose a gift that puts you or your little ones at risk of an eye injury.  Across the U.S., reportedly 250,000 children are taken to the hospital for toy-related eye injuries each holiday season, according to Friends for Sight. To help protect your son or daughter, the USC Roski Eye Institute has compiled the following safety tips when handling gifts for children.

Toy Safety Tips

Before even approaching the cash register, when searching for the perfect gift for your son or daughter always remember the following:

  • Purchase only age-appropriate toys
  • Read the labels for warnings
  • Check whether the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) safety requirements
  • Avoid projectile or flying toys
  • Stay away from toys with spikes or sharp points
  • Do not buy BB guns for young children
  • Purchase helmets and protective gear for sports-related or motorized toys
  • Avoid toys with bright LED lights or lasers
  • Consider whether younger siblings will have access to the toys

Once unwrapped and in your child’s hands, be sure to instruct him or her on how to safely play with the toy and supervise playtime. Many child eye injuries occur when a parent or adult is not present, so it is important to observe their playing, especially when action toys are involved. Swords or wands may seem innocent, but these items invite children to target each other and inadvertently cause harm.

What to Do If Your Child Sustains an Eye Injury

Should your child have received a possibly dangerous toy, it is crucial to know what to do in case of an accident. In the event that your son or daughter suffers an eye injury, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Tell your child to not touch or rub his or her eyes and do not attempt to remove fragments or apply medication to the eye as it may cause further damage. If a harmful chemical gets in his or her eye, flush your son or daughter’s eye with water right away.

Contact USC Roski Eye Institute Today

To protect your family’s vision year-round, schedule annual eye exams with the professional ophthalmologists at USC Roski Eye Institute. Regular screenings and exams will help accurate catch potential issues that may develop into serious eye conditions later on. Take preventative action early to keep your family’s vision healthy. Make an appointment with a skilled ophthalmologist at USC Roski Eye Institute for a comprehensive eye exam using the most state-of-the-art technology available.

Help support the USC Roski Eye Institute by making a tax-deductible gift! Contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu today!

Next, read about Evaluate Your Vision: Which Treatment is Right For You?

3 Things You Should Know About Your Sight

New Study by USC Roski Eye Institute Shows RanibizumaOur eyes are highly complex organs that are almost constantly working, both voluntarily and involuntarily. Even while we sleep, our eyes move in connection with brain activity as we dream and recharge for the next day. Needless to say, we rely heavily on our eyes to properly function, yet often fail to take the appropriate measures to ensure that they will continue working well into our old age.

At USC Roski Eye Institute, we place the utmost importance on helping people of all ages learn about proper eye health and what to do in the event that their vision is impaired. The following information will help put the health of your sight in perspective.

1. 80 Percent of Disease-Related Vision Loss Can be Treated or Prevented

The World Health Organization recently reported that as much as 80 percent of all visual impairment can actually be prevented or cured through education about proper eye health, better access to high quality care, and annual screenings. The most common eye conditions that can lead to blindness include cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma, which often do not present any noticeable symptoms during the early stages of development. Therefore, it is crucial to schedule regular eye exams as often as recommended, based on your age, health, and family history, even if your sight seems to be perfectly fine. Early detection is the best defense against vision loss.

2. Diabetes is the Leading Cause of Blindness Among Americans

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that puts individuals at a significantly higher risk of developing certain eye diseases, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. While proper diet and exercise is important for everyone at any age, diabetics must take special care to not only manage their diabetes, but to also ensure that the disease does not damage their eyesight. Diabetes may be the leading cause of blindness in America, but it is possible for diabetics to protect their vision by also taking control of their overall health.

3. Two Thirds of all Blindness and Vision Loss Occurs in Women

Prevent Blindness, a volunteer eye health and safety organization, recently determined that women make up the majority of Americans who suffer from visual impairment or blindness and that one in four women has not had an eye exam in the last two years. One reason that women are particularly at risk for vision issues is hormones. Whether pregnant, taking birth control pills, or going through menopause, fluctuations in hormones can influence overall eye health, causing high blood pressure, light sensitivity, and diabetic retinopathy.

Schedule an Appointment Today

At the USC Roski Eye Institute, our expert ophthalmologists have extensive training and experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions in men, women, and children. To receive a comprehensive eye exam and ensure that your vision is carefully monitored, please complete our online contact form or call 323-442-6335 today!

To learn more about the services at the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute with a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu or by calling USC Roski Eye Institute.

Next, read What Eye Contact Can Tell Us About Political Candidates (and Others!)

What Eye Contact Can Tell Us About Political Candidates (and Others!)

USC Roski Eye Institute Eye ContactThe 2016 presidential election campaigns are well underway as the latest candidates competing for the White House make daily appearances in the media, holding rallies and participating in debates. From the very first televised debate in 1960, it is clear that a candidate’s composure in front of the camera and interaction with their opponents are incredibly important for his or her elect-ability.

However, while most of today’s candidates are well-practiced and polished before stepping foot on stage, there’s an important component to pay attention to that is muc more difficult to control – the eyes.

Eye contact is a powerful form of non-verbal communication that can convey everything from our emotional state and intentions, as well as our power and dominance. So, what can eye contact tell us about the men and women running for office?

The Politics of the Eyes

Researchers have uncovered the many meanings behind a simple glance, a wink, or an extended stare. Numerous studies have noted that non-verbal communication and visual attention can reveal more than a person’s feelings, but also personal information. In fact, eye contact, or lack thereof, is often cited as one of the first indications that a child has autism. So, when watching the 2016 candidates or dealing with others in everyday life, keep these eye cues in mind.

We also know from research that high status individuals feel free to stare more at others, to look less as they listen, and to command a larger visual space.

Forced Eye Contact – It is commonly believed that forcing another person to hold eye contact beyond a comfortable length of time is one way to assert dominance, however, it can also be the quickest way to lose influence over another person. Not only is forced eye contact intimidating, but it tends to put others on defense, making it all the more likely that they will shut out any argument you are trying to make.

So, if a candidate is trying to lock eye contact with an opponent, it may be an indication that he or she is trying to force the other to submit to his or her idea.

Avoiding Eye Contact – Averting one’s gaze during a conversation can have one of two meanings: either the individual is insecure or submissive to a more aggressive, dominant personality, or second, the individual feels that the other person is inferior. Eye contact is a great indicator for how confident a person feels. By turning one’s eyes away, it can allow the viewer the power to watch him or her without challenge, or it can show the viewer that he or she does not value what the other is saying.

In a political debate, turning one’s eyes away can indicate that the listener does not agree with or value what the other is saying, or wants to dismiss the other person.

Rapid Blinking – When nervous or stressed, a person’s rate of blinking naturally increases, often indicating that the person is trying to think quickly. Many researchers have found the individuals begin to blink more often when trying to lie, and those who are aware of this “tell” may even try to force themselves to blink less to appear more calm.

It is not uncommon to see someone blinking rapidly during a heated argument or when confronted with uncomfortable topics.

Eye Rolling – Rolling one’s eyes is a blatant social cue that is used to consciously reject or dismiss another person. Presidential candidate Al Gore famously rolled his eyes throughout a political debate with George W. Bush in an effort to discredit his opponent. However, the excessive eye rolling, in combination with audible sighs, became so exaggerated that the audience was more uncomfortable than convinced by Gore’s efforts.

Eye Contact and Health

Needless to say, the eyes convey a wide range of social cues and information. However, the way we move our eyes can also indicate facts about our internal health. For example, jerky, uncontrolled eye movements can help identify whether a person has Parkinson’s Disease or other neurodegenerative issues, while holding longer visual fixations while processing information may indicate Alzheimer’s.

Contact USC Roski Eye Institute for Your Annual Eye Exam

It is important to receive a thorough eye exam from a professional optometrist or ophthalmologist on a yearly basis (depending on your age) to catch vision problems and get effective treatment. Please do not wait to make an appointment with a skilled ophthalmologist at USC Roski Eye Institute for a comprehensive eye exam using the most state-of-the-art technology available.

Support the USC Roski Eye Institute by making a tax-deductible gift by contacting Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu today!

Next, read What Can You Do for Your Loved Ones in National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Keep Computer Use from Causing Eye Strain With These Helpful Tips

Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment

More and more people of all ages are straining their eyes to read, watch videos, play games, study, and work from the glowing screen of a computer, tablet, or smartphone. While modern technology has brought abundant conveniences to everyday life, it is important to note that spending hours on end staring at a bright screen of any size can cause considerable wear and tear to one’s eyesight. The USC Roski Eye Institute is dedicated to providing cutting-edge eye care and advanced ophthalmology treatments designed to treat vision loss. In order to prevent harmful eye strain and vision issues caused by computers, our ophthalmologists strongly suggest the following tips.

The Rise of Computer Vision Syndrome

Not unlike other types of repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, staring at a bright, flickering monitor causes the eye muscles to strain considerably more than when reading from a paper. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from the effects of computer vision syndrome:

  • Headaches
  • Dry, aching eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Tired, irritated eyes
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Eye twitching

In order to diagnose and create an effective treatment plan for any eye problems, schedule a comprehensive eye exam with a qualified and experienced ophthalmologist. There may be additional factors that could be contributing to painful or uncomfortable issues with your eyes.

Protecting Your Eyes from Computer Vision Syndrome

If your eyes feel strained or irritated when using a computer or digital device, the following tips may be helpful:

Take a Break – Take your eyes off of the screen roughly every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds to let your eye muscles relax. Remember to keep your eyes well lubricated by blinking often or even using eye drops. Consult with your ophthalmologist for recommended eye drops.

Eliminate Harsh Lighting – Reduce the brightness of your monitor and soften the light in your work space with low intensity light bulbs rather than fluorescent lights. If possible, position your desk so that it does not directly face a window and adjust curtains or blinds throughout the day to accommodate for any bright, natural light streaming through the window.

Adjust Monitor Display Settings – Most monitors emit blue light, which has a shorter wavelength and can strain the eyes more than warmer tones, such as red or orange, that have longer wavelengths. If possible, reduce the color temperature of the monitor to emit more eye-friendly hues than stark white or blue. Also, increase or decrease the text sizes in your display settings for comfortable reading.

Eat a Healthy Diet – While also beneficial for your overall health and wellness, a diet full of leafy greens, fresh fruits, and Omega-3 fish oil may strengthen and preserve eyesight by decreasing inflammation and reducing the risk of eye conditions.

Reduce Glare – Bright reflections from your computer screen or other surfaces in your work space can contribute significantly to computer eye strain. Use an anti-glare screen on your monitor and adjust your surroundings to prevent glare.

Schedule an Eye Exam – Other eye issues, such as astigmatism, farsightedness, or uveitis, can increase the painful effects of computer eye strain. Prescription contact lenses or glasses may help correct your vision when using a computer as well as reduce painful symptoms. Your doctor will be able to test for other conditions that may be affecting your sight and can help you determine how far you should be sitting from your computer.

Comprehensive Eye Care at USC Roski Eye Institute

The board-certified ophthalmologists at the USC Roski Eye Institute are highly experienced at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions, such as computer vision syndrome, and have access to the latest, most advanced diagnostic tools and treatments. If you are concerned about your eyesight or the sight of a loved one, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by filling out our online contact form or simply calling (323) 442-6335. We have locations in Los Angeles, Arcadia, Beverly Hills, and Pasadena.

For more information about the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute by making a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.

Next, read Five Eye Conditions Your Child Is At Risk For Contracting

Common Eye Concerns for People 40 and Older

USC Roski Eye Institute Eye Health

It is generally accepted that as we age our eyesight begins to weaken, and prescription glasses and contact lenses are not far behind after one’s 40th birthday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backs up that assumption with the fact that more than 3.3 million people older than age 40 are legally blind or suffer from poor vision in the U.S. The main cause? Age-related eye diseases.

However, at the USC Roski Eye Institute, our board-certified ophthalmologists believe that vision loss is not a foregone conclusion of getting older and continue to develop and provide the most cutting-edge treatments for restoring and improving eyesight. The USC Roski Eye Institute is consistently recognized for its commitment to high-quality patient care and achieving major breakthroughs in vision research.

Identifying Age-Related Changes in Eyesight

Many people begin to notice subtle changes in their eyesight as they get older, such as difficulty seeing in low light, reduced tear production, trouble reading or focusing on nearby objects, and reduced color perception. It is important to get regular eye exams in middle age in order to watch for early warning signs of common eye diseases, including:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – A blinding eye disorder that affects the central part of the retina, called the macula, which allows the eye to see sharp details.
  • Glaucoma – A set of vision disorders that cause increased pressure in the eye because the fluid within the eye does not fill and drain properly. This initially leads to irreversible loss of peripheral vision, but can ultimately lead to irreversible loss of central vision or all one’s vision if not detected early and treated in a timely manner.
  • Cataracts – The eye lens becomes cloudy, causing fuzzy or blurred vision, difficulty reading, and trouble driving at night due to light glare and sensitivity to light.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy – A complication of diabetes in which the blood vessels of the retina become increasingly damaged, resulting in blindness if not treated in a timely manner.

What Factors Put You More at Risk of Age-Related Eye Problems?

Not everyone will experience the same level of vision loss or change over time; however, certain factors put individuals at a higher risk of eye problems, including the following:

  • Genetics – A family history of macular degeneration or cataracts
  • Environment – Working in a hazardous occupation, prolonged sun exposure, straining the eyes to focus on a computer screen without taking breaks
  • Health Conditions – High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or even allergies
  • Poor Diet or Habits – Heavy smoking, not eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables, or not exercising on a consistent basis
  • Eye Color – Light-colored eyes are less resistant to damaging UV rays
  • Gender – Females are often more likely to develop AMD

While not all risk factors can be controlled, such as family history or age, it is crucial to take a proactive approach to maintaining healthy eyes by getting comprehensive eye exams on a regular basis, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding fatty foods, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Find Expert Eye Care at USC Roski Eye Institute

Whether you are ready for your regular eye exam or are concerned by your eye health or that of a loved one, the cutting-edge ophthalmology team at the USC Roski Eye Institute can help you. Get in touch with us today by calling 323-442-6335 or filling out the online contact form. With locations in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, and Arcadia, we can help you find the eye care you need as soon as possible.

To learn more about the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute by making a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323-442-6335 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.

Next, read What Unhealthy Habits Put You at Risk of Contact Lens Eye Infections?

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