Don’t Forget About Your Sunglasses This Winter!

iStock_000026999527_XXXLargeBy Gary Heiting, OD

The UV Index developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) has made many Americans more aware of the risks of sunburn and skin cancer from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

But did you know UV and other radiation from the sun also can harm your eyes?

Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to eye damage including cataractsmacular degenerationpingueculaepterygia and photokeratitis that can cause temporary vision loss.  New research suggests the sun’s high-energy visible (HEV) radiation — also called “blue light” — may increase your long-term risk of macular degeneration. People with low blood plasma levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants especially appear at risk of retinal damage from HEV radiation.

Dangers of Ultraviolet Radiation to Your Eyes

To protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation, sunglasses should block 100 percent of UV rays and also absorb most HEV rays, or blue light.

Frames with a close-fitting wraparound style provide the best protection because they limit how much stray sunlight reaches your eyes from above and beyond the periphery of your sunglass lenses.

The three categories of invisible high-energy UV rays are:

But this also means depletion of the ozone layer potentially could allow high-energy UVC rays to reach the earth’s surface and cause serious UV-related health problems. UVC rays have wavelengths of 100-280 nanometer (nm).

UVA rays. These are closer to visible light rays and have lower energy than UVB and UVC rays. But UVA rays can pass through thecornea and reach the lens and retina inside the eye.
Overexposure to UVA radiation has been linked to the development of certain types of cataracts, and research suggests UVA rays may play a role in development of macular degeneration.  Various eye problems have been associated with overexposure to UV radiation. As an example, UVB rays are thought to help cause pingueculae and pterygia. These growths on the eye’s surface can become unsightly and cause corneal problems as well as distorted vision.  In high short-term doses, UVB rays also can cause photokeratitis, a painful inflammation of the cornea.

“Snow blindness” is the common term for severe photokeratitis, which causes temporary vision loss usually lasting 24-48 hours. The risk for snow blindness is greatest at high altitudes, but it can occur anywhere there is snow if you don’t protect your eyes with UV-blocking sunglasses.  Because the cornea appears to absorb 100 percent of UVB rays, this type of UV radiation is unlikely to cause cataracts and macular degeneration, which instead are linked to UVA exposure.

Outdoor Risk Factors

Anyone who spends time outdoors is at risk for eye problems from UV radiation. Risks of eye damage from UV and HEV exposure change from day to day and depend on a number of factors, including:

Surprisingly, cloud cover doesn’t affect UV levels significantly. Your risk of UV exposure can be quite high even on hazy or overcast days. This is because UV is invisible radiation, not visible light, and can penetrate clouds.

More Tips About Sunglasses and UV Exposure

Many misconceptions exist about the right sun protection for your eyes. Keep these tips in mind:

Article ©2015, Access Media Group LLC. Source: Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation and Your Eyes by

Toys and Eye Safety

45387078_mlBy Gretchyn Bailey

Choosing the right toys for eye safety is a concern for every parent.

Children are born with an underdeveloped visual system that grows with them. As part of normal infant vision development, newborns can see objects only up close, and toddlers and preschoolers commonly are farsighted. Also, some school-age children need eyeglasses.

Throughout their growing years, children are visually stimulated. Nothing stimulates a child’s vision more easily than a toy.

Keep in mind that most childhood accidents occur at home, many with toys. Children spend a great deal of time playing with their toys, so you need to make sure those toys are safe for overall health as well as eye safety.

How to Size Up Toys

Hand-in-hand with age appropriateness is making sure the toy is developmentally appropriate. Smaller pieces can be found in toys labeled for children age 3 and up. If your 4-year-old stills likes to put things in her mouth, these toys are not developmentally appropriate for her.

Toy size also is important. If a toy is large enough not to fit into a child’s mouth but can be manipulated into a smaller size, put the toy away until your child is older.

Make sure your child’s toys are sturdily constructed so they won’t break or fall apart with reasonable play, and double-check that any paints or finishes are non-toxic and not likely to peel or flake off.

Stuffed, plush toys should be machine washable, and, for younger children, made without tiny pieces to pull off, such as buttons or ribbons.

Avoid toys with sharp or rough edges or pieces. Make sure long-handled toys — such as a pony stick, broom or vacuum — have rounded handles, and closely supervise toddlers with such toys.

More on What Toys to Avoid

Avoid toys that shoot objects in the air — such as slingshots, dart guns or arrows — for children under 6, and closely supervise any child playing with such toys. If your older child plays with a chemistry set or woodworking tools, provide him or her with safety goggles.

When shopping for the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions, pay special attention to the age or developmental recommendations on toys. Such recommendations are there for a reason. Many parents, grandparents or well-meaning friends think a toy is “neat” or “looks fun to play with,” when for safety reasons such toys should not be offered to a child of a certain age.

Toy Suggestions

Following are some suggestions for age-appropriate toys for children to stimulate their visual development, develop hand-eye coordination and understand spatial relationships.

Birth to 12 months. Brightly colored mobiles (make sure the colors and detail on the mobile pieces face down to the child, not up to the parent), rattles, balls, stuffed animals, activity gyms, blocks, stacking/nesting toys, pouring toys (such as measuring cups).

1-year-olds. Finger paints, modeling clay, board books, balls, stuffed animals, blocks, stacking/nesting toys, pouring toys (such as measuring cups), riding toys, puzzles, shape sorters, musical toys.

2-year-olds. Finger paints, modeling clay, chalkboard and chalk, felt board and felt pieces, board books as well as standard books, balls, stuffed animals, stacking/nesting toys, pouring toys (such as measuring cups), riding toys, puzzles, shape sorters, musical toys, swings, dress-up clothes, child-sized household toys and items (broom, vacuum, rake, lawn mower), toy typewriter or cash register, child-sized kitchen area (refrigerator, stove, microwave, sink, cupboard, table and chairs), sandbox, kiddie pool, toddler tape player, stringing beads, sewing toys, magnetic letters, climbing toys (such as backyard gyms or playscapes).

3- to 6-year-olds. Large crayons, large markers, finger paints, modeling clay, chalkboard and chalk, felt board and felt pieces, doctor/nurse kit, books, balls, stuffed animals, tricycle or bicycle, puzzles, musical toys, swings, dress-up clothes, child-sized household toys and items (broom, vacuum, rake, lawn mower), toy typewriter or cash register, child-sized kitchen area (refrigerator, stove, microwave, sink, cupboard, table and chairs), sandbox, kiddie pool, child CD player, stringing beads, magnetic letters, climbing toys (such as backyard gyms or playscapes), toy computer or computer games, toy camera with film, basketball set, board games, roller skates.

7- to 10-year-olds. Crayons, markers, finger paints, modeling clay, arts and crafts kits, sewing toys, books, balls, stuffed animals, bicycle, puzzles, musical toys or musical instruments, swings, dress-up clothes, sandbox, kiddie pool, tape player, toy computer or computer games, camera with film, board games, science items (such as microscope, telescope and chemistry sets), roller skates, skateboard, jump rope, sports equipment, electric train set.

Article ©2013, Access Media Group LLC. Source: Toys and Eye Safety by

Pumpkin for Your Peepers

5700806_mlThis fall, trade your traditional pumpkin pie for this lighter dessert.  Filled with beta-carotene, it will nourish your eyes and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Pumpkin Mousse (serves 4)

How to make:

  1. Put medium bowl in freezer.
  2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin and yogurt, using a whisk.
  3. Sprinkle gelatin on orange juice and let sit for about three minutes, just enough time to get maple syrup ready.
  4. Bring maple syrup to a boil on medium-high heat in a small sauce pan, stirring constantly.
  5. Pour boiling maple syrup over orange juice and stir until gelatin has melted.
  6. Pour maple syrup mix into pumpkin preparation and mix well, using a whisk.
  7. Add orange zest and spices; stir to combine.
  8. In chilled bowl, whip cream to firm peaks, using a hand mixer.
  9. Use your mixer to whip pumpkin mix for about one minute.
  10. Fold whipped cream gently into pumpkin mix, using a spatula.
  11. Ladle into serving cups and chill in the refrigerator for two to three hours, until set.

Article ©2015, Access Media Group LLC. Source: Recipes for Healthy Eyes by

NEW! iDesign Wavescan System at Gailey Eye Clinic

47435100_mlGailey Eye Clinic is now 1 of only a handful of clinics in the United States with the iDesign Wavescan system! The same blade-free technology that NASA and the U.S. Military have approved for Laser Vision Correction on pilots and astronauts, professions highly dependent on excellent visual acuity, is now available to Gailey Eye Clinic patients in central Illinois. No two eyes are alike, not even one person’s two eyes. The iDesign allows us to capture the detailed map of each eye and translates this information into specific treatment instructions for each patient. Through the use of the iDesign, we may provide a broader range of vision correction. Also, its ability to map the surface of irregular corneas, greatly expands the number of patients that may qualify for Laser Vision Correction.

From pre-operative testing to post-operative care, our experienced team of surgeons and technicians provide personalized care like no other LASIK team in central Illinois. We are here to make you feel comfortable, relaxed, and answer any questions you have.

Laser Vision Correction FAQs:

What is iLASIK? It is a blade-less, outpatient surgical procedure that uses a laser beam to create a corneal flap and reshape the surface of the cornea to improve vision for patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

How much does it cost? That depends on several factors, including the type of procedure and the insurance coverage that you have.  It is best to set up a complimentary consultation with Gailey Eye Clinic’s Laser Vision Correction coordinator to get those answers.

Is there a discount for VSP or EyeMed? Yes, 15% discount for either plan.

Is LVC covered by insurance? Very few policies cover Laser Vision Correction, but our LVC counselor would be very happy to look into that for you and even discuss payment plan financing options.

How long does LASIK take? Your entire procedure will last less than 30 minutes!

Currently, Gailey Eye Clinic is extending our promotional price for Laser Vision Correction through the end of 2015! With this discounted price, patients may receive Laser Vision Correction for nearly $1,000 off regular pricing. Schedule your LVC screening with Ray today, to take advantage of this great offer and budget Laser Vision Correction into your 2016 Flex spending.


Ray Rybarczyk, Laser Vision Correction Coordinator

1008 North Main Street, Bloomington IL 61701

Ph: 309-557-8612     Cell: 309-684-8729     Email:


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