Monday, January 14, 2008
Medical Reports: Fresh Focus
Thanks to computers and video games more doctors are now seeing young people suffering from dry eye. It may not sound serious, but it can cause serious vision problems. Seven's Richard Lemus shows us how to get a Fresh Focus.
WSVN -- Check out the posters around Carolina Casas' dorm room, and you know she's addicted to soccer.
Carolina Casas: "I love soccer, and I usually play around three to five times a week."
When her eyes aren't focused on the ball, they're glued to the computer. It's the way most college students study these days.
Carolina Casas: "I'm usually on the computer a lot, since I'm in college. I do a lot of homework on it."
All those hours spent staring at the computer started to take a toll on her eyes.
Carolina Casas: "Redness, itchy, the feeling that I had something in my eyes."
Her symptoms got so bad she couldn't even put in her contacts. That kept her from playing soccer and from concentrating at school.
Carolina Casas: "Going to class was horrible because I wouldn't even focus on the teacher and the lesson he was teaching because I would only focus on my eyes and how red they were."
Carolina was suffering from extreme dry eye something doctors say is affecting more young people these days, thanks to technology.
Dr. William Trattler: "Patients are spending a lot of time in the computer and even playing video games, and when we spend a lot of time in the computer your blink rate drops about 50 percent, so, if you blink less, your eyes get drier."
Dry eye may not sound like a big deal, but, if left untreated, it can eventually cause vision problems.
Dr: William Trattler: "Patients with chronic dry eyes who don't seek treatment over time, this can lead to permanent vision impairment."
We can all avoid dry eye by taking breaks from the computer or video games. Also: don't sleep or work under an air conditioning unit or ceiling fan. They dry your eyes out.
For extreme cases like Carolina's, there are daily drops like Restasis that increase tear production, and you can even get these tiny punctal plugs implanted into your tear ducts.
Dr. William Trattler: "They basically block up the tear drainage to keep more tears inside your eyes, so the punctal plugs increase the tear volume."
Carolina had the plugs put in, and she also uses the drops daily. The difference is clear.
Carolina Casas: "My eyes have been perfect;y white, and, in the mirror, I'm just like, 'Thank you.'"
Richard Lemus: "Doctors can test your eyes to see if you have damage from dry eye. Since dry eye is progressive, it's best to be checked out at the first sign of trouble."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. William Trattler
Baptist Medical Arts Building
8940 North Kendall Dr Suite 400-E
Miami, FL 33176