Health & Safety

August 2, 2013

Eye clinic personnel offers summer eye safety tips

From left, Master Sgt. Christopher Paluzzi, senior signal operations noncommissioned officer in charge, Information Systems Engineering Command, receives his pre-testing part of the eye exam from Randy Maurer, Optometry Clinic technician. The Optometry Clinic is located inside Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center.

 
Eye injuries can get painful. Whether it’s a small particle of dust or pollen that lands in the eye or a critical injury – save yourself from eye pain and misery this summer. The Optometry Clinic at Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center has advice to keep all members of the Family eye-smart.

All members of the Family can start by wearing sunglasses outdoors. Ken Winburn, Optometry Clinic certified ophthalmic assistant, lead technician and administrator, suggests lenses having 400 ultra violet, or UV protection, built in for true protection from the sun.

When it comes to more protective eye-wear, Winburn hopes to see active-duty Soldiers wearing the standard issued combat eye protection. Although they’re meant for combat, Winburn feels more Soldiers should use them in training as a safety precaution.

“They go out into the field, and they don’t realize it, but they’re doing a lot of maneuvers, a lot of things out there practicing and simulating real combat and we see it all the time, these guys come in here injured and hurt because they weren’t wearing [eye protection],” Winburn said.

Capt. Mark Taylor, Optometry chief, states, “The polycarbonate safety glasses, labeled ‘Z87,’ provide impact resistance. They even come with a special fitting for those who wear prescription glasses. The eyewear has other practical uses, such as safety glasses for outdoor home projects, especially around machinery.”

Adults are not the only ones needing eye protection. Children should wear sunglasses with the same 400 UV safety factor and remember their goggles for underwater swimming at pools this summer. Pool chemicals can cause eye damage. The PH of the pool water can cause eye irritation and stinging, resulting in a red eye. The pool can also cause infections due to various bacteria in the water. The risk of infection is greater from lakes and ocean water but is still present in pools.

Summer season also means fireworks are making their way into backyards, picnics and holiday celebrations. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports 8,500 firework injuries happen each year, and 17 percent of those injuries are eye-related.

Sgt. Hiram Colon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Signal Brigade, takes a refractor test, conducted by Maritta Ellis, Optometry Clinic technician. The patient looks into an autorefractor to examine how his eyes process light.

Besides offering eye safety tips, Optometry Clinic personnel encourage routine eye exams. Appointments can be scheduled for active-duty, retirees and Family members 6 and older. For those with health-related issues like high blood pressure and diabetes, Winburn recommends a once-a-year exam.

Patients receive comprehensive testing for their eyes. Technicians screen visual sharpness, peripheral vision, color vision, depth perception and eye pressure. After pre-testing, the doctor will do a check-up, looking at the eye internally examining parts such as the retina, optic nerve and macula.

Sometimes a patient might need further testing. Some additional parts of the exam include looking for glaucoma and macular degeneration. According to Winburn, the process is highly computerized.

“Everything that the technician does in the screening gets put on these little cards, and then that card gets taken into the doctor’s room, you plug it in and it puts up everything the technician just did. It’s pretty neat the way the system works,” he said.

To schedule an appointment, call 533.9197.




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