Eye Care Im­por­tant For Keiki

MidWeek (Hawaii) - - Front Page -

Where did you re­ceive your school­ing and train­ing, and how long have you been in prac­tice?

I re­ceived my med­i­cal de­gree from Univer­sity of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine and com­pleted my oph­thal­mol­ogy res­i­dency at the Mayo Clinic. I re­ceived fel­low­ship train­ing in pe­di­atric oph­thal­mol­ogy and stra­bis­mus at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye In­sti­tute (now the UCLA Stein Eye In­sti­tute), and have been in prac­tice for 16 years.

What are some of the com­mon con­di­tions you treat, and what ser­vices do you spe­cial­ize in?

I treat var­i­ous eye con­di­tions in peo­ple of all ages, but my spe­cialty is pe­di­atric oph­thal­mol­ogy and stra­bis­mus.

Pe­di­atric oph­thal­mol­ogy fo­cuses on im­prov­ing the vi­sion and eye health of chil­dren, through med­i­cal and sur­gi­cal care.

Stra­bis­mus is a con­di­tion where the eyes are mis­aligned (such as cross­ing or wan­der­ing eyes). Stra­bis­mus can oc­cur in chil­dren or adults. There are dif­fer­ent types and causes of stra­bis­mus, and treat­ment de­pends on each sit­u­a­tion. Com­mon types of treat­ment for chil­dren in­clude glasses, eye patch­ing, eye ex­er­cises and eye mus­cle surgery.

What are some of the latest sta­tis­tics re­lated to eye health for chil­dren?

A large na­tional study re­cently found that nearly one in four (24 per­cent) ado­les­cents have a fo­cus­ing prob­lem (near­sight­ed­ness, far­sight­ed­ness or astig­ma­tism) that is not ad­e­quately cor­rected with glasses or con­tact lenses. This is an un­for­tu­nate prob­lem, be­cause blurred, un­fo­cused vi­sion can have a se­ri­ous ef­fect on aca­demic, so­cial and ath­letic per­for­mance. This can lead to fur­ther prob­lems dence and other is­sues.

What are some com­mon mis­takes peo­ple make when it comes to tak­ing care of their eyes?

Some­times af­ter a child fails a vi­sion screen­ing test, fam­i­lies will put off sched­ul­ing an eye exam. Of­ten it is be­cause they want to avoid glasses. But if glasses are needed, they can be a vi­tal as­set for suc­cess for chil­dren, in and out­side the class­room. Also, do keep in mind that a failed vi­sion screen can rep- re­sent more than just need­ing glasses. It can be the sign of some­thing more se­ri­ous like am­bly­opia, which re­sponds best to early treat­ment.

What ad­vice do you have for par­ents when it comes to eye/vi­sion safety for their kids?

All chil­dren should have good UV pro­tec­tion for their eyes. Heavy life­time ex­po­sure to UV rays can cause ptery­gia (ab­nor­mal growths on the sur­face of the eye) and can­cers of the eye, and pos­si­bly mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion and cataracts.

Is it true that read­ing in the dark is not good for your eyes? Why?

There is no sci­en­tific ev­i­dence that read­ing in the dark is harm­ful to vi­sion. How­ever, read­ing without ad­e­quate light­ing can cause eye­strain and dis­com­fort, so it’s best to re­spond to your eyes and ad­just your light­ing ac­cord­ingly.

How about use of smart­phones, tablets and other elec­tron­ics? How does this af­fect a child’s eyes?

Stud­ies have not demon­strated that dig­i­tal de­vices are harm­ful to vi­sion or eye health. But pro­longed screen view­ing may cause eye­strain and dis­com­fort. Pe­ri­odic

Oph­thal­mol­o­gist Julie Nishimura con­ducts an eye exam on a young pa­tient.

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