Eye Care Important For Keiki
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.