Lighthouse At-A-Glance

Featured Story

Protect Your Eyes Against UV Rays This Summer

Now that summer is here, pay extra attention to the health of your eyes. Exposure to ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) rays can damage the retina and cause cataracts and macular degeneration.

When a child is exposed to UV rays, the damage can be even more significant. Since children generally spend more time in the sun, it’s important to limit their exposure. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children’s eyes, which are sensitive and still developing, are at a greater risk for eye damage until the age of 10. In addition, 80 percent of the total lifetime damage from UV rays occurs by the age of 18.

The American Optometric Association has found that the lenses of children’s eyes are more transparent than adults, increasing their risk of eye damage. It’s imperative for children to wear sunglasses that offer 99 to 100 percent UV protection. “Make sure that you take care of your children’s eyes by buying quality sunglasses that filter out the harmful UV rays of the sun,” says Dr. Bruce Rosenthal, Chief of Low Vision Programs at Lighthouse International. “Consult with your eye doctor -- optometrist or ophthalmologist -- if you have any questions on what is the best protection for your child, especially if they are wearing prescription lenses.”

Technology Corner

3-D Technology Not Accessible for the Visually Impaired

With the success of the film “Avatar,” the popularity of 3-D technology is increasing in every form of media. Television stations such as ESPN and the Discovery Channel are planning to launch 3-D broadcasts of select shows this year. Is 3-D technology accessible to someone with low vision, though?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), people with low vision or a visual impairment may not be able to watch 3-D. “People who have even a small vision misalignment or those who don’t have equal vision in both eyes may not be able to see 3-D images properly,” said Dr. Leonard Press, chair of the American Optometric Association’s Pediatrics and Binocular Vision Committee, in a statement.

In a report by AOA, approximately three to nine million people have problems with binocular vision, which prohibits them from watching movies or television in 3-D. Binocular Vision is the ability to focus on an object with both eyes to create a single, in-depth image. According to AOA, 3-D technology causes the eye to fatigue and make adjustments in order to simultaneously focus on images that are near and far away.

Ask The Expert

Q: My mom had age-related macular degeneration. Is this inherited? Should my family be tested?

A: From Dr. Eleanor E. Faye, M.D., FACS, Lighthouse International:

As the most common cause of vision loss among people over the age of 60, macular degeneration impacts millions of older adults every year. You may be three times as likely to develop the condition if you have a close relative who has the disease. However, the disease does not necessarily progress in the same way in all family members.

Early detection of macular degeneration gives you the best options for successful treatment and stabilization of the condition in the future. You should have regular eye exams with an ophthalmologist or optometrist for early detection of the disease.

It is important that your mother, who has already been diagnosed with macular degeneration, continue regular eye exams to monitor her condition, and to check for other conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts. If you experience any sudden vision changes, contact your doctor immediately.

Important Date

Lighthouse International Congressional Briefing on Low Vision

Lighthouse International is sponsoring a Congressional Briefing for Members of Congress on low vision and vision rehabilitation on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Lighthouse, along with eight cosponsors from the low vision community, will highlight the growing need for vision rehabilitation services related to the aging population. Lighthouse will also emphasize the need for the Medicare reimbursement of these services.

For more information on Lighthouse International’s advocacy efforts, visit



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