Video Games and Your Vision: The Good, the Bad and the Call of Duty
It’s the number two item on every child’s wish list this year (after all of the Frozen merchandise): video games. As parents, it is important for us to make sure to provide healthy opportunities for our children. It can be tempting to ban video games from our children’s toy repertoire. After all, we were told that too much TV is not good for our eyes, right? The same has to be true for video games.
Recent studies have been showing more and more that playing video games, in moderation, is actually good for you. There are educational, physical and psychological benefits to playing video games, and there are also reports that playing video games is good for a variety of visual conditions.
Playing first-person shooter games has been shown to improve your contrast sensitivity, the ability to determine subtle changes in shades of color. Adults with amblyopia (lazy eye) have also been noted as receiving benefits from playing video games. Even patients with cataracts have reports of 30% visual improvement after playing games similar to Halo and Medal of Honor.
Because your eye is rapidly moving across the screen, you condition and train your eyes to notice subtle changes as you are required to pay attention to a series of fast-moving events. You virtually train your eyes to move quickly and focus on fleeting details in order to complete onscreen objectives.
While the research is most compelling for particularly first-shooter style games, those games are not always child-appropriate due to the violent nature and themes of the games. However, there has been some evidence that playing any type of video game is a good thing for your eyes. The key is playing in moderation.
With any type of lighted screen, it’s important to guard against computer eye syndrome. Consider the 20/20/20 rule. After every 20 minutes that you are staring at a screen, look away for 20 seconds at an object 20 feet away. This will help reduce computer eye syndrome which can be a big cause of migraines and eye fatigue.
Also make sure to limit video game playing to daylight hours. Too much exposure to blue light (the light emitted by computer and television screens) at night can be disruptive to our natural sleep rhythms. Exposure to blue light limits the body’s natural release of melatonin which is the hormone that regulates sleep.
The amount of time you play is also something to consider. About an hour a day is good; too much more and you actually can lose the benefits of playing.
As you’re reviewing your child’s wish list this holiday season and see some video games up near the top of the list, consider granting their wish and maybe even sit down on the couch with them. You both might get the benefit of improved vision and some great quality time together while you’re at it.
Meet the Frame Expert: Stephanie
EyeCare Specialties is proud to welcome Stephanie to our team of Frame Experts, helping patients find the perfect pair of eyewear to suit their lifestyle and improve their vision.
Stephanie knows kids. She has five of her own and has quite a bit of experience working with very young children through the LPS Early Childhood program. She is excited to use that expertise helping families chose the right frames and lenses for their little ones.
“I love helping patients find their perfect eyewear fashion and knowing that I can make a difference in people’s vision.”
Stephanie is very happy to have found a place at ECS. She is proud to be part of such a well-respected organization and appreciates the relationship between the doctors and the rest of the team.
Stephanie loves to get creative in the kitchen and is always baking new recipes. Of course, we encourage that kind of behavior at ECS, especially when bringing in the results of the experiments to share.
Meet the Vision Therapist: Michelle
Michelle is true motivator. Her more than twelve years of experience as a vision therapist speaks volumes to her dedication to the EyeCare Specialties’ Vision Therapy Program in Lincoln, NE. Michelle’s vibrant personality keeps patients interested in learning and motivated to overcome their vision disorders.
Michelle is originally from Fremont, Nebraska. She received her Bachelors Degree in Human Services from Midland Lutheran College in Fremont. She has experience working alongside elementary school counselors and preschool instructors.
“I am proud to work at the Center for Vision Development because I have been able to witness how many lives we change. We change the future for a lot of these young patients and make the future brighter for our older patients. No one wants to struggle or see someone struggle, and I am proud to be part of the solution!”
When Michelle isn’t working with patients in the clinic, you might be able to catch her turning up the tunes and getting down. She loves to dance and at one point in time wanted to be a Fly Girl on the early 90s TV show, “In Living Color”.
Meet the Business & Finance Team: Katie
Katie Remington has been working the the eye care industry for over 11 years. She is an Insurance Specialist with EyeCare Specialties and helps patients navigate the insurance process. She makes sure that patients are able to have their claims paid, she files appeals on their behalf and truly acts as an advocate on behalf of our patients. She loves knowing how much she can help patients throughout the sometimes frustrating insurance process.
Of course when she’s not talking about insurance, Katie is most likely talking baseball. She is a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan and is passing down her love for the Cards. Her 6-year old son got to see them play for the very first time on a memory-making family trip this summer.
Nancy Meyerle Celebrates 24 Years at ECS
Twenty-four years ago, she was a stay-at-home mom looking for a little something more. Little did Nancy Meyerle know that what would start as 2 1/2 days working in Dr. Kirchner’s office would turn into leading the entire communications team for the largest independent optometry practice in Nebraska.
When she first joined the team of 12 employees at Dr. Kirchner’s office, Nancy was responsible for checking patients in, scheduling all appointments and recalling patients over the phone. All scheduling was done out of a big book, which was always challenging when someone couldn’t remember when their next appointment was scheduled.
The practice continued to grow, merging with Dr. Devine’s office and moving to a new location in 1996. Nancy increased her hours, enjoying the thrill of being able to help patients achieve the best eye care possible.
Through the years, technology transitioned from the Big Book of Appointments through five different computer systems, including many conversions and updates. Nancy stayed on top of it all and watched the business grow from two doctors to the current team of 11, with four locations and over 100 employees.
Nancy knows the importance of managing schedules and the ability to juggle everything that needs to get done. When schedules change and appointment times open up, she loves being able to call patients and let them know they can be seen earlier. She knows what a difference that convenience can make in a patient’s life and she is grateful she is able to help in any way.
Nancy is proud of her 24 years at EyeCare Specialties, “I love working for a company that truly cares about its employees and patients, and is well respected throughout the optical industry.”
Congratulations on your milestone, Nancy! Thank you for your dedication and commitment. We appreciate your hard work and look forward to a long future helping the Lincoln community achieve their best possible vision.
Halloween Safety and your Vision
Ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night: all of the things that make Halloween fun for children and adults alike. Of course while thinking about the safety of your teeth from all the Halloween treats, it’s important to also think about the safety of your eyes, whether trick-or-treating or going to Halloween celebrations with friends and family.
1. Make sure that any masks or costume pieces won’t obstruct your vision. Seeing clearly is important, and when it’s dark outside, additional obstructions to your vision can make walking around a dangerous activity.
2. Makeup is a great alternative to wearing a mask for Halloween. Just make sure that the makeup you are using is hypoallergenic and avoid applying your makeup too close to the eye area. Also, remember to take your makeup off at the end of the evening with a good eye makeup remover to avoid irritation and infection.
3. Leave the sharp accessories at home while trick-or-treating. While the pirate sword certainly helps complete the costume, it would take only a slight trip over a twig or other yard hazard to create a potentially serious eye injury. It’s difficult to walk in the dark, and you can’t always count on your neighbors to have walkways without obstructions. Leaving the pointy accessories at home is the best way to avoid injury by magic wand or wizard’s staff.
4. If you choose to wear cosmetic contact lenses, make sure they are safe for your eyes. Typically if you buy contact lenses from any where other than your optometrists office, they are not approved to wear safely. These over-the-counter contacts can be full of bacteria and can cause serious physical damage and infections to your eyes as well. A safe bet is to inquire about cosmetic lenses at your optometrists office.
Follow these tips and protect your eyes from injury. For additional questions about eye safety, call our office at 402.420.2020 to speak to one of our experts.
Meet the Contact Lens Expert: Courtney
Courtney came to EyeCare Specialties after working in the retail industry. She loves helping people particularly kids. She really enjoys teaching them how to put in and take out their lenses and how to properly care for their new contacts.
She says about her work with first-time contact lens wearers, “I love the moment when it all makes sense to them and they can truly see how life can be with contact lenses.”
When she’s not helping people realize their best possible vision, Courtney can be seen on the dance floor. She is an avid country swing dancer and loves to boot scoot the night away when ever she gets the chance.
Fall Yard Work and Eye Safety
October is National Eye Injury Prevention Month with good reason: 40% of home eye injuries occur while people are working in the yard. During this season of mulching, mowing, raking and blowing, any small piece of debris flying at a high rate of speed can cause devastating effects to your vision.
1. The first step to prevent 90% of eye injuries this time of year is to wear protective eyewear. Currently only 35% of people wear protective eyewear while doing home repairs or maintenance and it is an easy way to protect your vision.
Look for safety glasses with side protection or safety goggles. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommends eyewear stamped with z87-2 on the frame and z87-1 on the lenses. These glasses have been tested and are determined to be able to offer the best protection for home use.
I personally wear the Wiley X Safety RX sunglasses we offer here at EyeCare Specialties. They saved my vision last year when a glass patio table shattered and left shards of glass in my hair, eyebrows and on my face. Of course, if you need prescription goggles or lenses, the team at EyeCare Specialties would be happy to assist you.
2. Make sure to clear your yard of all debris and sticks before mowing, raking or mulching.
3. Turn off all power tools when people approach the work area, especially young children. If children will be playing in the yard while you’re working or if they will be helping you, make sure that they are also wearing adequate protection.
4. Don’t forget to continue to protect your eyes while handling fertilizer, pesticides and other yard chemicals.
If an eye injury does occur during our regular hours, please contact us at EyeCare Specialties for immediate evaluation. If our offices are closed, you should seek immediate attention in the Emergency Room.
Enjoy all that fall has to offers, but as always, remember to protect your eyes.
Help Us Wipe Out Cancer
EyeCare Specialties (ECS) is proud to host a special fundraiser in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Help us wipe out cancer by purchasing a bottle of special pink lens cleaner at any EyeCare Specialties location for just $4. Half of the proceeds from each bottle will benefit Making Strides Against Breast Cancer from the American Cancer Society.
Our team members have been supporting Making Strides for over 5 years to help find a cure for breast cancer.
At ECS we are moved to do what we can for Making Strides because we all know someone in our lives that has been affected by breast cancer, including several employees who have been directly affected.
As a company, we are definitely driven to be involved in our community and involved in the things that matter most to our patients and our employees. Because ECS employees enjoy being heavily involved in many community events throughout the year, it’s just natural that we should support the two most important things to us: our patients and our team.
It is important for us to let them know how much we care.
Meet the Contact Lens Expert: Jillian
Jillian works at our Superior Street location and joined the ECS team after years of working with patients through the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. She loves helping people and particularly likes her work with specialty contact patients. It’s one of her favorite things about working at EyeCare Specialties.
“My husband has specific contact lens needs, and it makes me proud knowing that EyeCare Specialties is able to help him. There are so many patients out there that would be out of options if it weren’t for the specialty contacts that we offer.”
Little known fact about Jillian: She was the 2012 Lincoln City Dart Champion. While she doesn’t have the time to give lessons, she will help ensure that you have the best eyesight possible while you’re shooting for the bullseye.