Posted in cell phones, Health, news, smart devices

SmartPhones Again Linked to Temporary Blindness or “Eye Strokes”

Two new cases of “smartphone blindness” has been described in the last month.   One case was a gentleman in China who was playing games on his phone at night and suffered a retinal artery occlusion or “eye stroke”.
Another case was a woman in China, who was also playing on her phone at night but she sustained a bleed in her left eye.  
Just as those who suffer from cerebral strokes, a “lack of blood flow” to the retina, or layer of the eye that helps create visual images, can be caused by a clot or hemorrhage.  Apparently these can be induced with excessive focusing and eye strain.
This may result in temporary or permanent blindness.
Updated from June 23, 2016
Some people are being evaluated for stroke or transient ischemic attacks when they come to the ER complaining of recurrent “temporary blindness” after checking their smartphone in the dark.  This phenomenon, known as ‘smartphone blindness’, has been experienced by many of us when we have the sensation of dimmed vision or poor visual acuity, feeling punished for peeking at our email when we should be sleeping.

 

In 2016, doctors reviewed the cases of two women who experienced episodes of “temporary blindness”; as the ladies put their cell phone down, one eye could not see the cell phone for 15 minutes.  Their vision restored after this length of time.Doctors investigated the cases thoroughly with a variety of medical tests including MRI’s and couldn’t find the cause.

Finally they conclude these transient episodes of “vision loss” were harmless, in that one eye was being used to look at the phone and the other eye needed time to “catch up”.  When the women, as many of us do, check our phones, one eye is snugly closed and resting on a pillow while the other is available to look at the phone.  When the ladies would turn over, the closed eye didn’t have a chance to catch up to the increased brightness of the phone screen, hence having a dimmed view.

If one uses both eyes to look at the screen, this phenomenon does not happen.

Smartphone Blindness Studies Are Cause For Concern

Studies surfaced a few years ago where great lengths of smartphone use can cause retinal detachment.  In these cases the layer of the retina which focuses images, detaches from the back of the eye, causing serious vision loss.  Though there are treatments, if not treated early can cause permanent blindness in the affected eye since the retina loses its blood and oxygen supply when detached.  A woman from China had been using her smartphone for 2-3 hours in the dark each night when this occurred.

Smartphones have also been linked to myopia, nearsightedness and sleeping disorders as the blue light emitted from the screen can disrupt melatonin production.

A recent study found that 30% of adults spend more than 9 hours a day using their smartphone. Physicians recommend avoiding extended use, adjust settings to black text on white background, and with this recent case study, use both eyes to look at the screen when using the phone at night.

Increasing the size of the font helps your eyes since they don’t need to strain as much to read.  Try to look at your smartphone with a distance of 1 1/2 feet. Blinking often helps rest the eyes as well and keeps them lubricated and moist.

Additionally, avoid using the phone in the dark, but in a lit room.

 

Finally its good to use the 20,20,20 rule.  After every 20 minutes of use, look away at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.  This may help avoid eyestrain from excessive smartphone use.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, news

Stop Using Your Cell Phone While On The Toilet

Experts are warning that using your smartphone while sitting on the crapper could put one at risk for a variety of ailments.

Pathogens and Superbugs

Firstly, the obvious, pathogens.  When you take a phone into the bathroom, and swap hands to use toilet paper, something is going to get contaminated.  Then, the average phone can’t withstand a sink washing, so the phone carries toilet germs out of the bathroom and to your work desk, kitchen table, or car dash.  Bacteria such as E. coli, C. difficile, and Staph. aureus are just a few of the deadly bugs one can pick up and harbor on their cell phone.

Smartphone Blindness

Using a bright cell phone while in a dimly lit bathroom can induce what experts call “smartphone blindness.”   And experts claim the vision loss could, in minute levels, be permanent as the blue light from the phone reacts with retinal, an active form of Vitamin A, that can damage the nearby photoreceptor cells that need to be stimulated when creating sight.  Once damaged they may not ever recover.

Cellphone Use Could Cause Permanent Vision Loss

 

Rectal prolapse

Last February it was reported a man was sitting on his toilet for 30 minutes when he prolapsed his rectum.  The patient had issues with constipation and previously suffered a partial prolapse that was not treated.  But sitting for extended periods of time and pushing while constipated caused the perfect storm.

Man’s Rectum Falls Out While Playing Video Games on the Toilet

 

Hemorrhoids

Sitting for extended periods while pushing stool can cause valves in perianal veins to collapse, causing vein collapse. This produces painful, itchy, hemorrhoids.

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Sciatica

Low back pain and leg numbness may ensue from sitting for an extended period of time because lumbar spine nerves get irritated.

The moral, don’t spend anymore time on the potty than you need to. Video games are distracting and tempt you to complete “the next level.”  You can do so, but after you pull up your pants and get off the porcelain throne.

 

dw sketch.jpg

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health, news

Global Blindness Expected to Triple by 2050

Image above from Telegraph.UK

A study published this week in Lancet Global Health reveals, without increasing access to treatment, the number of cases of blindness will rise from 36 million cases reported in 2015 to 115 million by 2050.

The cause is the growing aging population, even though the actual percentage of the population with visual impairment is declining.

Factors leading to blindness may include diabetes, stroke, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma, and trauma.

In addition to these startling numbers of vision loss, moderate to severe visual impairment cases are set to surpass 550 million by 2050.

Study author, Rupert Bourne of Anglia Ruskin University, reviewed population based data from over 188 countries and found currently 200 million people suffer from moderate to severe visual impairment.

Bourne states, “Interventions provide some of the largest returns on investment. They are some of the most easily implemented interventions in developing regions.”

He continues, “They are cheap, require little infrastructure and countries recover their costs as people enter back into the workforce.”

Even minimal visual impairment can prevent those affected from obtaining a driver’s license or performing many activities, resulting in economic hardship.

 

The study authors hope this news could help shape future public health policies as well as encourage more investment into cataract surgeries and access to eyewear.

One is deemed “legally blind” when their central visual acuity falls under 20/200 (in the better eye under the best corrected circumstances) or their visual field is 20 degrees or less.

Childhood Vision Impairment

According to Prevent Blindness Northern California, 3% of children under 18 in the US are blind or visually impaired, despite maximum correction efforts.

In 2015, the American Community Survey (ACS) reported 455,000 children in the US with vision impairment.  Of these, 62,000 are legally blind, according to the 2015 Annual Report from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH).

Sadly, not all states have schools for the blind.

Leslie Jones, marketing and special events director of Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF), tells us, “Nevada is one of a handful of states without a school for the blind, and what resources are available through the Clark County School District are severely limited (there are just 11 Teachers for the Visually Impaired {TVIs} for more than 500 visually-impaired students needing resources from the Vision Services department).”

Foundations such as the NBCF try to fill the gap with services these children need.

Jones states, “Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF) works alongside CCSD to provide additional after-school educational and adapted recreational programs and services to ensure that these underserved children are given what they need to succeed in the classroom and in life.”

A child’s development and windows for learning necessitate early intervention.  Programs slow to enroll or lacking funding burdens blind children more as they fall behind in learning and development.  Building schools for the blind, such as in Nevada, will help thousands of children lessen their disability.

nv blind children

To help the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation, please visit: here.

Nevada-Blind-Childrens-Foundation.png

 

 

Dr. Daliah Wachs with Children from NBCF – Lady Bug Ball 2017

 

       

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

What is ‘Smartphone Blindness’?

By Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP

Updated from June 23, 2016

Some people are being evaluated for stroke or transient ischemic attacks when they come to the ER complaining of recurrent “temporary blindness” after checking their smartphone in the dark.  This phenomenon, known as ‘smartphone blindness’, has been experienced by many of us when we have the sensation of dimmed vision or poor visual acuity, feeling punished for peeking at our email when we should be sleeping.

In this study doctors reviewed the cases of two women who experienced episodes of “temporary blindness”; as the ladies put their cell phone down, one eye could not see the cell phone for 15 minutes.  Their vision restored after this length of time.

Doctors investigated the cases thoroughly with a variety of medical tests including MRI’s and couldn’t find the cause.

Finally they conclude these transient episodes of “vision loss” were harmless, in that one eye was being used to look at the phone and the other eye needed time to “catch up”.  When the women, as many of us do, check our phones, one eye is snuggly closed and resting on a pillow while the other is available to look at the phone.  When the ladies would turn over, the closed eye didn’t have a chance to catch up to the increased brightness of the phone screen, hence having a dimmed view.

If one uses both eyes to look at the screen, this phenomenon does not happen.

Smartphone Blindness Studies Are Cause For Concern

Studies surfaced a few years ago where great lengths of smartphone use can cause retinal detachment.  In these cases the layer of the retina which focuses images, detaches from the back of the eye, causing serious vision loss.  Though there are treatments, if not treated early can cause permanent blindness in the affected eye since the retina loses its blood and oxygen supply when detached.  A woman from China had been using her smartphone for 2-3 hours in the dark each night when this occurred.

Smartphones have also been linked to myopia, near sightedness and sleeping disorders as the blue light emitted from the screen can disrupt melatonin production.

A recent study found that 30% of adults spend more than 9 hours a day using their smartphone. Physicians recommend avoiding extended use, adjust settings to black text on white background, and with this recent case study, use both eyes to look at the screen when using the phone at night.

Increasing the size of the font helps your eyes since they don’t need to strain as much to read.  Try to look at your smartphone with a distance of 1 1/2 feet. Blinking often helps rest the eyes as well and keeps them lubricated and moist.

 

Finally its good to use the 20,20,20 rule.  After every 20 minutes of use, look away at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.  This may help avoid eyestrain from excessive smartphone use.

For more on this story, read here:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/23/smartphone-users-temporarily-blinded-looking-screen-in-bed