M Milwaukees Lifestyle Magazine September 2012 : Page 76

On Health Eye Care Patrick Brown and Dennis Kohler with their children, Karissa, Isabella and Derek. » promo Apple The eyes are the window to the soul, they say, but what happens when those win-dows are faulty in some way? Parents such as Patrick Brown and Carmen Gely have lived through the uncertainty of having children with serious eye issues. Children can have misaligned eyes, so-called lazy eye and even cataracts. While some conditions are quite rare, others are not — an estimated one-third of babies have a blockage in the tear duct system. “Ninety percent of what children learn in the early years is visual,” making eye prob-lems a big concern in a child’s development, according to Dr. Karen S. Shimshak, an eye physician and surgeon who practices in Glendale and Milwaukee. Brown is the father of triplets — Karissa, Isabella and Derek — who were born so early (25 weeks) that blood vessels in each 76 M of Your Eye parents should heed the warning signs of serious eye problems by Cathy BreitenBuCher | photography by Dan Bishop baby’s retinas were abnormally developed. The children were closely monitored, and both girls eventually needed eye surgery. Most times, the condition, known as retin-opathy of prematurity, resolves itself. In other cases, it can be devastating causing a detached retina and sometimes blindness — which is what led to singer Stevie Wonder losing his eyesight as an infant. The combined birth weight of Brown’s triplets was less than 5 pounds. No surprise then that they experienced a variety of medi-cal problems. Isabella even needed open-heart surgery. It was a lot for Brown and his partner, Dennis Kohler, to absorb. “The doctors were really good at not overloading us,” says Brown. “They’d tell us about the things that might happen in the next week or two, but they didn’t tell us, ‘chances are, one or two of your kids might be blind.’” Now 9 years old, all three children wear glasses — Karissa for reading and Derek to correct his distance vision. Isabella has about 20/80 acuity in one eye and 20/200 in the other; besides wearing glasses, she uses an electronic print magnifier and special lighting to help with schoolwork. The fam-ily, which lives in Germantown, is active in sports, scouts and Irish dancing. Meanwhile, Gely’s daughter, Aviana Rodriguez, had surgery last spring for a mis-aligned eye; the medical term is strabismus, but most people would call it crossed eyes. For the eyes to see three-dimensionally, they need to have similar vision and focusing ability. Some children need only glasses or a temporary eye patch to correct the problem. “Parents are often the first people to notice a child has crossed or wandering eyes,” says Dr. Brett Rhode, ophthalmologist at Eye Care Specialists’ West Allis and downtown Milwaukee clinics and head of ophthalmolo-gy at Aurora Sinai Medical Center. “It’s best to follow your instincts if you think something isn’t right. Schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam with an eye care specialist as soon as possible.” Aviana has had surgery twice — at age 2 to relax one muscle in each eye, and again on her right eye in April just shy of her fourth birthday. Rhode, who performed the surger-ies, says her prognosis is excellent. “I’m glad I did it,” adds Gely, who lives in Cudahy. Aviana’s eyes are aligned, her vision is normal, and she’s an active kid who likes gymnastics. Amblyopia, more commonly called lazy eye, is another concern that should be addressed. When the eyes don’t see equal-ly, the weaker eye essentially shuts down to avoid double vision. Screenings at day care centers and preschools often reveal the problem. “Sometimes 3-year-olds don’t compre-hend what’s being asked of them, or are too shy to perform,” notes Dr. Mark S. Ruttum, a pediatric ophthalmologist and medical direc-tor of ophthalmology at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. “When they’re 4, they’re still at a good age for appropriate treatment, whether that be glasses or patching.” Brown advocates eye care for children not just because his own kids had problems. Professionally, he is executive director of Vision Forward Association, a Milwaukee-based agency providing specialized services and programs to people of all ages and at all stages of vision loss. “Parents need as much support as their children in order to be good parents and to deal with the emotional grief they might have,” he says. | September 2012

Apple Of Your Eye

Cathy Breitenbucher

PARENTS SHOULD HEED THE WARNING SIGNS OF SERIOUS EYE PROBLEMS<br /> <br /> The eyes are the window to the soul, they say, but what happens when those windows are faulty in some way?<br /> <br /> Parents such as Patrick Brown and Carmen Gely have lived through the uncertainty of having children with serious eye issues.<br /> <br /> Children can have misaligned eyes, socalled lazy eye and even cataracts. While some conditions are quite rare, others are not — an estimated one-third of babies have a blockage in the tear duct system.<br /> <br /> “Ninety percent of what children learn in the early years is visual,” making eye problems a big concern in a child’s development, according to Dr. Karen S. Shimshak, an eye physician and surgeon who practices in Glendale and Milwaukee.<br /> <br /> Brown is the father of triplets — Karissa, Isabella and Derek — who were born so early (25 weeks) that blood vessels in each baby’s retinas were abnormally developed. The children were closely monitored, and both girls eventually needed eye surgery.<br /> <br /> Most times, the condition, known as retinopathy of prematurity, resolves itself. In other cases, it can be devastating causing a detached retina and sometimes blindness — which is what led to singer Stevie Wonder losing his eyesight as an infant.<br /> <br /> The combined birth weight of Brown’s triplets was less than 5 pounds. No surprise then that they experienced a variety of medical problems. Isabella even needed openheart surgery.<br /> <br /> It was a lot for Brown and his partner, Dennis Kohler, to absorb.<br /> <br /> “The doctors were really good at not overloading us,” says Brown. “They’d tell us about the things that might happen in the next week or two, but they didn’t tell us, ‘chances are, one or two of your kids might be blind.’” <br /> <br /> Now 9 years old, all three children wear glasses — Karissa for reading and Derek to correct his distance vision. Isabella has about 20/80 acuity in one eye and 20/200 in the other; besides wearing glasses, she uses an electronic print magnifier and special lighting to help with schoolwork. The family, which lives in Germantown, is active in sports, scouts and Irish dancing.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Gely’s daughter, Aviana Rodriguez, had surgery last spring for a misaligned eye; the medical term is strabismus, but most people would call it crossed eyes. For the eyes to see three-dimensionally, they need to have similar vision and focusing ability. Some children need only glasses or a temporary eye patch to correct the problem.<br /> <br /> “Parents are often the first people to notice a child has crossed or wandering eyes,” says Dr. Brett Rhode, ophthalmologist at Eye Care Specialists’ West Allis and downtown Milwaukee clinics and head of ophthalmology at Aurora Sinai Medical Center. “It’s best to follow your instincts if you think something isn’t right. Schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam with an eye care specialist as soon as possible.” <br /> <br /> Aviana has had surgery twice — at age 2 to relax one muscle in each eye, and again on her right eye in April just shy of her fourth birthday. Rhode, who performed the surgeries, says her prognosis is excellent.<br /> <br /> “I’m glad I did it,” adds Gely, who lives in Cudahy. Aviana’s eyes are aligned, her vision is normal, and she’s an active kid who likes gymnastics.<br /> <br /> Amblyopia, more commonly called lazy eye, is another concern that should be addressed. When the eyes don’t see equally, the weaker eye essentially shuts down to avoid double vision. Screenings at day care centers and preschools often reveal the problem.<br /> <br /> “Sometimes 3-year-olds don’t comprehend what’s being asked of them, or are too shy to perform,” notes Dr. Mark S. Ruttum, a pediatric ophthalmologist and medical director of ophthalmology at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. “When they’re 4, they’re still at a good age for appropriate treatment, whether that be glasses or patching.”<br /> <br /> Brown advocates eye care for children not just because his own kids had problems. Professionally, he is executive director of Vision Forward Association, a Milwaukeebased agency providing specialized services and programs to people of all ages and at all stages of vision loss.<br /> <br /> “Parents need as much support as their children in order to be good parents and to deal with the emotional grief they might have,” he says. <br /> <br /> Eye Makeup 911<br /> by Amy Siewert<br /> <br /> It’s a morning ritual for many women: standing in front of the mirror applying your eye makeup. But when is the last time you replenished your supplies? You may think your eye makeup is your friend, but it can turn into your foe without proper care. Dr. Daniel Ferguson, a corneal specialist and partner at Eye Care Specialists, and Jhousy Leon, owner of Blush Beauty, shared their expertise on when eye makeup can be harmful and what you should look for the next time you are at the makeup counter.<br /> <br /> M: What types of precautions should women take when it comes to using eye makeup?<br /> <br /> DF: “Eye makeup-related dangers can often be avoided by following simple common sense precautions. One analogy I like to use is that you most likely wouldn’t want to shake someone’s hand after watching them sneeze into it, so why would you want to take their mascara wand and wipe the same bacteria around your eye?<br /> <br /> M: Are there certain types of ingredients in eye makeup that people should avoid?<br /> <br /> JL: “Most eye makeup products contain ingredients like dimethicone and propylene glycol, which may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions on a person-to-person basis. Every individual is different.” <br /> <br /> M: What types of eye problems can arise as the result of using eye makeup, and what are the warning signs?<br /> <br /> DF: “The most common problems arising from eye makeup include allergic reactions, viral or bacterial conjunctivitis and corneal abrasions. These problems can all have similar symptoms, such as pink or redness of the whites of the eyes and an increase in tear production (in the body’s attempt to soothe the eyes). Allergic reactions will also often include irritation and itchiness. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis (commonly called “pink eye”) is a swelling or infection of the membrane lining the eyelids. Conjunctivitis may have a yellow or green discharge and can cause the eyelids to stick together or ooze. Infections and abrasions of the cornea are a serious concern, often marked by pain and sensitivity to light. If you develop any of these symptoms, contact your eye care specialist to determine a specific course of treatment.” <br /> <br /> M: What type of eye makeup should people purchase?<br /> <br /> JL: “As it goes for anything you put into your body, the more natural and the more protective factors included, the better. Most of our brands, if not all of them, are hypoallergenic or organic. I would look for eye makeup that is mineral based or powder based, otherwise specifically hypoallergenic.”<br /> <br /> M: How often should people get rid of their eye makeup and purchase new makeup?<br /> <br /> JL: “Experts suggest makeup should be disposed of every six months to one year. However, I strongly disagree. I believe makeup should change every three to four months. A warm, moist climate breeds bacteria; therefore, our air is contributing a lot of it regardless of where your makeup might be stored. This is especially important for mascara, as studies show each time the wand reaches the air, it is exposed to an abundance of material that is then stored in the container — which is why mascara is the first to spoil. It is also vital the tools used to apply your makeup are thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis. However, if you were to have any type of eye infection, all your eye makeup needs to be thrown away and all new makeup purchased before applying post-infection.”<br /> <br /> Happy Eyes<br /> <br /> Dr. Daniel Ferguson of Eye Care Specialists offers the following safe storage, use and replacement tips for eye makeup:<br /> <br /> • Always wash your hands prior to applying makeup.<br /> <br /> • If you do try makeup at a store or salon, insist the person applying it uses newly opened products or disposable applicators. Consider using disposable applicators at home, as well.<br /> <br /> • Never drive and put on makeup. Not only does this make driving a danger, hitting a bump in the road and scratching your eyeball can cause serious eye injury.<br /> <br /> • Don’t sleep in your makeup. You are creating an environment that invites infection.<br /> <br /> • Keep makeup containers closed tight when not in use.<br /> <br /> • Keep makeup out of the sun and heat (especially hot cars). Bright hot conditions can degrade the preservatives used to fight bacteria.<br /> <br /> • If you do carry makeup in a purse, consider placing it in Ziplock storage bags that offer a clean environment that can be frequently replaced.<br /> <br /> • Never add liquid to a product (to extend its use or change its consistency), unless the label tells you to do so. This can introduce germs that can grow out of control.<br /> <br /> • Throw away any makeup if the color changes or it starts to smell. This might be due to degradation of preservatives, making it unable to fight bacteria.<br /> <br /> • Stop using any product that causes an allergic reaction or eye infection, such as “pink eye.” Throw away any makeup you were using when you first found the problem.<br /> <br /> • If you are having eye surgery, follow your doctor’s instructions for not wearing eye makeup before and/or after your operation. Discard partially used makeup to avoid bacterial contamination.<br /> <br /> • Prior to use, clean pencil eyeliners and sharpeners by removing any residue and then wiping them down or placing them in a small paper cup filled with rubbing alcohol. Allow the pencil to dry before using on skin. When sharpening the pencil, make sure you have smooth edges so wood pieces do not scratch your skin or eye.<br /> <br /> • Avoid placing eye liner inside the lash line. It is best to apply along the outer edge of your lashes, away from the mucous membrane.<br /> <br /> • Never share eye makeup with anyone. Another person’s bacteria can be hazardous to you.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here