I thought I’d devote a post to those common myths you always hear about the eyes.  I get questions about one of these at least once a week.  It’s hard to do something contrary to the old wives tales you grew up hearing, and sometimes I even have to stop myself from believing something which I know is not true!  My oldest son loves the show Mythbusters and I have to admit, it’s pretty cool, hence the Mythbuster approach to eye myths (without any of the experimentation!).

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So, let’s get started.  Common Eye Myths – which ones are true and which ones are not!

1.  It’s bad to read in the dark.

This is how my son loves to read at night.  All the lights in the room are off and he uses this little bedside Ikea light.

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It actually is not dangerous to read in the dark.  It doesn’t make you need glasses sooner.  It doesn’t tire the eyes out.  There was one study which showed that reading in the dark for adults did affect their comprehension and reading times.  So, it stands to reason, for young readers, it’s best to use high contrast reading material to make it easier for them to read faster and understand what they’re reading.  But, again, not unsafe for they eyes.

MYTH BUSTED

2.  Babies will outgrow cross eyes.

Very rarely, babies can have wandering or crossed eyes when they are born.  Just like they are learning how to use their arms and legs, they have to develop their eye muscles and vision.  However, by the time babies are 4-6 months old, they should be able to use their eyes to focus on faces and toys up close with straight eyes.  It’s actually common for babies younger than 6 months old to have eyes that wander out.  The problem that often happens, is that many babies have real crossed eyes, which do not improve with time, as in my patient below who needed surgery.

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Sometimes, the parents, and even the pediatricians, falsely reassure the parents that this kind of eye crossing will improve.  So, they wait to come to see a pediatric ophthalmologist. This kind of eye crossing, esotropia or strabismus, does not improve with time.  And, actually when babies have esotropia, it is best to operate sooner rather than later.  The sooner your perform surgery, the better the child’s change to maintain or restore their depth perception. Strabismus surgery in infants is not a cosmetic procedure.  There is a lot of misinformation about strabismus surgery.  I remember I was operating on the little baby above (she was 7 months old) and even the Harvard employed anesthesiologist at Boston Children’s was questioning the mom as to why she was having surgery at such a young age!  Thankfully, the mom was extremely well educated on the topic and could set the anesthesiologist straight.

MYTH CONFIRMED (with a caveat)

3.   Sitting too close to the TV is bad for the eyes

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Maybe about once a week, I get a parent in my office who hopefully asks “It’s bad to sit close to the TV, right?” looking meaningfully at Little John in the exam chair.  Except, that it really isn’t.  So, I truthfully answer that sitting close to the TV is not harmful to the eyes or the vision.  No studies have found that it makes kids need glasses faster.  But, your child might be sitting close to the TV because they cannot see it.  It might, in fact, be a sign of nearsightedness in a child.  Your children’s eyes have the ability to focus much better than an adult, so for them, sitting (or standing) close to the TV is comfortable.  I do always add that the American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend restricting screen time (TV, iPad, iPhone, etc) to a maximum of 2 hours a day and only for children older than 2 years of age.

MYTH: BUSTED

4.  A cataract needs to be “ripe” before it can be operated upon.

Using words like “ripe” is an old school way of describing the severity of the cataracts.  Older ophthalmologists wouldn’t operate on a cataract until the cataract was large enough.  But, bear in mind, this was back when you had to be admitted to the hospital for cataract surgery and use sand bags to immobilize your head post-operatively.  Cataract surgery was a big deal.  Nowadays, no one uses that terminology, because with lasers an new intraocular lenses, cataract surgery doesn’t carry the same risks as it did 30 or 40 years ago.  So, really, it comes down to if your cataracts are interfering with your ability to do things you love – drive at night, reading, painting, etc.  If so, then it might be time for you to talk to your ophthalmologist about cataract surgery.   There’s no hard and fast line about when your cataracts are ready to be removed.  It’s all about how they affect your activities of daily living.

MYTH: BUSTED

5.  Wearing glasses will make your eyes dependent on them.

This is the one I am currently struggling with.  As I approach 40, I find it hard to read my iPhone in low lighting conditions.  I have a pair of very low prescription reading glasses (+0.50 sphere).  But, even though they make my quickbooks accounting much easier, I am hesitant to wear them.  Why you may ask?  I love the look of them – in fact, growing up not needing glasses ever, I always wanted glasses.  I adore my Fendis.  But, it’s for the simple fact that even if it’s way deep down, I still succumb to the notion that if I start to wear the reading glasses more regularly, my vision will deteriorate.  That is just not true.  My need for reading glasses will increase every year whether or not I wear glasses now.  Same is true for kids. A lot of parents worry about this dependency as well.  Children’s need for glasses has nothing to do with whether or not they were their glasses.  Genetics, anatomy of the eye are what’s important.

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I don’t like taking selfies

 

MYTH: BUSTED

6.  Crossing your eyes make them stay that way.

An oldie, but a goodie.

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Nope – crossing your eyes will not make them stay that way.  So, kids, cross away to your heart’s content.  Esotropia, or eye crossing, has many different causes.  People can be born with it (congenital esotropia), it can be secondary to being really farsighted (accommodative esotropia), from a blind eye (sensory esotropia), or even from a nerve palsy.  But, not because you do it over and over again.

MYTH: BUSTED

7.  Carrots help prevent you from needing glasses.

I love carrots.  I ate a ton of them growing up.  It was my after school snack with French salad dressing.  And, I don’t wear glasses (well I didn’t for the first 39 years of my life).  But, though carrots are rich in Vitamin A, that doesn’t help you from being nearsighted, farsighted or having astigmatism.

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It is always a good idea to eat a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants for the overall health of your eyes.  Click here for my blog post about anti-oxidants and your eyes (with recipes)

MYTH: BUSTED

 

Hope you enjoyed our fun mythbusters post!

 

 

 

a Pediatric Ophthalmologist/Working Mom/Administrator.

As a working Mom, I wear many hats, just as many of my colleagues do.  So, for today’s post, I decided to chart down what I did for a full day from the time I woke up to coming home.  People always ask me how I can manage working with 3 kids and it’s a juggling act.  We’re also super blessed with terrific babysitters who we can really depend upon when we have late days.

5:45 am: Arya is awake.  She likes to reach over from her crib and turn the light on and then calls to us “Mommeeee, Daddeeee”.  Her brother, Taj, who is a very light sleeper, will wake up then and run into her room “I’m coming Arya!”.  It’s very sweet.

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Then, get ready, make my bed (I read somewhere it’s part of starting the day right).  Man, I need some coffee.  I look longingly at my Nespresso.

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Since it’s a surgery day, I don’t drink caffeine, just to make sure I don’t have any jitters when operating.  But, I miss the routine of my coffee.  Gotta remember to buy some decaf pods.  Help get the kids ready for school, etc.  Show the nanny where the stuff for dinner is, so she can prepare it (tacos for kids tonight)

6:45 am: Leave the house.  

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Jeff usually drives and I take care of admin emails.  It gives me time to eat my yogurt.  It’s nice having a chauffeur !

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My chauffeur, Jeff, does not like being photographed.

 

7:05 am: Drop Jeff off at the office and I drive over to the Eye Surgery Center.

7:15 am:  Arrive at Eye Surgery Center, greeted by friendly smiling nurses.  I love this place.

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One of the pre-op nurses at the Surgical Center.

 

7:20 am: Say hello to my patient, mark above his eye with a large S (don’t want to operate on the wrong eye! – don’t worry, I always print a large photo of the patient and place it on the wall in the operating room to remind which muscles I am operating upon), and sign the necessary paperwork.

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Change into my scrubs  and head into the operating room.

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My scrub nurse, Jackie, enjoys 80’s Pop music in the OR just like I do!

 

8:45 am : Surgery is finished.  My second surgery canceled at the last minute, so there was no time to move up another patient.  So, now it’s coffee time! Yes!  I always go to Padovani’s.  It’s a cute little shop 2 doors down from the surgical center in Dole.  They have wonderful hand made gourmet chocolates, delicious cappuccinos and fresh muffins (my favorites are the pineapple and and mango)

Phillipe Padovani, owner and chef.

Phillipe Padovani, owner and chef.

Now, I usually wait about 45 minutes to an hour for the patient to be awake enough to perform suture adjustment on him.  So, I grab my usual bench and get to finalizing some charts on our electronic medical record system, EMA.  Paper charts are still way faster than electronic charting, but at least I don’t have to carry 25 charts with me in my bag.  It’s all on the iPad.  I am WAY behind, as usual

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9:45am-10: Perform suture adjustment.  I’ll do a separate post on this next month, but this is basically when I can fine tune the eye muscle surgery to make sure the eye is aligned exactly where I want it to be post-operatively.  My surgical coordinator in the office, Ronnie, is my scrub assistant in the OR when I operate at Eye Surgery Center and she is fantastic.  A real joy to work alongside.  And, the patients adore her as well.  She assists me with the suture adjustment as well.  I am lucky to have her as part of our team!

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Ronnie, surgical coordinator, scrub assistant and all around awesome girl!

I change and drive Ronnie and I back to the office.

10:30-12 pm.  All the fun, sexy stuff that goes into being a physician and administrator (that’s sarcasm, in case you can’t read into that).  Finish my charting, sign all the paperwork for the company 401K, talk to our financial adviser at Morgan Stanley about the conversion from Nationwide to Mass Mutual, decide upon profit sharing contributions.  Fun, fun, fun!

12-12:45 pm: Reconcile bank statement for July.  Try to locate a missing payroll report from that time period. Did I mention how much fun this stuff is?  Oops – forgot to bring leftovers from dinner to eat.  Thank goodness, one of my staff, Brandi, was kind enough to grab food for me so I can eat while at my desk.  I have the best staff.  But, quickbooks is still not working and syncing with my bank, even after spending 1 hour 38 minutes with them on the phone on my day off.  I’m not in a good mood.

Yes, this is my desk - 2 monitors, an iPad and tons of bank statements.  With a spicy poke!

Yes, this is my desk – 2 monitors, an iPad and tons of bank statements. With a spicy poke!

I’m a very neat person, but my desk at the office is always cluttered.  I think I’m just mid-project all the time.  I remember when they were filming the Hawaii National Bank commercial and they wanted to shoot an action shot of me working at my desk.  I started cleaning my desk and they said “No, no, keep it.  It’s more authentic”.  OK, so now, it’s out there, I have a messy desk.

12:45: First patient is ready for me to see. Steady stream of patients until 3:45.

3:45 pm: My gorgeous girlfriend, Amelia, arrives for our cosmetic event we are having that, yikes, starts in 15 minutes!  We’re having a high tea party with stations for colored contact lenses, Botox, and hair/make-up by Amelia.  And, I have to help get everything set up pronto, though my office manager, Sara, has already done a ton.  I kind of fell into doing Botox about 7 years ago.  I was meeting with Thomas, the rep for Botox to ask about purchasing Botox for medical purposes (strabismus surgery) and he asked if I considered doing cosmetic Botox.  My training in cosmetic Botox was injecting my attendings with the leftover  Botox that we had used for medical reasons (since it has to be thrown away anyway).  And, I do enjoy it – I don’t ever want to be a primary cosmetic surgeon, but it does help people feel happier with how they look.  Most of my patients, are moms of the kids I examine for their eyes!

4-6 pm: Cosmetic event.  It’s a great turnout and all of the guests have a blast.

 

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My friend, Amelia, performing a mini-makeover. Who wouldn’t want to look like this girl?

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Our optician, Joel, doubles as a personal butler.

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Dr. Bossert explains the technology behind the new colored contact lenses

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My friend and I, with our hair styled by Amelia.

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6:10 pm:  Yowser, I was supposed to leave 10 minutes ago for my son’s 1st grade orientation, which got rescheduled at the last minute.  I stuff some sandwiches on a plate and eat while I drive.

6:30-7:10: 1st Grade Orientation.  I’m an hour late.  It started at 5:30, but at least my husband made it there on time.  The kids each drew a picture for us.  Here’s my son’s.

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“Do not feel bad if you come late ”  Uggh.  The guilt of being a working Mom!

7:30 pm: Back at home.  My oldest and youngest are asleep.  But, my middle child takes forever to fall asleep.  He comes out when we get home and asks for a massage.  He’s such a high energy boy, so I started doing nightly massages with essential oil to help calm him down.  Now, he expects it and chooses his scent.  Sorry, future daughter-in-law!

8:00 pm: All kids asleep! I settle in on the couch to do some Netflix binge watching while I do, what else?, finish charts!

 

 

 

I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since I posted last.  Now that  all of the kids are in school, I can get back to a regular posting schedule. This past weekend, we invited all of our patients to a talk entitled “Advances in Cataract Surgery” at our office.  I went to my new favorite place – fiver.com to find a graphic designer to help design the invitation.

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The hard part was convincing my husband, Dr. Jeff Wong to actually give the talk.  You may have noticed that I tend to be the one to do all the videos and talks for our practice.  I enjoy it and don’t mind being in front of an audience or a camera (guess I can credit my days as a pageant queen for that).  But, Jeff is another story.  He is actually very well spoken and gives wonderful, insightful presentations, but he is more reserved and doesn’t like being front and center.  However, I was surprised that he was actually up for giving this talk.  As he said at the beginning of the talk on Saturday “I love doing cataract surgery and I love talking to my patients about cataract surgery, so that they have all of the information they need to make an informed decision”

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We had a continental breakfast for guests.  The poi malasadas went fast!

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And, our 2 surgical coordinators, Ronnie and Kaui were on hand to help answer questions as well about the surgical scheduling process.

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We had a great turnout – it was just the perfect number of people to provide an intimate forum for everyone to ask their questions.  Joel, our optician even went around and cleaned all of the guests’ eyeglasses – now that’s service!

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My husband gave basic information first – what is a cataract?

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He then discussed laser cataract surgery, which most people have heard about.  We’re lucky that we’re part of the Eye Surgery Center of Hawaii.  They have a laser cataract surgery machine and my husband is able to offer this option to all of his patients   As much as we love operating at Queen’s Medical Center, Queen’s doesn’t have a laser cataract machine, so for the past few years, we’ve been doing all of our adult cataract surgery at the Eye Surgery Center.  Click here to see my previous post about laser cataract surgery

catalys2He then answered specific questions about all of the various types of intraocular lenses which can be inserted into the eye. At the end, we also received really wonderful feedback, so I think we will try to do this roundtable talk very few months.  Keeping it small really allowed for everyone to feel comfortable interrupting my husband if they didn’t understand something.

At the conclusion of the talk, all guests received little gift bags chock full of educational information about cataract surgery.

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And, the nice part was, even though we did the talk on a Saturday, we just brought the kids in with us (just like old times!)

Here are 2 hard workers heading home.

IMG_8042Come join us for our next talk.  We’ll post invites and updates on our social media – facebook, instagram and twitter.

© 2011 Honolulu Eye Doctor & Mom Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha