Sunday, June 16, 2013

Japanese eyeball licking is a health risk and can lead to blindness

Japanese school-aged children and teens have developed a gross but trendy practice: licking a friend or lover's eyeballs.  There is a video at the end of this post.  
What are the risks?
Eyeball-licking will transport moth-based bacteria into the eye causing bacterial infections such as conjunctivitis to styes as well as abscesses involving the lids and eye socket. 
According to
Eyeball licking, which is also known as "worming" or oculolinctus, has existed for quite some time, and there are numerous clips of people engaging in the act on YouTube. Japanese blog Naver Matome interviewed one concerned teacher who said that he ran into two sixth grade students licking each others' eyeballs in an equipment room. After he confronted them, they admitted it was popular in their class. His independent survey of students confirmed his fears: One-third of the children admitted to eyeball licking.
Corneal abrasions (scratches or cuts on the surface of the eye) are another risk.  There's also the chance that licking the eyeball could accidentally scratch it. Abrasions can trap bacteria and cause blindness if not treated.  They can also lead to scarring and permanent blurred vision.
Mouth bacteria normally does not find its way to the eye.  If it gets into the eye, it is an eye health concern. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

If your child has reading problems, treatable vision and eye movement disorders may be the reason

The evidence on eye problems associated with reading difficulties and learning problems continues to accumulate.  At our Vancouver eye and vision clinic, we treat many students with eye movement and vision problems who are struggling in school and who read below grade lever.

We use ocular motor therapy, vision therapy and eye-brain rehabilitation to get both eyes working together properly.  Often the students who we treat experience a huge jump in their reading abilities, improving by 4 or five reading levels following therapy.

A new study entitled Association between reading speed, cycloplegic refractive error, and oculomotor function in reading disabled children versus controls published in the May 2012 issue of the journal Graefes Archives of Clinical Experimental Ophthalmology adds to the evidence of the connection between eye and vision problems and learning.

The researchers were struck by the fact that in Ontario, Canada, approximately one in ten students aged 6 to 16 in Ontario have an individual education plan (IEP) in place because of various learning disabilities.  May of those learning problems were specific to reading.   They wanted to investigate the relationship between reading vision problems and binocular vision problems.

The researchers measured the visual acuity and eye movement measurements of students that had an IEP and compared those results with students in a regular education program.

The researchers found that the IEP group had significantly greater hyperopia, compared to the control group on cycloplegic examination. Vergence facility was significantly correlated to (i) reading
speed, (ii) number of eye movements made when reading, and (iii) a standardized symptom scoring system. Vergence facility was also significantly reduced in the IEP group versus controls. Significant differences in several other binocular vision related scores were also found.

Here is the study's conclusion:

This research indicates there are significant associations between reading speed, refractive error, and in particular vergence facility. It appears sensible that students being considered for reading specific IEP status should have a full eye examination (including cycloplegia), in addition to a comprehensive binocular vision evaluation.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The ultimate amblyopia infographic

The amblyopia experts at Vision Help have created this helpful info-graphic to help spread the word on the latest science in treating amblyopia (lazy eye).  We are re-posting it here to help spread the word on the latest treatments and the important information that patching for many hours a day is an out-dated and unnecessary practice.

Advanced treatments are available at our Vancouver vision clinic at at the clinics of developmental optometrists across North America.  To find a doctor near you, visit the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

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