Summer is a great time for laser vision correction

For people who wear glasses, their lives are enhanced when they don’t have to worry about having them fog up or slip down their noses in warm weather. Summer is the perfect time to consult Dr. Neal Sher about laser vision correction/PRK.

As a leading expert in refractive surgery, Dr. Sher can help patients who have never had laser vision correction, as well as those who need enhancements/touch-ups from prior procedures. He has more than 30 years of experience helping patients to eliminate or reduce their need for contacts or eyeglasses.

Dr. Sher utilizes the most advanced refractive surgery techniques and has performed thousands of these procedures. After their procedures, most of his patients no longer need contacts or eyeglasses for distance vision.

Along with his highly skilled team, Dr. Sher performs evaluations at the downtown Minneapolis office. He performs his surgeries at the renowned Phillips Eye Institute, the only eye hospital in the five-state area. After surgery, Dr. Sher and his staff personally attend and administer all post-operative care and will be present for this important stage of vision improvement.


How much screen use is okay for kids?

More and more parents are realizing the benefits of being aware of how much screen time they allow their children. Developmental outcomes, obesity, poor sleep quality and eye development have all been associated with the amount of screen use time per day.

Expert organizations have created guidelines for parents. The World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines suggesting no screen time at all for children before age 1, and very limited screen time for children for several years after that.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no digital media use (except video-chatting) for children younger than 18 to 24 months. They also stress that parents focus on educational media when their children do start using screens.

The effects of screen use on children’s eyes

Although The American Academy of Ophthalmology does not have specific recommendations for the amount of screen time for children, parents should be aware of the possible effects of screen use on children’s eyes, as well as the broader health concerns raised by other groups like the WHO.

Nearsightedness, reading and close work

The number of people developing nearsightedness in the United States has nearly doubled since 1971. In Asia, up to 90 percent of teenagers and adults are nearsighted, a dramatic increase over recent generations.

A 2019 study published in Ophthalmology—the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology—offers more evidence that at least part of the worldwide increase in nearsightedness has to do with near work activities. It’s not just screens affecting eye development, it’s also traditional books and the amount of overall time spent indoors. The study also found that spending time outdoors, especially in early childhood, can slow the progression of nearsightedness.

Digital eye strain symptoms

Digital eye strain isn’t a single eye condition like glaucoma or pink eye. It’s a name representing the symptoms people experience when spending too long looking at a screen. These include dry eyes, itchy eyes, blurry vision and headaches. These symptoms are temporary and thankfully, no permanent damage is being done to the eyes.

The easiest way to avoid digital eye strain (or eye strain from any extended near-focus task like reading or sewing) is to make sure to blink often and to look up from your screen or close-up work every 20 minutes and focus at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This strategy of frequent re-focusing is called the 20-20-20 rule, and lets the eyes relax and reset.

Screen use and sleep disruption

While some of the dangers of blue light may have been overhyped in recent years, screen use too close to bed time can harm sleep quality. Sleep is important enough to childhood development that the World Health Organization has made it a focus in their latest recommendations.

Safety tips and eye comfort

The best way to deal with the possible effects of screens on children’s eyes and vision is to help them establish good habits for use. These same tips are good practices for adults and anyone suffering from chronic dry eyes or eye strain.

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Set a timer to remind the child how often to look into the distance.
  • Alternate reading an eBook with a real book and encourage kids to look up and out the window every other chapter.
  • After completing a level in a video game, look out the window for 20 seconds.
  • Pre-mark books with a paperclip every few chapters to remind your child to look up. Use the “bookmark” function for the same effect with eBooks.
  • Avoid using screens outside or in brightly lit areas. The glare on the screen can create strain.
  • Adjust the brightness and contrast of the screen so it feels comfortable.
  • Use good posture when using a screen. Poor posture can contribute to muscle tightness and headaches associated with eye strain.
  • Encourage your child to hold digital media farther away: 18 to 24 inches is ideal.
  • Remind them to blink when watching a screen.

Dr. Hal Kushner’s incredible story

Hal Kushner, MD, received the Distinguished Member Award from the American Society for Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and his life story is truly incredible.

Dr. Kushner was a handsome young physician with dark hair and sparkling blue eyes He had one beautiful little girl and another child on the way. His career as a doctor was lucrative and fulfilling.

Unfortunately, while deployed in the mountains of South Vietnam, Captain Kushner’s helicopter crashed. When he regained consciousness, he found himself hanging upside down in his burning, inverted Huey. Hit by exploding ammunition when trying to free the pilot, he lost his entire crew within days and was left on his own in hostile territory.

Hal had been shot, badly burned, and because his glasses were lost on impact, he was unable to see. He was ultimately captured by the Viet Cong. Dr. Kushner spent over five years in horrific conditions as a POW.

Incredibly, Dr. Kushner transcended this tragedy in a remarkable triumph of the human spirit through focusing on the future and living each day in gratitude and joy. Dr. Kushner was the only U.S. physician to be taken prisoner during the Vietnam War.

His story of courage, endurance, optimism, and resiliency is truly remarkable. After his release as a POW, Dr. Kushner became an ophthalmologist, practicing in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Samuelson, Thomas. “Hear the incredible story of our colleague Hal Kushner”. ASCRS Eyeworld.

CLICK HERE to read more about Dr. Kushner

Blue light from your smartphone
is not blinding you

Despite a claim made by a recent study that has created concern in the public and alarmist headlines from news outlets worldwide, blue light from electronic screens is not making people go blind. The research cited comes from the University of Toledo and was published in Scientific Reports. Experts caution that these reports are leading to unfounded conclusions about the potential effects of blue light on the eye.

The researchers were looking at what happens when a specific chemical present in the eye called retinal, is exposed to blue light. Blue light enters the eye both naturally, in sunlight, and from artificial sources such as electronic screens. The study’s findings cannot be turned into recommendations for real people in the real world.

Janet R. Sparrow, PhD, who is the Anthony Donn professor of ophthalmic sciences and professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University in New York, offered several notes of caution about this study:

The experiments do not mimic what happens in live eyes.

  • The cells that were tested are not derived from retina cells.
  • Cells in the study were not exposed to light in the way cells in the eye are naturally exposed to light.
  • The part of the cells that was affected by retinal in the experiments (the cell membrane) does not touch retinal in the eyes of living people.

Retinal is toxic to some cells whether or not it’s exposed to blue light. Live retina cells have proteins that can protect them from these possibly toxic effects.

Other cells exposed to retinal and blue light by the investigators would not be exposed to blue light in the body. Blue light only reaches the skin and the eyes. It cannot have any effect deeper in the body.

In other words, the researchers took cells that are not from the eye, put them together with retinal in a way that doesn’t happen in the body and exposed the cells to light in a way that doesn’t happen in nature.

Real concerns about screen use and eye safety

If you have questions or concerns about your eye health, please talk to Dr. Sher. He can make recommendations that are right for you and your lifestyle.

There is indeed, evidence that blue light can interfere with humans’ circadian rhythms, making it harder to fall asleep. For some people, it can be a good idea to limit screen time or filter out blue light from screens before bedtime.

Spending too much time looking at a screen can keep people from blinking as often as they should and from focusing on things at different locations. This can make the eyes feel dry, gritty, tired or strained. The simple solution is to look at least 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes. Ophthalmologists call this the ‘20-20-20’ rule.