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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Common Eye Myths Debunked

April 4th, 2012

As children, many of us were told to avoid doing certain things that would damage our eyesight. For example, there’s a common saying that squinting, reading, or watching television up close would cause bad eyesight later in adulthood. Many parents also advised that eating your carrots will help make your vision better. Are these “common sense” sayings true? Let’s find out.

Myth #1: Squinting damages your vision—Squinting is a sign that you need glasses, contact lenses, or LASIK to correct your eyesight. It is a symptom, rather than a cause, of poor vision. According to Dr. Richard Rosen, the director of ophthalmology research at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, “Squinting is an attempt to make the pupil smaller—it lets in less light. By closing your lids together, it further enhances your focus.” People who squint frequently do not damage their vision, but many end up getting headaches as a side effect. If you find yourself having difficulty seeing or squinting a lot, have your vision checked by Dr. Feinerman.

Myth #2: Reading in dimly lit places or reading small print will eventually worsen your vision—More outside light will definitely help one see better, but the retina itself is not damaged by the amount of light it lets in in your eye. When it is dark, the eye’s pupil expands to let in more light, it is a natural response and does not damage vision. Focusing on small print causes strain on the eyes, but does not in itself cause damage.

Myth #3: Eating Carrots Will Improve Your Vision—It has been proven that diet is important to good vision, but it does not mean that eating more of a certain food will make your vision even more enhanced. An article on ABC News.com states that a diet deficient in vitamin A can lead to impaired vision, but ingesting more than the recommended daily amount will not improve one’s vision. In the U.S., vitamin A deficiency is not a problem. Foods high in vitamin A are carrots, liver, sweet potato, and dark, leafy greens. The nutrients found in dark leafy greens and egg yolks can even help prevent macular degeneration.

Although these myths were not proven to be true, the motives behind them are helpful. For example: Squinting does not cause bad vision, but can cause headaches, so it is best to avoid squinting. Whatever you may have been told as a child may not have been completely accurate, but is still helpful. However, if you want the best care for your vision, make consistent visits to Feinerman Vision Center.

Humanitarian Mission in Cuba

April 3rd, 2012

Doctor Feinerman has long been interested in humanitarian causes and in giving back to the community. This year, he was invited by the Solomon Society to personally participate in a humanitarian mission to help a small Jewish neighborhood in Cuba. The Solomon Society is a branch of the Jewish Federation & Family Services, an organization based in Orange County. It is a brotherhood that emphasizes establishing and building a strong community through social networking and special events with a humanitarian focus. As a symbol of his personal commitment to help Jews who are in need both domestically and abroad, each member donates to a cause in his own name.

The mission was six days long and lasted from March 19th through March 25th. While in Cuba, Dr. Feinerman and his fellow missionaries met with coordinators, community leaders, and officials from the U.S. Department of State as they toured various synagogues, schools, museums, and cemeteries. The purpose of the visit was more than just the distribution of donated goods to the needy, the emphasis was on how to build a stronger community.

The history of Jewish community in Cuba is not well-known to most Americans, but its presence has endured since early colonial times in the 16th century. It reached its peak in 1945, displaying a substantial and well-established population numbering nearly 25,000 people. No one could predict that the direction of this growth would change in less than two decades. When Fidel Castro assumed power and overthrew the Cuban government in 1959, many people of different faiths and socio-economic status fled the country. Many Jews were forced to leave, with an estimated count of only 1,300 members of the community still living in Cuba.

As with many other communities in Cuba, the Jewish populace suffers from a shortage of necessities such as medications and other supplies essential to daily life. In mid-March of 2012, the Solomon Society coordinated a mission to Cuba, bringing luggage packed with prescription and over-the-counter medications that are difficult to obtain. The much-needed drugs were dropped off at local pharmacies for distribution. In support of synagogues and Jewish Sunday schools, religious items were also given out. To assist with home life, supplies such as clothes and blankets collected from U.S. donations were also handed out to families in need.

Upon arrival in Havana, missionaries were able to tour the Old Jewish Quarter of the city, including a visit to Adath Israel, a traditional Orthodox synagogue in Havana. This synagogue is home to Cuba’s only mikvah, a bathing facility in which men and women can purify themselves with water before participating in rituals. Also visited were a Kosher meat shop and the Sephardic Hebrew Center, the only Sephardic synagogue in Havana City, founded in 1954, shortly before the government’s fall. This center celebrates all Jewish festivals and hosts a Sunday school for adults, as well as a Hebrew Teachers’ school. There was also a trip to the Jewish cemetery in Goanabacoa, featuring the first Holocaust Memorial built in the Western Hemisphere. There were also various meetings with community leaders in Santa Clara, as well as with officials at the Swiss embassy and the United States Interests Section.

This mission was so successful that future humanitarian trips to Cuba are being planned. Dr. Feinerman enjoyed his trip and meeting other professionals in service and locals in need. If you would like to donate items or participate, please ask Dr. Feinerman about how you can help. You can also contact Lisa Armory from the Jewish Federation and Family Services at 949-435-3484.

Spring Allergies

April 2nd, 2012

After enduring three months of cold weather during the winter, most people look forward to spring. Everything turns green and the weather becomes warmer, inspiring many to seek the outdoors to enjoy the sunlight and take in the greenery. Sometimes that beauty and lushness comes with a price. Grass, trees, and weeds produce pollen that can cause allergies. Other common sources of eye allergy can include pet hair or dander, molds, and dust mites. People who are sensitive to these allergy-causing elements (allergens) can develop seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, the most common variation of eye allergy.

Although the element causing the allergy is normally harmless, the allergic response happens when the body’s immune system overreacts. According to the National Institute of Health, allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the tissues that line the eyelids become inflamed—a reaction to allergens. When an allergen (for example, dander or pollen) comes into contact with the surface of the eye, your body starts an immune response. It releases a chemical called histamine, which causes the blood vessels in the eye to swell and the eyes to tear up in an attempt to remove the allergen causing the response. Eyes quickly turn red and become itchy and teary. Eye allergies are often the most common sign of an allergic reaction, even more common than nasal symptoms such as stuffy or runny nose. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, eye allergies largely go undiagnosed because they are so common. If you suffer from ongoing (chronic) tearing and redness of the eyes, then you may want to get treatment for allergies. Make an appointment with Dr. Feinerman today to help diagnose whether or not you suffer from eye allergies or another eye condition that causes redness and tearing.

To prevent further irritation, or worsen the symptoms of your eye allergies, be sure to avoid irritants such as cigarette smoke, perfume, and exhaust from vehicles. Although these sources of irritation do not cause allergies, they can make your allergic response worse. By avoiding these irritants and getting your allergies diagnosed and treated, you can continue to enjoy the wonderful spring weather outside without discomfort.

Feiner Sight E-Newsletter – Apr/May 2012

April 1st, 2012

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