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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, your spring allergies may be adding to your anxiety about your health.

Are those watery eyes and stuffy nose symptoms of the new coronavirus or allergies? “This time of year is a challenge for people with allergies, and now more so with COVID fears,” says James M. Huffman, MD, an ophthalmologist in central Kentucky. “Symptoms in people infected with coronavirus can differ from person to person based on their illness. Having that varying information out there can be confusing if you’re not sure what you should be looking for.”

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Coronavirus can spread through the eyes, just as it does through the mouth or nose.

When someone who has coronavirus coughs, sneezes, or talks, virus particles can spray from their mouth or nose onto your face. You are likely to breathe these tiny droplets in through your mouth or nose. But the droplets can also enter your body through your eyes. You can also become infected by touching your eyes after touching something that has the virus on it.

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Experts say guarding your eyes — as well as your hands and mouth — can slow the spread of coronavirus.

Here’s why it’s important to protect your eyes during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and five ways you can help yourself and others.

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American Academy of Ophthalmology urges the public to get the facts on the most common cause of blindness

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans over age 50, affecting about 2.1 million people nationwide. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to preventing vision loss. During February, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is educating the public about the facts on AMD.

Reduce your risk of age related macular degeneration

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You may have had trouble sleeping after being at the screen of your phone or other digital devices just before going to bed. Blue light – either from the sun or screens we use – we wake up and stimulates. This also means that too much exposure to blue light for late night phone screens, tablets or computers can disrupt our ability to sleep.

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The American Academy of Ophthalmology urges parents to avoid buying toys that can cause serious eye injuries, even blindness. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2017. Almost half of those incidents were injuries to the head. Unfortunately, most of these injuries happen to children under age 15. It’s important to think about the safety of any gift you’re giving, especially if it’s a gift for a child.

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People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing serious eye diseases, yet most do not have sight-saving, annual eye exams, according to a large study. The Instituto de Ojos del Dr. Miguel Santiago joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reiterating the importance of eye exams during the month of November, which is observed as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

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Colored contact lenses are popular year-round for people who want to change the color of their iris. But every year at Halloween there is a surge of people using colored contact lenses to enhance their costumes.  To safely wear costume contact lenses for Halloween or any time of year, follow these guidelines:

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According to a national survey released by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly two out of three American adults report having eye or vision problems. A significant percentage of them, however, fail to seek medical attention in the form of regular, sight-saving eye exams. In observance of Healthy Aging Month in September, Instituto de Ojos del Dr. Miguel Santiago joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in emphasizing the importance of having regular eye exams to maintain healthy eyes and vision.

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As children spend more time tethered to screens, there is increasing concern about potential harm to their visual development. Ophthalmologists – physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care – are seeing a marked increase in children with dry eye and eye strain from too much screen time. But does digital eyestrain cause lasting damage? Should your child use reading glasses or computer glasses? As you send your kids back to school this month for more time with screens and books, Instituto de Ojos del Dr. Miguel Santiago and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are arming parents with the facts, so they can make informed choices about their children’s eye health.

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