Dry Eyes, Allergies, or Infection?

When your eyes become irritated, it’s difficult to not assume the worst. Nobody wants an eye infection, and since many of the symptoms can also be attributed to other irritants, it’s hard to know when it’s an infection or when it’s something else. So how do you differentiate between dry eyes, allergies, and infections? While the symptoms can cross over into each other — allergies can lead to dry eyes, for example each is a very different malady. Check out some of the earmark telltale differences between them and how you can tell the difference.

  • Dry Eyes. A person suffering from dry eyes typically experiences a burning or a scratchy feeling in their eyes, often accompanied by a ‘foreign body sensation,’ or the feeling that something is ‘in their eye.’ This is sometimes accompanied by light sensitivity. Unlike allergies or infection, dry eyes can usually be remedied by using artificial tears, or eye drops.
  • Allergies. If someone is suffering from allergies, then they usually experience tearing and itchy eyes on top of the burning or scratching sensation. The tearing and itching usually occurs in the presence of an allergen. Many people refuse to believe that the problem they’re having with their eyes is due to an allergen if the allergen hasn’t been present before or in a very long time. For example, if the person is allergic to cats and their neighbor just bought a kitten, the presence of those allergens could be causing the irritation.
  • Infection. The most common eye condition that people face is called conjunctivitis, or as it’s more commonly known, pink eye. This occurs when the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids and also covers the white part of your eyes, becomes inflamed. While this can happen as a result of allergies, it can also be caused by viruses and bacteria. Viral conjunctivitis is usually caused by the adenovirus, and is highly contagious. People infected should avoid touching their eyes, and should not touch hands or share items like towels with anyone else. It usually resolves itself within a few weeks. Bacterial conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by bacteria like the ones that cause staph infections (staphylococcus) and strep throat (streptococcus), and can be treated with antibiotics.
Flying Eye Hospital

Orbis’ Flying Eye Hospital

In developing areas of the world, it’s difficult for people to obtain basic medical care much less vision care that they may desperately need. As high as 80% of visual maladies are treatable or avoidable, but a lack of resources often stands between these people and the vision care they desperately need.  Now, thanks to Orbis, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to “saving sight worldwide,” it will be easier for people to get the medical assistance they need. Using a refurbished cargo plane, Orbis International has launched a third-generation Flying Eye Hospital – a program that’s been around since the 1970s – and it’s quite the sight to see.

Ralph Cotran

Photo courtesy of Michael Fong.

Orbis’s Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) is a fully equipped teaching hospital contained within the body of an up-cycled cargo plane. The area is divided into seven different rooms, each serving a specific purpose in the surgery process.

The flight deck sits at the front of the plane with enough room for a three-member crew as well as two observers to watch the surgery. Behind the flight deck is the classroom which holds up to 48 eyecare professionals and provides a space where they can gather for discussions, lectures, and live surgeries being performed within the plane. The surgery room feed can also be broadcast to a classroom outside of the plane where professionals can gather to observe and ask questions via a two-way radio. Next is the audio visual room, where the 17 cameras, 8 microphones and 54 monitors aboard the plane are controlled. This equipments allows for the live surgery feed to play throughout the plane as well as interaction between the operating room and the classroom.

Ralph Cotran

Photo courtesy of Michael Fong.

Following the audio visual room is the laser and examination room. It is in this room where patients’ eyes are examined pre- and post-surgery and also where laser surgeries are performed, as laser surgeries do not require a sterile environment. Some of the medical instruments are equipped with cameras so that those observing in the classroom can see what’s happening through the microscope. Past the laser and examination room is the operation room where the surgeries take place, strategically located in line with the wings of the plane – the most stable area. The five cameras located in the room give observers both close-up views of the surgeries as well as wide-angle views of the entire operating theater. After the operation room is the substerile room where nurses sterilize the equipment prior to surgery and where the scrub sink is located for medical staff to wash up before entering the operation room. The water used in the scrub sink is filtered through a 12-step process that includes UV light and charcoal, making the water safe to drink and use. The final room in the FEH is the recovery room where patients go both to be prepped for surgery and also to recover following surgery. The room contains 3 beds as well as monitors to observe the patient’s vital signs post-surgery. The recovery room also contains a crash cart in case of emergencies and doubles as a training room for local nurses to study patient care.

According to Orbis’ Global Medical Director Dr. Jonathan Lord, “a 15-minute surgery is all most of these people need to restore their sight. And if you dealt with giving people glasses and dealing with cataracts, nearly two-thirds of the world’s avoidable blindness would disappear.”

Orbis has estimated that 285 million people are visually impaired and – of that number – 19 million are children. Over the course of the FEH program, Orbis has visited 92 countries and, in the past year alone has treated more than two million people and trained over 30,000 healthcare professionals. With the launch of this new Flying Eye Hospital, they hope to increase that number to continue saving sight worldwide.

Eyeglasses vs. Contact Lenses

If your vision is starting to go or you can’t see well as you once could, if surgery is out of the question, it’s time to make a decision: should you go with glasses or contact lenses? There are advantages and disadvantages to both that you need to consider before making a choice, ultimately, about what will work best for you.



Eyeglasses Pros:

  • When wearing glasses, you don’t need to touch your eyes every day to be able to see. The act of putting in contacts is difficult for many people and can often irritate the eye or even transmit bacteria into the eye. They also do not irritate dry or sensitive eyes the way contacts might.
  • Eyeglasses require less cleaning and maintenance than contact lenses
  • Eyeglasses generally cost less than contacts as they do not need to be disposed of and replaced regularly.
  • Eyeglasses offer some protection against things like dust and wind.
  • In addition to helping your vision, eyeglasses can be worn as an accessory to your everyday outfits, speaking volumes about your personality.

Eyeglasses Cons:

  • Wearing eyeglasses can reduce your peripheral vision and make it difficult to see anything other than what is in front of you.
  • Eyeglasses can be affected by elements such as fog, rain, or snow, obstructing your vision.
  • Eyeglasses cause a barrier between your eyes and the world. Some people may find wearing them detracts from their facial aesthetic and forces them to hide behind the glasses.
  • Unlike contact lenses, glasses sit away from your eye and balance on your ears and nose. This often requires adjustment throughout the day and may cause some people discomfort due to pressure.
  • When wearing eyeglasses, your vision is often and possibly constantly obstructed by the frames and the edge of the lens.


Contact Lenses Pros:

  • Contacts mold to the shape of your eye which provides a larger field of vision, including your peripheries, with less obstruction.
  • Unlike eyeglasses, contacts usually aren’t affected by external factors like precipitation and fog so bad weather does not necessarily mean obstructed vision.
  • Contact lenses are worn directly against the eye which eliminates the need to adjust and readjust throughout the day.
  • Contact lenses don’t get in the way when doing physical things like exercising or playing sports.
  • There are some contact lenses that can reshape your cornea at night while you’re sleeping. They temporarily correct myopia (nearsightedness) so that you are able to see clearly the following day without eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Contact Lenses Cons:

  • Since they’re applied directly to the eyeball, people often have difficulty or discomfort touching their eyes to put the contacts in.
  • Contacts minimize the amount of oxygen that reaches your eye when you wear them. This can cause or exacerbate dry eyes, causing dry eye syndrome.
  • Contact lenses are more high-maintenance than eyeglasses and require daily care to avoid potential eye infections.
  • Unless specifically suited for extended wear, falling asleep with contacts in will result in waking up with red, itchy, dry, irritated eyes.
  • Contact lenses are often more expensive than eyeglasses in the long run as they need to be replaced often. Also, if your prescription changes, all of your current contacts become useless where, if you were wearing glasses, you could just change out the lenses.

There is no “right” or “wrong” decision when it comes to choosing what method of correcting your vision is right for you. Ultimately it’s your decision about what will work best with your lifestyle. If you’re stuck between the two and can’t make a decision, people sometimes choose both! You might want to wear glasses at home and contacts to work, or any other combination of the two. It’s important to remember, though, that if you choose to primarily wear contact lenses, you should still keep a pair of up-to-date glasses on hand in case of irritation or infection. Whatever your choice, your eyes will surely thank you and you’ll thank yourself for your newfound vision.

UFC Returns to New York City



Recently, the New York State Assembly finally lifted the state’s 19 year ban on mixed martial arts. Now, the UFC is eager to put on a show that will be one of the biggest events in company history at the famous Madison Square Garden.  The first match in New York City won’t likely be until November, so the UFC has some time to decide on who will get this awesome opportunity. There are a ton of intriguing options, so today we look at the top 3 options UFC could book for it’s anticipated New York debut.

Miesha Tate vs Ronda Rousey

Despite Rousey suffering her first UFC defeat against Holm, she is still UFC’s most marketable female fighter, with a hosting stint on Saturday Night Live and a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover appearance as proof of her ongoing popularity. She is slated to make a return to the sport in November, and it could very well be against Bantamweight Champion, Miesha Tate.  Tate has already lost twice to Rousey, once back in Strikeforce and then again in the UFC in 2013. This fight would have the potential to draw a massive crowd to MSG and on pay-per-view, especially since it could possibly be Rousey’s first fight since losing to Holm at UFC 193.  With the Women’s Bantamweight Title on the line and Rousey’s return, this would sure make a hot ticket.

Conor McGregor vs Frankie Edgar

Conor McGregor is one of the most dominating fighters in UFC and a matchup with a talented fighter like Frankie Edgar to defend his Featherweight title would be sure to draw a sell-out crowd at Madison Square Garden. Edgar has a great combination of speed and footwork to make the fight extremely entertaining. McGregor versus Edgar has long been discussed by fans as a potential blockbuster fight, and New York’s large Irish population coupled with Edgar’s roots in New Jersey would make it an easy sell for the UFC.

Jon Jones vs. Anthony Johnson or Daniel Cormier

What would be better than having Jon Jones, a native New Yorker fight at the UFC’s first event in the Empire State?  This would be an awesome selection. Jones will be taking on Daniel Cormier at UFC 197 on April 23. A match that everyone will be watching as Jones looks to recapture the Light Heavyweight Title. If he defeats Cormier it would seem that Anthony Johnson would be the next in line to take on Jones. However, if Cormier ends up beating Jones, it would not be out of question to book the trilogy at Madison Square Garden. Either way, there would be an intriguing matchup for Jones.

These were just a few possible match ups for one biggest events in UFC history.  To check out the rest of possibilities for the New York City showdown, please read this article.

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Syracuse Heads to The Final Four


The Syracuse Orange continued their improbable, but exciting run in the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament this past Sunday. They will be heading to the Final Four to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in Houston, Texas. Many people were surprised Syracuse was even selected by the NCAA committee  after a 0-4 start in ACC play and losing four of their last five games to end the season. The Orange also had to cope with losing their head coach, Jim Boeheim, for nine games due to a suspension from the NCAA.

Syracuse opened up the tournament against a talented Dayton Flyers team and Syracuse made a quick statement to everyone on why the deserve to be in the tournament. They routed the Flyers 70-51 and were led by talented freshman, Malachi Richardson with with 21 points.

Next up was the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. The Blue Raiders upset the championship favorite, Michigan State to get to this game so you knew their confidence was sky high coming in. However, it did not make a difference for the Orange whose trademark zone defense suffocated the Blue Raiders on the offensive end causing multiple turnovers. Syracuse defeated Middle Tennessee 75-50 and punched their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen.

A sweet sixteen matchup against the Gonzaga Bulldogs proved to be one of Syracuse’s toughest matchups in the tournament. With Gonzaga leading 57-48 late in the second half, Syracuse turned to their aggressive full-court pressure to shut down the Bulldogs and get them back in the game. Down one with under 20 seconds remaining, Senior Forward, Michael Gbinije made a go-ahead layup and Syracuse advanced to its 10th Elite Eight under Jim Boeheim with a 63-30 win.

After a gut wrenching win against the Bulldogs, it set up an all-ACC matchup with Virginia for a spot in the Final Four.  Let’s just say this game was by far one of the best games I have ever watched. Syracuse trailed by 16 points at the start of the second half and rallied all the way back to defeat Virginia 68-62. Malachi Richardson was the difference-maker in the game as he scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half and hit key shots down the stretch. After the game, Coach Boeheim said “It was a great comeback, one of the best I’ve coached in, any team I’ve had, in terms of you’re playing, I think, a great team”.

Syracuse was among the last teams to get into the NCAA tournament and now they are headed to the Final Four. They will be taking on a very talented North Carolina team, but the sky’s the limit for this year’s team as they have shown they can overcome anything thrown their way.

Tune into TBS at 8:49 PM EST on Saturday, April 2 to watch Syracuse and North Carolina battle it out for a spot in the National Title Game on Monday.


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Two Huge Upsets on the Same Night in Vegas

Last night, marked one of the wildest nights in MMA history. Conor McGregor and Holly Holm, two heavily favored fighters were both upset in dramatic fashion. Miesha Tate defeated women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm by submission in the fifth round of their fight. Soon after there fight ended, Nate Diaz took on brash-talking Conor McGregor and Diaz submitted McGregor in the second round to win the welterweight fight.


Ireland Native, McGregor, who won the featherweight championship back in December decided to jump weight classes soon after his victory. He opted to move up to 170 pounds (lightweight division) to fight replacement foe Diaz because of lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos’ foot injury. Well, let’s just say moving up in weight class did not go too well the talented McGregor.

Diaz, a former UFC lightweight title challenger was able to get the best of McGregor early on. McGregor tried take Diaz down with one his unique moves but Diaz was able counter and turn to his jiu jitsu specialty and deliver a deadly chokehold, which forced Mcgregor to tap out only 4 minutes into the second round. After the match, Diaz said  “I knew I had it, my jiu jitsu’s always there when I hit the ground. I’m a warrior. There’s a new king, right here.” Diaz was very excited about his gut wrenching performance to take down the former featherweight champion.Miesha Tate vs Liz Carmouche

As for the other upset at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Tate took down Holms in the final minutes of the final round crushing hopes of everyone possibly witnessing a Holm’s rematch with the great Ronda Rousey. This was Holm’s first fight since defeating Rousey back in November. Holm was able to give Tate a couple of punches and kicks in the early rounds, but Tate eventually responded with kicks and moves of her own and then would mount Holm from behind to take home the championship.

These were both devastating losses for both former champions, but we will see how these two respond to adversity. If you ask me, I am sure they will use this as motivation and will be back out there sooner than people think.

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The 2015 United States Men’s Soccer Season


The United States Men’s Soccer team will look forward to bigger and better things when the year 2016 comes around as 2015 was considered to be an up and down year for the Americans. The men’s national team did not play to the expectations as many people thought they would. They lost the Confederation Cup playoff against Mexico and finished in fourth place in the Gold Cup.

The Men’s national team had some great moments during a few friendly matches. In June,  the U.S was able to defeat the Netherlands with a game winning goal scored by forward Bobby Wood. It was a great moment for both the young star and the men’s national team. Gedion Zelalem, another rising star, decided to commit to the the U.S national team instead of Germany and Ethiopia. This was a huge win for the U.S. They now have a rising star who will be key part for this team for years to come.  Another key moment the U.S national team had this past year was when they took a total of four points from their two World Cup qualifying matches. The U.S won half of it’s games going 10-6-4 on the season.

There were some moments that U.S men’s national team would like to forget in 2015. For the U.S, winning the Gold Cup was a true goal for them coming into 2015 because this would secure a CONCACAF’s berth in the 2017 FIFA Federations Cup. However, things did not go as planned for the U.S as they lost to Jamaica in the semifinals of the Gold Cup.  Many people are starting to doubt head coach, Klinsmann because of some of his coaching decisions and how the U.S has played of late, but U.S Soccer president, Sunil Gulati feels otherwise.  Gulati stood behind his head coach and believes things will eventually turn into the right direction for Klinsmann and U.S national team.

For more information, please check out:


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U-17 World Cup: The Golden Eaglets Still Hold Their Number One Spot

With a remarkable performance on Sunday, The Nigerian Golden Eaglets became the second ide to retain their FIFA U-17 World Cup with a 2-0 win against Mali. The star of the show was Victor Osemhen who scored a record breaking tenth goal in the tournament. Funsho Bamgboye also gave a stellar performance by adding another goal seconds later. Nigeria has been able to defend their title for the third time in five years.

In this article, ESPN FC’s Mark Donaldson recognizes Nigeria’s remarkable form in U-17 World Cup but calls for a senior level showmanship in being able to tackle these tournaments from the junior level to the international level. Nigeria serves as a case study on a lack of accountability on the youth level trailing up the national level. The country was 5th in world football in April 1994, today the country is 59 in the world and 12th in Africa.

Whether these issues stem from a lack of accountability in the team’s administration, it shows that Nigeria has the potential to compete with top talent at the international level. Let’s hope they get it right for the coming World Cup.

To learn more about the Golden Eaglets and their race to the top, visit this article by ESPN FC

No More Headers: How U.S Soccer Is Trying To Make Youths Safer

fter a 15 month litigation process, U.S Soccer announced that a brand new series of initiatives which were designed to reduce the number of concussions soccer players suffered. This new initiative basically limits and bans heading for players under the age of 13.

The new protocol entails that children of 10 and under will be barred from heading during any official game sessions or tournaments within the country. Questions have been lauded to the administering committee on how these initiatives would be enforced in the youth level which is a widespread community. Others have mentioned that banning headers would force players to become more comfortable with their feet at a young age, which may not be a bad thing. The general consensus is that we will be seeing the improvement of the quality of players coming through the system the next few years.

Time Magazine reports that the new safety rules and guidelines is aimed at players ages 10 and younger, and players from 11- 13 years will face restrictions. U.S Soccer’s chief Medical officer George Chiampas said “What we’re establishing is creating parameters and guidelines with regards to the amount of exposure to head injuries.” Other possible changes will involve substitution rules for players who are suspected of having or showing signs of a concussion. These new rules were also developed because of parental concerns about negligence after nearly 50,000 soccer players sustained concussions in 2010.

This new initiative comes at a very pivotal time in sports medicine and history. NBC Sports reports that former U.S national team and Major League Soccer Striker Taylor Twellman, who saw his profession cut short from a series of concussions and post-concussion symptoms was one of the first notable figures in U.S soccer history to speak out and voice his approval of the new initiative. Since these new initiatives will apply to the United States Soccer Federation and Youth National Club Teams, soccer fans are unsure of whether this will drain the country of talent or make players less competitive in the international space.

Will this new initiative help or hinder U.S Soccer? I don’t think so. Putting our youth in a safe place to enjoy sporting events will eventually change how we think of health in athletics. Though European clubs and Youth Teams do not have header rules, this change could take on a global scale.

To learn more about the new initiatives to deal with concussions which stem from header goals, visit these articles by Time Magazine and NBC Sports


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How Vision USA Is Helping Doctors Extend The Power Of Their Practice

Michael Holland believes in giving back to the community, and currently practices with his father who is also an optometrist. This belief came from being inspired by his own father who helped people receive treatment even when they could not afford it.  Holland reports that “he instilled in me a desire to provide service to the community.”

The AOA News provided a short review on how Dr Holland and his father are providers of Vision USA, a program of Optometry Cares – the AOA foundation. What does Vision USA do? Well it matches doctors who participate in the program with uninsured patients who need comprehensive care in their area. Since it’s inception in 1990 Vision USA has made more than 430,000 patient assignments.

here are over 2,800 optometrists who provide these services- comprehensive eye exams, to low income uninsured patients. The AOA reports that the number is also growing. This year, 108 volunteer providers joined the Vision USA network, which is a massive improvement showing the need for more volunteers in the system.

What makes Vision USA different and unlike most medical missions taken up by optometrists, is its service which is focused on US residents as its niche. How do patients qualify? Patients must have no insurance of any sort, including Medicare or Medicaid to participate in the program. They must also meet certain income requirements and will have no vision exams in the past two years, Patients must of course be U.S citizens or legal residents. Vision U.S.A currently operates in 39 states

For Dr. Holland, incorporating Vision U.S.A into his practice has proven to be a seamless measure. He estimates that he has seen up to 6 to 10 patients within the past 25 years. One of the challenges Dr. Holland faces is not knowing where his referrals come from, or how patients know about his affiliation with Vision U.S.A. Being able to trace this information back to the source could prove helpful in understanding his volunteer patients needs and how his practice can fulfill those needs.

To learn more about Vision USA and how it is helping uninsured patients, visit the Vision U.S.A site and this article by the AOA news

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