Q: We’re spending a lot more time at the beach and on our boat this year. I know I should protect my eyes, but what kind of sunglasses should I be looking for? — Danny G., Put-in-Bay, Ohio
A: Glad you asked, because having the right sunglasses helps avoid vision impairment and even vision loss from cataracts and macular degeneration. Recently, the American Academy of Ophthalmology came out with a list of tips for buying the best eyeprotecting shades, and we have a few of our own too.
The most important feature: lenses that provide 99 to 100 percent protection from UVA/UVB radiation and screen out around 75 to 90 percent of visible light. Ophthalmologists — and many times reputable retail optical shops — have a UV light meter that can check lenses to see just how effective they are at screening out UV rays and light. Look for the E-SPF on the lens (that’s the visual equivalent of the skin protection SPF provided by, say, zinc oxide).
On the water, polarized lenses will reduce glare so that you’ll be better able to see other boaters and swimmers. The good news, even inexpensive sunglasses can provide both reduced glare and full protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays and visible light.
Other good qualities to look for: Wraparound sunglasses, like those found in bicycle shops, are ultra-protective, keeping out everything from road debris and flying insects to those UV rays that can sneak past regular, flat-front sunglasses. Sun damage also happens because light is reflected from the inside of the lens into your eye, so docs recommend antireflective coatings on sunglasses and on your regular glasses!
Mistakes to avoid: Don’t think that darkercolored lenses are necessarily better or that, like superstar Megan Rapinoe, matching your lens color to your hair is a major priority — although you can get blue, yellow or orange and maybe even purple lenses that offer great protection.
Last tip: Get more than one pair: one for your car and one for your boat. That way you won’t head out on the water with eyes unprotected when you’ve left your shades in the car. That can happen easily if it’s cloudy but the sun comes out later. Safe boating!
Q: My husband is going in for spinal fusion surgery, and I understand that he’ll have a catheter in place for a few days. I’ve heard they can transmit infections. Are there any special precautions we should take? — Jane F., Austin, Texas
A: Well, there’s not much you can do before surgery, but in the first few days following the surgery there are several things that every primary caregiver/patient advocate should be aware of.
First, a study from the University of Michigan found that catheter use causes roughly 25 percent of hospital infections. And 60 to 90 percent of intensive care patients, plus 10 to 30 percent of patients outside the ICU (that would apply to your husband, Jane) have urinary catheters. The researchers tried to determine exactly how many are unnecessary and why the infection rate is as high as it is. Short answer? Turns out no one knows how many are needed. But there are ways to help reduce the associated risk of infection.
The study points out that sometimes communication between doctors, nurses and other health care workers concerning use of the catheter breaks down, and it remains in place too long. That increases the risk of complications from infections or irritation. So always insist that nurses aids, nurses and docs wash their hands and wear a fresh pair of gloves before touching the catheter line. Every time the doc comes in, ask whether the catheter should be changed or cleaned. As soon as your husband can walk to the bathroom and up and down the hall, ask any attending doctor and the nurses if it’s time for the catheter to come out.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c)2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.