Article Date: 11/1/2010

Wise to the World

Wise to the World

By Erin Murphy, Associate Editor

Choosing a Practice Location? Watch for 2010 Census Data

When evaluating potential locations for your practice, you may be planning to use demographic data to determine which areas have room in the market for an additional optometrist or specialty. If so, you're about to get some fresh information — in the form of the 2010 Census.

The first census data, state population counts, will begin to appear before the end of 2010, with additional data and analyses to follow. Once all of the data are available, you'll be able to access information about population volume, age and race, down to very small geographic areas.

Follow the progress at

Breastfeeding Helps Prevent Conjunctivitis

As you're giving thanks this November, don't forget Mom. Breastfeeding means fewer infections, including conjunctivitis, according to a recent study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Researchers in Crete followed 926 infants for 1 year, tracking their feeding and rates of such infections as acute otitis media, acute respiratory infection, gas-troenteritis, urinary tract infection, conjunctivitis and thrush. Babies fed breast milk only for the first 6 months of life had significantly fewer and less severe infections than babies fed formula or a combination of formula and breast milk.

If you have any new or expectant moms in your exam chair, you may want to mention that 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding — the duration proven beneficial in this study — is the same timeframe that is recommended by the World Health Organization.

Source: Ladomenou F, Moschandreas J, Kafatos A, Tselentis Y, Galanakis E. Protective effect of exclusive breastfeeding against infections during infancy: a prospective study. Arch Dis Childhood. E-pub ahead of print, Sept. 27, 2010.

Find it on line at

New, Dangerous Laser Pointers

According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, eyecare practitioners have seen injuries from laser pointers that vastly exceed the legal maximum wattage for these devices. It seems that although legal limits have kept laser pointers to 5 mW, consumers can purchase laser devices on the Inter-net of up to 700 mW — more than high enough to cause severe eye injuries. Some of these high-powered devices look like run-of-the-mill laser pointers. Others are actually marketed as toys.

The authors cite the case of a 15-year-old boy who bought a 150 mW laser pointer online for fun and damaged his retinas when he pointed the laser in a mirror. The boy had “a dense subretinal hemorrhage in his left macula and several tiny round scars in the pigment epithelium of the foveolar region of his right eye,” which recovered to 20/25 in his left eye with treatment and 20/32 in the right eye after 4 months.

Source: Wyrsch S, Baenninger P, Schmid M. Retinal injuries from a handheld laser pointer. N Engl J Med 2010;363:1089-1091.

Optometric Management, Issue: November 2010