Author: cmg-wd

Isn’t it too Cold For Sunglasses?

Understanding Photokeratitis

Purchasing new sunglasses is often something we think of for the beach or summer weather, but they should be something you think about all year round. The stylish fashions and spurts of purchases when it comes to sunglasses flourish every year during warm weather when vacations and beaches are on everyone’s minds.

But the glare, and the protection sunglasses offer, should be on your mind all year. Why? Sunglasses do much more than make a fashion statement. In the winter they can prevent “Snow Blindness”, as well as keep harmful UV rays from the sun from damaging your eyes. Most of you have heard of the protection that sunglasses provide from the Sun’s UV rays but “Snow Blindness” or Photokeratitis, is a serious condition that sunglasses can also protect your eyes from.

Snow Blindness (Photokeratitis):

“Snow Blindness” is an acute condition brought on by too much exposure to the Sun’s UV rays when in the snow. Snow Blindness is when the cornea is burned from exposure to the Sun and Sun’s rays. It’s much like a sunburn of the eyes.

During the winter months many people are active skiing, sledding, Bobsledding, and participating in other outdoor activities. Without the protection of UV 400 sunglasses, you can be exposed to the sun’s rays in Two ways: directly (from exposure to UV rays) and indirectly (from the reflection of the UV rays from the snow). This is very damaging to the cornea and puts you at even more risk of developing this condition than with sun exposure alone. After too much exposure to these rays after a long period of time you can experience partial or complete loss of vision.

Photokeratitis Treatments:

There are many treatments for “Snow Blindness” including Anesthetic eye drops. These are used for a short time only as they can hinder your cornea’s recovery. Also, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drops and cold, wet compresses can also provide relief.

Recovery duration from “Snow Blindness,” or Photokeratits, can vary depending on how long you were exposed and how severe the burn is. It’s best to be examined by your eye care professional if you have pain and/or light sensitivity after being outside for extended periods of time.

Photokeratitis Symptoms:

  • Sore/Painful eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Eye Lid Twitching
  • Foreign Body Sensation
  • Halos and/or Spots in the vision

Photokeratitis, or “Snow Blindness” can be very damaging to your vision. If you have been exposed to the sun or reflection from snow for long periods of time and have any of the above symptoms you should see your eye care professional.

In summary – the best option is to reduce exposure from the beginning by protecting your eyes with wrap-around style, 400+ UV protection sunglasses.These are not necessarily the most expensive glasses, and as a matter of fact inexpensive sunglasses can provide just as much, if not more protection than many ‘designer’ pairs so you don’t have to ‘break the bank’ to protect your eyes.

Click below to hear “TV’s Eye Doctor” Brian Boxer Wachler answer a patient inquiry regarding sun protection during winter.

What I learned Rowing In A Brutal 4-Day Regatta


regatta competition

A few days ago I finished competing in the US Rowing Masters National Championships on a lake outside of Boston in the sizzling August heat as my wife and twin 10-year-old daughters were there to support me. My prior rowing career could have never prepared me for what I just experienced. I raced in college at UCLA and Edinburgh University in Scotland in 4-man and 8-man boats. After a nearly 20 year hiatus, I finally got back to rowing about six years ago with the same mindset of competing again. I learned how to scull (rowing alone in a skinny boat with two oars) as it was immensely easier to coordinate with the guy in the mirror versus seven other people at this stage in life.

I competed in my first Masters Nationals Championships a year later in the single scull and won bronze. I had never before been to this national regatta and had no idea of what to expect. I was surprised and pleased with the result. After that, I was invited to row in an 8-man boat from San Diego Rowing Club in the famed Head of the Charles regatta in Boston. Back at UCLA, I had only heard of it since we never traveled there for the race. I found my sculling training translated to being a better rower in the team boats. And after a couple of years competing we did well to the point of winning a medal at that regatta – no easy feat.

Last year the crew that myself and a number of guys from San Diego were supposed to be a part of decided to go a different route and we found ourselves a crew without a rowing club for the Head of the Charles regatta. I had been training hard all summer when that news arrived just a couple of weeks before the event. My stomach turned. A quick call from a crew-mate to Lesleh Anderson Wright, a former coxswain from the Canadian Olympic rowing team, to see if Chinook Performance Racing might be willing to attempt to get us a lottery spot provided a glimmer of hope. This regatta is probably the most competitive and hardest to gain acceptance to race. It is hands-down one of the most watched rowing events in the world with 400,000+ spectators crowded up and down the 3-mile course on the banks of the Charles River in Boston. We were entered under Chinook, but our acceptance would come down to being selected by a lottery. We waited. Then we waited some more. Would months of summer training have been in vain? We continued to wait to hear if we got in. We did!

The Head of the Charles has many categories of events with 40-50 entries per category. As a result, the boats fire off in single file line and the faster boats will catch and pass the slower boats. It’s not like a sprint that you may have seen at the Rio Olympics where the boats line up on a starting line and race to the finish. The river isn’t wide enough for that. As a new entry, we lost our prior position near the start of the pack and were near the very end of the boat line up with slower boats from the prior year race. When we blasted past the starting line we overtook the boat in front of us almost immediately. Then something happened that I had never experienced. We came roaring up to two boats where one was in the midst of overtaking another boat. As we approached them, Demitra Good, our coxswain (the person who steers and is our eyes and eyes), told us what we were approaching: two boats next to each other. She yelled, “We’re going to split them and go right up the middle!” She hollered to both coxswains to move aside as we were overtaking (which means we have the right of way). They must have moved further apart because the next thing I noticed from my peripheral vision was two other 8-man boats, one on each side of us, come into view. Then they seemed to fall behind us and disappear like we had jumped to hyperspace in Star Wars. It was incredible to “split” two boats like that without a single clash of oars with either boat. That was a surgical steering job from our coxswain. We passed many more boats and due to congestion at one point we had to stop rowing to avoid a boat collision. In the end, we finished as the 9th fastest crew in our race from our initial starting position #51.

Last weekend I rowed with Chinook Performance Racing at the 4-day US Rowing Masters National Championships. Each race was 1,000-meter “sprint” which can last between 3 minutes to 5 minutes depending on type of boat, number of rowers, and wind conditions. Here the boats are lined up and it’s the first to the finish line. On the first day, I had my single scull race. It was a heat and the top three would go to the semifinal and top three go to the final. I came in third in my first Masters Nationals in the final and in my second Masters Nationals I got through to the final but the final race was canceled due to thunderstorms. I had trained hard and had high expectations. In my heat of the single scull, I had a bad day and didn’t even qualify for the semifinal. I was bummed. I explained to my daughters that the most important thing was that I had prepared and followed a training program and never quit along the way because I didn’t feel like it. It was a good teaching moment. But there was more racing to come.

I had the following day off and the next day I had two boat races: 8-man boat and mixed quad sculls (2 women and 2 men each person rowing with two oars). The 8-man boat started at a semifinal and we qualified for the final. In the final, we won gold by less than one second. It was a barn-burner of a race and Lesleh was our coxswain whose years of expertise was apparent. In the mixed quad, we progressed nicely from the heat to the semifinal then to the final. In the final sprint, we were in bronze position when one of our crewmates had an oar problem that slowed us down and we ended up fifth. I wasn’t disappointed. For me, it was more important to reassure my boat mate that early in everyone’s rowing career (this person had only been rowing a year) this kinda thing happens. I explained that at next year’s Masters Nationals there will be twice the experience and will be improved by light years – as happens during everyone’s learning curve of rowing. My crewmate was reassured and that was more important than a piece of metal. After five races I felt remarkably good as I had developed a recovery ritual that I do after every race in preparation to put my body through the grind of another 1,000-meter race again. It seemed to work.

There was an amazing comradery that I discovered at our Chinook tent which was like base camp at Everest only much hotter since it was Massachusetts in August. There were 70+ rowers, women and men, who had their own races. Everyone was recovering from her or his own races using their own ritual. Perhaps the most important thing about rowing is relationships. It is what Chinook’s foundation is. The four women who started the team, Lesleh Wright Anderson, Nancy Dynan, Deb Davis, and Merida Scully were friends first and a rowing crew (in some way shape or form) second. Their relationship to each other bears a lot of weight on each and every crew they race in together. That has permeated the team.

Under the Chinook tent and shade of those green tall bushy trees that swayed in the breeze is where I got to know many others on the team and their families. The other thing that I learned there was that families are extremely important to the rowers – just like my family is so vital to me. Many of the women and men rowers have children and families that they are managing all while committing to this rigorous training. It is quite extraordinary. It was fascinating to pause and reflect on the unique experience that I was part of: regardless of what the team did in their occupation back home, during this event everyone was just as focused on the racing as an elite athlete. That was no surprise considering everyone had been seriously training for months for this regatta (which the team does for all its regattas). It was very social while we were milling about in the protective shade of the tent and trees. Back in college the atmosphere was so intense between races, but here in the “masters world of rowing” it was much more relaxed off the water. Thus is was enjoyable. The same observation was shared by some women I met on the team there. It was a phenomenal organizational feat by Lesleh our leader to put together who was rowing with who and in what events. Chinook didn’t forfeit one race despite all the racing happening each day with all of us. I joked that she could be a general in the military and she said Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, once told her that too.

The final day of the Championships had another five races in store for me: mixed 8 (4 women and 4 men), younger 8-man boat, and a mixed 4 (two women and two men). Our mixed 8 was stroked by Caryn Davies, an extraordinary athlete and highly accomplished 6′ 4” lady who won a Silver in the 8-woman boat at the Athens Olympics and Golds in Beijing and London Olympics in the 8-woman boat. It was an honor to be in her boat. We won our semifinal and went on to win the final. After that race, I had the other 8-man boat, but almost all of us had just raced about 30 minutes prior and we placed fourth. We rowed as hard as we could, but our bodies didn’t have the power that comes from a longer recovery. Nonetheless, I was proud of our effort since I know not many crews could give it their all in that situation the way we did. Our mixed 4 semifinal went well and we got through to the final – that last race of the day for Chinook. The other man in the boat was a fellow former UCLA rower who stroked the boat. It was a brutal headwind and we fought our way down the course to cross the line with a bronze. We had been thoroughly drained by the many days of heavy racing. Medals aside, I felt it was a personal accomplishment to have done what I did with five races in back to back days. I never had such a draining experience in my years of elite college rowing that was one race a day.

Chinook had also won the trophy for the most points of all the teams entered (based on boats that medaled and get to the final) – a first for this young organization. It was truly the epitome of teamwork – which is what rowing is about – working together to accomplish a common goal. It’s never too late for someone to learn to row and to join a club and, if desired, compete in races. I feel fortunate to have found Chinook even though my road there was filled with plenty of ups and downs. But then again that’s life – filled with ups and downs – and rowing certainly prepares one to weather those storms that we all face at various times.

My twin 10-year-old daughters come to almost every regatta with my wife and I use my up and down rowing experiences that they witness as “teaching moments.” I don’t know if they will ever pursue this sport (one loves basketball, the other adores volleyball), but hopefully what they see their dad go through in rowing will help them handle the hurdles of their life journeys. As one educator I know says, “You can’t prepare the path for your child, but you can prepare your child for the path.”

4 Daily Activities That Keratoconus Affects

Being diagnosed early with Keratoconus can mean minimal symptoms, as it progresses daily activities may become hindered. In the early stages of Keratoconus, one may be experiencing blurred vision, dry eyes, eye prescription changes, and night vision loss.  Living with these conditions can cause many psychological issues such as anxiety and depression. Patients are finding the freedom from glasses and contact lenses through new treatment for Keratoconus. The treatments Holcomb C3-R and Intacs  have been effective in returning daily activities to patients with mild to moderate stages of KC caused over the years. Below are some daily activities that can be challenging. As a result of these symptoms, getting through everyday life will take some life style adjustments.

1. Watching TV

woman watching tv

Watching television with keratoconus can cause strain to the eye which can lead to headaches, burning and stinging and neck or back pain. The LED light from the television also affects eye strain.

2. Night Driving

driving at night

Driving at night could be very dangerous due to halos and glares in the road. Patients with Keratoconus should plan their day out so they can avoid having to drive at night. Carpooling with colleagues or friends will ease the worry of getting stuck driving at night.

3. Outdoor Adventures

outdoor activities

One of the symptoms of keratoconus is dry eyes, making outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking very difficult to do. The dry air irritates the eyes making them red and painful. Contact wearers have to be especially careful because of the discomfort levels a poorly lubricated eye can cause.

4. Wearing Makeup

Make up is an every day essential for many women, but patients who suffer from keratoconus have to take extra precaution when applying. Good quality products as well as contact lens and eye hygiene is very important and need to be taken into consideration if you plan on applying makeup.

Foods Essential to Your Eye Health

Summer is here and many of us are thinking of ways to stay fit through exercise and healthy eating. We can’t forget that we can improve our vision health by eating better and getting the right amount of vitamins daily as well. There are several foods we eat everyday that can improve your overall eye health.

Listed below are some foods and vitamins that are vital to your eye health:

There are several foods that can help you improve your vision by including them in your daily diet. In addition these foods can assist you in improving your bodies overall function. Take a few minutes to read the list and how they can help improve your vision.

Riboflavin – Vitamin B2

Riboflavin also known as Vitamin B2 provides benefits for your vision but also improves the production of other vitamins which benefit the rest of your body (Vitamin B3- Niacin & Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine). Riboflavin helps the body’s cells produce energy from our intake of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Foods with Riboflavin:

• Spinach
• Mushrooms
• Pasta (Egg noodles)
• Milk
• Cottage Cheese
• Pork
• Fish including (Trout, Squid, Salmon)
• Cuttlefish – Contains highest amount of Riboflavin – (1.3 mg per serving)

EFA – Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids are not just important to your eye health but your body’s overall health because the body doesn’t naturally produce them. Ensuring that they are a part of your diet regularly is important to your body.

There are two types of essential fatty acids:


Omega-3s are found in breast milk and are essential to our early development. Omega-3s also help protect vision from conditions like macular degeneration, and even Ery Eye syndrome. EFAs or essential fatty acids are also known to help drain intraocular fluid which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and risk of Glaucoma.

Foods- (with Omega-3s)

• Tuna
• Herring
• Sardines
• Salmon

Recommended amounts would be 2 serving per week.


While Omega-6 can’t be produced by our bodies, it is in a lot of the foods we already eat regularly. In fact, most of us get too much Omega-6 so it is not often recommended to eat additional amounts with our daily diet. Of the EFAs, it is recommended that your focus be on Omega-3s.

To see a news segment about foods that are good for the eyes, as well as other helpful summer eye health tips, watch below.

Top 3 Reasons to Improve Your Eye Sight Before Your Next Sporting Event

Are you an avid athlete and it seems your timing is getting a bit off? This is a common problem when it comes to vision and it may be an easy fix for those with a desire to keep playing. Getting regular exams can help diagnose vision problems before they get out of hand. Improving something as small as a slight nearsightedness can improve your game immensely. Injury to the eye is one of the most common sports-related accidents in the US.

Why? It’s simple! When playing hockey for example, you need to see the puck coming before it gets too close. If you have even a slight problem with nearsightedness you may not see it until it’s too late. There are several treatment options that can give you sharper vision without keeping you off the ice for too long.

Below are 3 more reasons you should visit your eye care professional before your next game:


One of the more commonly under- and mis-diagnosed eye conditions is Keratoconus. Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition that causes blurry vision, worsening night vision, and even glares/halos. It is important to have your eyes examined if you have a family history are seeing symptoms of Keratoconus. Due to the progressive nature of this disease, early diagnosis and treatment is key!


This is a common condition that can cause difficulty because you can’t see the ball, puck, or player quickly enough for you to react. This can put you at major risk for trauma to the eyes or other parts of the body. Imagine you are playing soccer and your teammate tries to pass you the ball – if you can’t react quickly enough, there is a large chance you will miss the play.

As the vision worsens, so does the danger of being injured. It can be treated easily now with advanced technology and improved treatments for vision correction.


When playing sports it is important to have good reflexes and excellent peripheral vision. When you have astigmatism your peripheral vision is impaired and can cause you to have unnecessary injury.

These accidents can cause damage to the cornea, detached retinas, and even immediate loss of vision after impact. It is important to get treated for any vision correction especially if you are an athlete before you next game! Watch Matthew’s story by clicking the image below – his dreams of transitioning from an amateur Mixed Martial Arts fighter to a professional came one step closer after his PRK vision correction surgery with Dr. Brian.



How Vitamins Can Impact Your Everyday Vision

Vitamins are important to your vision just as much as they are to your overall health. There are several types of vitamins available but not all contribute specifically to your vision health. Things like fish oil, and antioxidants can be very beneficial to your overall eye health, but other vitamins may not have an effect on your eyes. It is important to understand which vitamins may benefit you and why they work.


Antioxidants are free radicals that help improve the entire immune system. They help our bodies fight off colds, flu, and infections that make us sick.

Below are more overall benefits of antioxidants:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces risk of heart attacks/strokes
  • Hydrates skin
  • Repairs skin tissues

When it comes to our vision and overall eye health antioxidants support critical functions of the eye, and help to increase our resistance to diseases. Antioxidants also help your body when it comes to age-related eye conditions and reduce your overall risk by 25%. Antioxidant supplements can also help reduce overall vision loss by 19% according to the Nation Eye Institute.

Optimal Eye is a supplemental vitamin that can help you reduce risk of developing cataracts and improve your overall eye function.

Other Supplements: Fish Oil/Flaxseed Oil

Other supplements like Fish and Flaxseed Oils help with conditions like coronary artery disease, reducing chances of cardiac disease, and is a great source of unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 fatty acids can also help protect adults from developing Macular Degeneration, Dry Eye, and even Glaucoma. These supplements when taken daily can protect your overall vision and improve your chances of reduced vision loss.

For those of you who want more information on the Optimal Health products such as Optimal Eye, and Optimal Flax, visit


How Can You Ensure Your Child’s Eyes Are Protected?

There are many reasons we fail to see vision problems in our children. With toddlers it is extremely difficult because they are just learning to communicate and don’t always realize that they are having issues. Older children are sometimes embarrassed, or merely think if they sit closer they will be fine. The good news is there are some things that can help you identify when they have problems.

If you or your family members have vision problems the likelihood that your children will is greater. It is wise to get them routine eye exams to be safe and for early detection of eye conditions. Our children can get eye exams as early as 18 months. These eye exams will help your children have a better chance at treatment and ensure that they have a healthy visual experience. Below are a few signs to help detect problems with your child’s vision.

  • They squint when watching TV
  • They have to sit more than 4 feet from the TV to see
  • They get frequent headaches during or after reading
  • Their eyes water frequently
  • They frequently rub their eyes
  • They blink frequently or not enough

For children who are suffering academically, vision issues could be a big part of it. Ensuring that your children are getting correct vision care will help them be confident when answering questions, reading the board, and doing their school work. Education is more important than ever and we want to give children the best advantages possible.

Vision correction can change both your life and the life of your children whether it’s by getting new glasses/contacts or vision correction surgery. Watch how ICL, a vision correction procedure, changed Remy’s life.

Are You Curious About LipiFlow®?

Top 4 Benefits of LipiFlow®

Is your Dry Eye effecting your everyday life? Getting tired of using the “No more tears?” or the “Get the red out” drops? LipiFlow® is a great new procedure that can help relieve your dry, itchy, irritated eyes. LipiFlow® helps you improve your Dry Eye by treating the root cause of this issue instead of providing temporary relief like over-the-counter products do. If your Dry Eye is caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) or Blepharitis, you need to look into this amazing treatment.

Benefits of the LipiFlow® Treatment:

  • Proven Effectiveness: LipiFlow® has been proven to work. More than 70% of patients who received the LipiFlow® treatment have experienced improvements within 4 weeks.
  • Easy procedure designed by Experts: The LipiFlow® treatment can be done right in your doctor’s office. This treatment is so quick and easy that is can even be performed the same day as your evaluation in some cases. The LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System is used to add heat to the Meibomian gland of the eye which becomes unblocked and allows the glands to start producing oils that lubricate the eye again.
  • The Experience of TearScience®, the makers of LipiFlow®: The TearScience® Technology is on top in the research of Dry Eye, it has over 10 years of research experience and understands the science behind Dry Eye The company has studied the effects of dry eye on its patients and how it impacts their lives giving them the relief they need with their new LipiFlow® system. This was no easy development – one of the Co-Founders of TearScience® has been researching Dry Eye for over 30 years!

Dry Eye Symptoms:

For those of you who have dealt with Dry Eye, you understand how devastating the symptoms are and how they impact your everyday life. For those who have not been diagnosed with Dry Eye Syndrome, below are a few symptoms to help you identify if Dry Eye is causing your discomfort.

  • Itching
  • Watering
  • Burning
  • Scratching
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Blurred Vision

If you are like Susan, who was seeking relief in traditional methods such as hot compresses, medications, etc. with no relief, you owe it to yourself to look into other options – which may include LipiFlow ®. To hear about her almost 40-year struggle with Dry Eye Blepharitis, click on the image below.