Volume 09 | July
From Stone Age to Computers

When we look at the evolutionary timetable, it wasn’t that long ago that humans were hunter-gatherers, using their distance vision to find food or avoid being eaten.  I remember well when the Apple II computer was introduced.  It was 1977 and I had been in practice for three years.  I purchased our first office computer, called Kaypro, a few years later and that was followed by an Apple Macintosh. In just forty years, we’ve become a digital society with most people, including children, spending at least several hours a day on a digital device, whether it be an iPhone or a check-out screen at the grocery counter. So if our eyes were used for  millions of years to scan the horizon for danger, is it any wonder that eye strain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes are more common than ever? We at Chicopee Eyecare try to stay on top of  innovation to help combat the above conditions.  However, as we’ve said in previous newsletters, taking periodic breaks and spending more time outdoors can go a long way towards alleviating much of the eye strain we often experience by the end of the day.

Please like us on Facebook  and  subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can watch Dr. Momnie insert a contact lens on a six month old baby or Dr. Guzek-Latka discuss diabetes and how it affects the eyes, all at Chicopee Eyecare, P.C.   Thank you again for choosing our office.  Our goal is to safeguard your eyes and help you achieve a lifetime of clear and comfortable vision.
                                                   David C. Momnie, O.D.                                                                                                          Camille Guzek-Latka, O.D.
                                                 Julianne M. Rapalus, O.D.                                                   

Don’t lose an eye
from sparklers, spinners or snappers.

I recall my answering service calling me in the middle of the night many years ago.  A firecracker exploded prematurely and my patient’s friend couldn't open his right eye. I got to the office about 2:30 a.m, greeting my new patient in the parking lot.  The fortyish man had a serious eye injury requiring surgery. I’ll skip the gory details and cut to the chase.  I treated the eye with medications and a patch and made arrangements the next morning with a local eye surgeon who was on call that weekend.  He was able to save the eye.



  Fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts but according to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System, there have been 826 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks in the last decade. And those are just the cases that hospital emergency rooms reported.  I suspect my patient’s incident was never reported. The State Fire Marshal recently said “Children imitate adults.  If you use fireworks, children will copy you, not realizing how very dangerous fireworks are.”


Leave fireworks lighting to trained professionals and if you do suffer an injury due to fireworks, seek help immediately and avoid rubbing the eyes.  

Solar Eclipse August 21

We know this is the third month in a row where we talk about the upcoming solar eclipse.  But the eclipse we’re going to experience on August 21 may never occur again in your lifetime, certainly if you’re my age.  And viewing it incorrectly can damage your eyes permanently. It’s one of the most spectacular naturally occurring events in the world and it’s going to be hard not to keep your eyes glued to it. So, go ahead and look, but first get yourself a pair of solar eclipse glasses.  All you need to remember are that the glasses are CE certified and they meet the international standard for ISO 12312-2.

Your mother’s advice as a child was, “don’t stare at the sun” but on this August 21 with a proper pair of protective glasses, you’re allowed to stare away and enjoy this spectacular event.

Minnesota Vikings coach-from a corneal 
   abrasion to a detached retina

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, 60, spoke recently about the eight operations on his right eye in the last several months.  He saw his eye doctor for a corneal abrasion (a scratched eye) and by chance the doctor found a retinal tear which was treated with a laser.  Unfortunately, despite treatment the tear progressed to a retinal detachment.  That surgery involved placing an oxygen bubble in the eye to put pressure on the retina.  As a result of the multiple surgeries in that eye, he subsequently developed a cataract.  Another bubble with oil was placed in the eye and that was followed by an eye pressure spike to 47 (normal is about15).  Zimmer was forced to avoid flying because elevation changes of more than a thousand feet could be detrimental to the eye.  The coach was told by his eye surgeon on his last visit that “the retina looked perfect; it was totally attached everywhere” and there were no weak spots.
The symptoms of a detached retina are a sudden onset of floaters and flashing lights.  Most of us have noticed an occasional floater, appearing like a bug or a hair, move over our line of sight and some people are quite bothered by a persistent floater.  However, any sudden onset of flashes and  floaters warrants an exam to rule out a detached retina.

Diabetes Docs told to Watch Their Language 

In a recent issue of Medpage Today, Cheryl Clark discussed the topic of language with diabetic patients. The “Joint Consensus Statement on the Use of Language in Diabetes” published guidelines and words on the no-no list include “uncontrolled,” “non-adherent,” and any “ic” words (like “diabetic”)which make patients feel disrespected and hopeless.  “Language conveys meaning and can reflect bias that will affect outcomes, even when you’re not aware of it.” Said Susan Guzman, PhD.  A doctor’s tone of voice may send message to a patient that diabetes is a result of a flaw in character or a lack of personal responsibility. Here are a couple of recommendations that use neutral and non-judgmental words that we as optometrists might want to use:
Instead of saying “your diabetes is not in good control” say “your recent A1C level is 8.5.  That is above your target goal of 7.0.”  Or instead of saying “diabetics who suffer from hypertension should follow a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet,” say “people with diabetes who also have hypertension may benefit from learning about the DASH approach to meal planning.”

Dressmakers have the best vision!  

In a recent study that tested the vision of people in various professions, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that dressmakers have superior stereoscopic vision, also called 3-D vision.  If you’ve ever gone to the movies and donned a pair of red-green or polarized glasses, you were using stereoscopic vision to watch the movie in 3-D.  Apparently, dressmakers need exceptional 3-D vision to repair tiny holes and to delicately stitch seams. ( I would think surgeons and airplane pilots would have been on the top of the list!)  About 10% of the population lacks depth perception according to Dr. Rebecca Taylor, a Nashville eye surgeon who performs corrective surgery for eyes that don’t align properly.  Amblyopia or “lazy eye” results from an eye not used during the developmental years and needs to be corrected during childhood if stereopsis is to develop normally.


At Chicopee Eyecare, we use corrective glasses, patching (over the good eye to force the lazy eye to work), eye exercises and referral to an eye surgeon when necessary to avoid amblyopia and encourage normal stereoscopic vision development.

Case In The Month
This month’s case of the month is a patient who presented to our office last week with a small chip of rusted metal embedded in the cornea of his right eye.  He had been working on his car muffler without wearing safety glasses.  In the picture above, our intern Bhavithra is holding a pair of safety glasses from a local hardware store that cost less than $10.  In her other hand is an Alger Brush, a small battery operated drill that one of our doctors used to remove the piece of metal.  The procedure wasn’t painful for the patient but required three office visits and a trip to the pharmacy for a prescription, all of which cost him more than $10.  Whether you’re using a power tool, a grinding wheel or even a lawn trimmer, always remember to don protective eyewear when there is a chance of your eyes exposed to a foreign body. 
We were able to restore vision in this patient’s left eye 

We recently restored vision in the left eye of a patient who was so bothered by blurred vision in that eye that we was ready to wear a patch over the eye all waking hours.  Watch this short video as he tells his story of seeing out of his left eye following being fitted with a scleral lens.   

Archived Newsletters
Happy Fourth of July
July 4th
Chicopee Eyecare provides "24/7" coverage for  emergency eye care  for our patients.

We recommend that you do not go to the emergency room for an eye injury or acute eye problem unless it is very serious.   Drs. Momnie, Guzek-Latka and Rapalus keep slots open for urgent care visits for new and established patients during normal office hours, and provide around-the clock emergency coverage for our established patients for after-hours and  weekends. Call 592-7777 before calling your PCP or visiting a hospital ER!

Office Hours
We are available when you need us 
Our office and optical department are open during the following hours:

Monday                  9:00 am - 5:30 pm

Tuesday                 9:00 am - 5:30pm

Wednesday            9:00 am - 5:30pm

Thursday                9:00 am - 6:30pm

Friday                     9:00 am - 5:30 pm

Saturday                Closed July and August  

Sunday                  Closed

One of our doctors is always available for emergencies on nights, weekends and holidays.   Call (413) 592-7777 and our answering service will put you in touch  with an on-call optometrist.

"The people in this office are committed to providing you with the highest quality of eye care and to t reating you with kindness and respect."  
If you would like to share any feedback or comments please email us at   info@chicopeeeyecare.com
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Chicopee Eyecare · 113 Center Street · Chicopee, MA 01013 · (413) 592-7777 info@chicopeeeyecare.com
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