Charles Bittel III, O.D., Inc.

Charles Bittel III,O.D.,Inc. Newsletter

UV and the Eye

March 2014
Charles Bittel III, O.D., Inc.


Well hello again! Are we really already 3 months into 2014? Every year I vow to do monthly newsletters, and then Summer hits, and then kids go back to school, and then it's the holidays, and then all of a sudden it's almost Spring and I haven't written a newsletter in 6 months! I suppose I could have an online service send out a generic monthly newsletter, but where's the fun in that???
This month is going to be full of exciting announcements that we'll post on our Facebook page. If you don't like us on FB yet click the "Like us" button below to stay up to date. If you do like us on FB already, you've hopefully seen that we're carrying the brand new line of TOMS optical frames that just launched last month. The frame sales are One for One just like the shoes so for every TOMS frame we sell, either a pair of glasses or money for ocular surgery is donated to lower socioeconomic communities, both in the United States and abroad. And it doesn't hurt that so far the men's and women's frame styles have been a hit!
Another exciting announcement is that Dr. Chi, our Saturday doctor for the last 6 months, is now going to also be in the office with me a few Friday mornings a month. Thanks to all of you referring friends and family and leaving great Yelp reviews, we're busier than ever and thankfully Dr. Chi can help us out so that you won't have to wait as long to get an exam. If you haven't met or heard about Dr. Chi yet, please check out her bio on our website
And speaking of those who are kind enough to refer your family and friends, we're partnering with an AMAZING new app that will help us keep track of and properly thank all of you who help us grow as a small business every day. The app isn't launching until later this month so that's all I can say about that for now. 
Well, most of you know that I do some speaking for Vistakon (Acuvue) throughout the year. But you might not know that Vistakon is the only contact lens company to put UV blocking properties into every product they manufacture. So I've been talking a lot about UV and the eye lately, so I wanted to make that the subject of our first newsletter of 2014.
Happy reading! And if you still haven't seen our new website or left a Yelp review or liked us on Facebook, we'd LOVE it if you would do so! 



Dr. Charlie Bittel (Junior)
Dr. Chuck Bittel (Senior)
and Staff

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In This Issue
Featured Article
UV and the EYE

I'm sure you all know that UV exposure is not a good thing. Almost everybody considers UV and its effect on the skin, but not everybody thinks about UV and the eye. There are a number of UV related conditions that we're looking for every time we look at your eye with a microscope or review your digital retinal images. 
Basal cell carcinoma is common in the area around the eyes, specifically the eyelids, eyelid margins (where the eyelid meets the eye) and even on the nose. Pinguecula are growths that can either look like a thickening of the white part of the eye or they can even take on a yellowish appearance. These are VERY common in our patients that grew up on Southern California and are rarely problematic except when the get irritated and inflamed.  
Pterygium are similar growths but a bit more dramatic in appearance as they are growing onto the cornea which gives them the appearance of growing over the colored part of the eye. They are prone to irritation and inflammation as well, and are occasionally surgically removed, especially if chronically irritated or growing too far onto the surface of the eye. 
UV has also been proven to accelerate cataract formation and likely plays a role in macular degeneration. You can even get solar keratitis, or basically a sunburn of the eye, by extreme acute exposure to UV, typically when on the water or snow without proper protection.
The best overall UV protection for the eyes are sunglasses. The fact that larger frames are back in style has been great as larger frames cover more area and therefore provide more protection to the area around the eyes. Athletic frames or frames with "wrap" also provide a good amount of coverage. Most sunglasses should provide proper UV coverage, ideally 100% UVA and UVB protection. I'm confident all designer or name brand sunglasses provide proper protection. I hope that all sunglasses sold at a reputable establishment, such as Target or WalMart, provide proper protection as I'm assuming that these corporations do not want to expose themselves to litigation. The only sunglasses I'm not so sure about are those sold in a swap meet type environment. Even if they have the little stickers on the lenses, I'm not sure if anyone is monitoring the quality of the lenses that the stickers are going on. A poor quality pair of sunglasses is almost worse than no sunglasses at all, as the tint will cause the pupil to dilate behind the lens and possibly expose the eye to even more UV if the lens is not properly blocking the UV.
While sunglasses are probably the best overall form of UV protection, even clear glasses can filter UV radiation. The majority of the lenses that we prescribe are made of a material called polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a plastic that is thin, light, impact resistant, and comes with UV blocking properties. We put all patients under 18 years of age in polycarbonate lenses, mainly for the impact resistance, but the UV protection is a nice added benefit.
And as I mentioned in the introduction, even some contact lenses are manufactured with UV blocking properties. Not only are the Acuvue lenses very comfortable on most patients, but they are also Class 1 or Class 2 UV blockers. They are not meant to be a replacement for sunglasses as they do not cover all parts of the eye, but if someone is outside and unable to wear sunglasses based on whatever activity they are engaged in, it's nice to have a UV blocking contact lens to help protect the cornea and the internal structures of the eye.
Kids and UV
Kids and teenagers are actually more susceptible to UV radiation than adults. Not only are they typically outside more often than adults, but they also have larger pupils and the crystalline lens in the eye that helps filter UV does not reach adult levels of UV filtration until the early to mid-20's. An observational study done on the beach in Honolulu, HI, showed that while only 42% of adults were wearing sunglasses, a meager 12% of kids were wearing sunglasses. So again, while sunglasses are the best overall form of UV protection, they only work when they're on, and that's why we try to fit our patients with a UV blocking contact lens whenever possible, especially when it comes to kids and teenagers.
I can guarantee that almost all of us would put on sunscreen when lounging on the beach in Hawaii. But sunscreen tends to not feel so great in the eyes and even on cloudy days, 80% of UV radiation is penetrating the cloud cover. So let's make sure we're protecting our eyes with some form of optical correction whenever we're outside. 



About Us

Dr. Chuck Bittel (Senior) has been practicing in Yorba Linda for over 30 years. His son, Dr. Charlie Bittel III (Junior) has been practicing in Yorba Linda for the last 8 years and took over the practice in December 2012. The business has continued to grow through referrals of family and friends so we are always honored to see your loved ones and feel free to give us a Yelp if you see fit!


Learn more about Dr. Bittel Senior and Junior and about their practice on their website and Facebook page. 


For appointments call 714-779-8521 or email:

Charles Bittel, O.D., Inc.
20399 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Yorba Linda, California 92886