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On Vacation But Can’t Get Away | Long Island Eye Doctor

Joel Kestenbaum, OD

I recently took a vacation to New Mexico, visiting Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Los Alamos and other surrounding areas.  It’s a beautiful part of this great country with new visual experiences around every corner.  Each day brought a different and enlightening appreciation for my training as an optometrist.

On day one, while I was relaxing at the swimming pool, I struck up a conversation with a Los Angeles couple whose five year old daughter was swimming with them.  I noticed that the parents were wearing prescription sunglasses but the child was not wearing sunglasses at all.  Our conversation led the parents to the realization that they needed to be more aware of their child’s visual well being. They were unaware that 80% of learning was through the eyes.  They were unaware that 80% of a person’s lifetime visual exposure to ultraviolet light comes before the age of 18. They were unaware of the long term effects UV light has on eye health.  They were going home and would make an appointment for their child with an eye doctor, her first and most important appointment.

Day 2 was actually an eye opener for me.  Having left my prescription glasses in my hotel room, I left to do a day’s worth of shopping with my wife carrying only my polarized sunglasses.   Sunglasses are a necessity when you are in the desert.  But when you are going in and out of store after store after store you soon realize that having your transitions eyeglasses with you is just as important.  Transitions lenses change from light to dark depending on the amount of UV exposure.  Indoors they are clear and would have allowed me to see more efficiently while shopping.  Yes, even eye doctors forget to take their glasses with them on occasion.  And by the way, I really do not like shopping.

Traveling through the mountains and desert in New Mexico on Day 3, I truly appreciated my polarized sunglasses.   My preference is Maui Jim sunglasses because of the way this lens minimizes reflections coming from the lens itself.  Mine are prescription but they are available as non-prescription as well.  We arrived in Taos after a detour to Bandelier National Monument and Los Alamos, the home of the atom bomb.  The color and contours of the mountains can only be appreciated by those who have good visual quality.  Unfortunately, there are many travelers who don’t realize they are not seeing well because they have not had their eyes examined.  If you know one or more of these people, enlighten them about the importance of an eye examination.

This is what I do when I am not in the office.  I travel and I think eyes. I love my time off yet I am constantly reminded of why I became an optometrist.  That is, to directly or indirectly help people see their best so they can see the world too.  Enjoy your time off when you get some.   In the meantime, have your eyes and those of a loved one examined.

Perhaps we will see each other on our next vacation.

Joel Kestenbaum, OD

image credit Kamal H


  1. It’s always amazing to me to think that people aren’t thinking about protecting their eyes with sun glasses. People slather on the sun screen but forget about proper eye protection.

    As for the wearing the sun glasses in a store, that totally just happened to me the other day. Luckily, I just left my normal glasses in the car.

    I love the blog!
    .-= Ryan´s last blog ..A Cautionary Tale- Double Check the Labels =-.

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