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Fresh Lenses, Clear Eyes

Have you ever left your soft contact lenses in for longer than you’re supposed to? It’s a basic fact that lots of things are a whole lot better when they are fresh. It’s no surprise that the same also applies to your contacts. It’s a bad idea to leave your lenses in your eyes for longer than you’re supposed to. Despite that fact that it might seem okay, if you want your eyes to see their very best, don’t ignore the lens timetable given to you by your optometrist. So, if your optician tells you to change them monthly, then change them every month, because they can’t withstand extended wear.

You might ask, would it be so bad if I got a few additional days out of them? To better comprehend this, let’s talk about protein – and not the kind inside your burger, but the natural protein that is a main component of the tears and eye fluids that gathers over time on the surface of your lenses and creates a mild haze. Foggy vision is only the first symptom.

Eventually these proteins transform and trick your immune system into thinking the formation is something foreign, and this can lead to inflammation in the eye. Which means you won’t be seeing your best. External elements like pollen or dust can also build up on the lens, which also makes vision blurry. But even when people take great care of their contacts, as time passes, they’ll become less smooth and clear, due to normal wear and tear.

So basically, it’s best to stick to the routine your optometrist advises for you. Nobody has the same eyes, so only your optometrist should decide on the correct contact lens replacement routine for you. When you replace your contact lenses when you’re told to, you will never even see the difference that is so obvious when you overwear them.

A Vision of Back-To-School

The new school year is coming up fast, and parents and students are getting ready to embark on new adventures and experiences. But this is also a reminder to parents that good eyesight is possibly the most important school supply your child may not have. A good education for children doesn’t just mean good schools, good teachers and good friends. Good vision is just as important. Dr. Jason Glenn in Lexington, KY explains, “Your child’s eyes are his/her gateway into the world of learning. When your child’s vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. Children are not likely to recognize vision problems or report them, and it is therefore the responsibility of parents and teachers to recognize signs of visual problems in their children.”

There is a basic set of vision skills that are needed for school. The first is near vision. This is the ability to see clearly at a distance of about 10-13 inches. This is obviously important for reading, writing and close work at your child’s desk. Distance vision, the ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm’s reach, is also important in order to see the board in the classroom, and Binocular coordination, or the ability to use both eyes together, is important for extra-curricular activities. Both are vision skills needed to be successful in school. Additionally, focusing skills, peripheral awareness and eye-hand coordination are also important. As a parent, it is your job to be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision or visual processing problem. A few examples of common conditions that may effect your child’s ability to learn are below:

If your child gets headaches while trying to read or do other close work, exhibits a short attention span during visual tasks, and/or has to use a finger to guide reading, it is possible your child may have a condition called convergence insufficiency. This is a condition in which the eyes have a hard time converging on a certain point close up. This may also cause the words to “jump” or “blur” when your child attempts to read.

You may also find that your child’s eyes do not seem to move together, that the eyes do not face the same direction, and/or that your child tilts his/her head or squints in order to see better. This could indicate a condition called Strabismus. This results from muscles in one or both eyes being misaligned or underdeveloped. This can cause severe difficulty for your child, and may cause more significant problems, including loss of depth perception, if not treated promptly. Dr. Glenn adds, “Other symptoms to look out for that may signal vision related problems are difficulty remembering or identifying shapes, difficulty remembering what was read, excessive blinking or rubbing of his/her eyes, or placing his/her head very close to the book or desk when reading or writing”.

Because changes in your child’s vision can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the eye doctor every year or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist. Remember, school vision or pediatrician’s screenings are good, but they are not a substitute for a thorough eye exam.

Vision Wellness in the Workplace

To enlighten businesses and their workers about the necessity of eye health, and to provide safety tips on how to prevent vision-endangering eye incidents, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has set aside the month of March as Workplace Vision Wellness Month.

Every day, workers suffer from job related eye injuries that require the attention of an eye care professional or doctor. Safety experts and healthcare professionals believe the two most prevalent reasons that employees get eye injuries is either because they fail to use anything to shield their eyes or they are using the incorrect type of eye protection.

High risk jobs for eye injuries include building, manufacturing, mining, woodwork, car and truck repair, electrical work, plumbing, welding and general maintenance.

Protection for your Eyes

Your eye care professional can help you evaluate potential eye dangers at work and determine the optimal type of eye protection for you.

Often, workplaces possess multiple dangers and using the correct eye protection must take all potential risks into consideration.
People working with chemicals should wear goggles, while if you work in a place where there are flying objects or particles, pick safety glasses that have shields along the sides too.
For those who work close to dangerous radiation when welding, working with lasers, or fiber optics requires the use of special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or helmets designed just for your kind of work.

Healthy Screen Vision

Those who spend a lot of time working on computers or using hand held devices are also at higher risk of discomfort such as blurred vision, headaches and eye strain. Due to the increase in the use of computers in every day life, these dangers are becoming increasingly prevalent.

Here are a few helpful ways to prevent eye strain and visual discomfort when working on a computer or using a hand held device:

Learn the 20-20-20 rule to give your eyes a rest. At every 20 minute interval take a 20 second break to look at something about 20 feet in the distance. If you’re using a hand-held device, enlarge the text so you can use it at a distance more comfortable for your eyes.

Additionally try to keep the brightness of your screen to a comfortable resolution and position your screen just below eye level to be less of a strain on your eyes. You may also want to consider purchasing computer glasses.

For more information about protecting your vision at your workplace, please contact us today!

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness

February has been dedicated by Prevent Blindness America to spreading knowledge about age related macular degeneration (AMD) and low vision.

Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the primary causes of vision loss in adults over 65. AMD is characterized by a deterioration of the macula of the retina which is responsible for sharp vision in the center of your field of view.

Could it be AMD?

The first symptoms of AMD include blurriness or dark spots in the central vision. Because the vision loss usually happens gradually without any pain, signs may not be detected until the disease has reached a later stage. For this reason every individual over 65 years of age should be sure to schedule a routine eye exam regularly.

Risk Factors for AMD

If you are a Caucasian over the age of 65, who smokes, is obese and has high blood pressure or has family members that have had AMD, you are at greater risk of developing the disease. If you are at greater risk, yearly eye examinations are a must. Speaking to your eye doctor about proper nutrition which includes green leafy vegetables, vitamins such as C, E, Beta-carotene (Vitamin A), and zinc, which are all antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, can also help reduce your risk of vision loss.

Wet vs. Dry Macular Degeneration

AMD is divided into two forms, wet or dry. The dry form is more commonplace and is thought to be a result of advanced age and macular tissue thinning or a build-up of pigment in the macula. Wet macular degeneration, referred to as neovascular age related macular degeneration, is caused when new blood vessels grow beneath the retina which seep blood and fluid, which destroys the retinal cells and causes blind spots in the central vision. Typically the wet form is the more serious of the two.

Is There a Cure for Macular Degeneration?

Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are treatments that can delay the progression. Depending on whether one has dry or wet AMD the course of treatment may involve nutritional supplements, laser surgery or medical injections. For any treatment to succeed, early detection and treatment is critical. An eye doctor will also be able to suggest devices to help you deal with any loss of sight that has already occurred. Such loss of sight that is not able to be improved by standard measures such as eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgical procedures is called low vision. There are quite a few low vision devices that can be used today that can make everyday activities easier.

Learn about the risk factors and symptoms of macular degeneration before it's too late. Visit your optometrist to find out more about AMD and low vision.

Pink, Itchy Eyes? It Could Be Pink Eye

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most frequently encountered eye diseases, particularly with kids. This condition can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even irritation from chlorine in pools, ingredients found in cosmetics, and pollen, or other products that come into contact with your eyes. Some types of conjunctivitis are very communicable and easily spread in school and at the home or office.

Pink eye is seen when the conjunctiva, or thin transparent layer of tissue lining the white part of the eye, gets inflamed. You'll be able to recognize the infection if you notice itching, redness, discharge or inflamed eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes in the morning. Symptoms of pink eye may occur in one or both eyes. The three basic kinds of conjunctivitis are: viral, allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis.

The viral type is usually a result of a similar virus to that which produces the familiar watery and red eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis are likely to be present for a week to two and like other viruses cannot be treated with medication. Applying compresses to your eyes in a dark room may provide some relief. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it's gone, so meanwhile, maintain excellent hygiene, wipe away any discharge and avoid sharing pillowcases or towels. Children who have viral conjunctivitis should be kept home for three days to a week until it clears up.

The bacterial form which is caused by infections such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should see the symptoms disappearing after three or four days of treatment, but always be sure to follow the complete antibiotic prescription to stop the infection from recurring.

Pink eye caused by allergies is not contagious. It occurs more commonly in individuals who already suffer from seasonal allergies or allergies to substances such as pets or dust. The allergic symptoms in the eyes may be just a small part of their overall allergic response. The first step in alleviating conjunctivitis that is due to allergies is to remove or avoid the irritant, when possible. To ease discomfort, try artificial tears or compresses. When the infection is more severe, your optometrist may decide to give you a prescription for an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. When the conjunctivitis persists for an extended period, steroid eye drops could be prescribed.

While conjunctivitis is often a minor condition, there is sometimes a chance it could worsen into a more severe condition. If you have signs of pink eye, be sure to visit your eye doctor in order to decide what the best treatment will be.

Treating Cataracts

In the United States, this month is Cataract Awareness Month. Did you know that cataracts are the leading cause of deteriorating vision among patients who are over 55 years old? Actually, more than fifty percent of those aged 65 or older have at least some cataract development. As reported by the National Eye Institute, by the time they reach 80 years old, in excess of 50% of all Americans will have had a cataract.

A cataract is like a veil in front of the lens in the eye; one that limits or affects the how light enters into the eye. Cataracts are an expected result of aging. Additional risk factors for developing a cataract include ongoing exposure to UV rays from the sun, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, family medical history, steroid use, eye injuries and smoking.

Throughout the early phases of cataract development, stronger lights and eyeglasses can be used to reduce the vision problems you might experience. At a certain point in the future, however, surgery may be the solution to help your vision. More than 9 out of 10 sufferers who have cataract surgery regain great vision.

If you are over 55 years old and experiencing low vision, the time has come to discuss cataracts with your eye doctor. There are treatments available for cataracts, and we know you want to have good vision throughout your golden years.

Keeping Lids Clean

Inflamed eyelids, also referred to as blepharitis, is something that many people suffer from at some point during their lives. It's a commonly occurring eyelid inflammation, usually associated with an already existing bacterial eye infection, some sorts of skin conditions, or dry eyes.

Generally, symptoms include redness, itching, burning, a gritty sensation in the eye, tearing and crusting around the eye. Blepharitis can actually be hard to manage, because it's chronic.

It's helpful to know, however, that there are a number of ways to treat blepharitis and ensure good eyelid hygiene Firstly, apply a warm towel to your closed eyelid to facilitate loosening the crust that may have formed on your eyelids and eyelashes before you go ahead and clean your eyes. The warmth from the compress will also loosen any remaining residue in the glands that secrete oil to your eyelids. When you begin treatment, you will probably need to repeat this several times throughout the day for about 5 minutes every time. Later on, you may only need to apply the compress for about five minutes each day.

This cleaning process is essential to treating blepharitis, so it's best to find a proper eyelid scrub or whatever product your optometrist recommends. You want to carefully massage the outside of your eyelids and wash any residue away when you're done.

Although uncomfortable, blepharitis is not transmittable and in the vast majority of cases, doesn't lead to any permanent damage to your vision, so make an appointment with your O. D. about the most effective way to keep your lids clean and healthy.

Focusing on Astigmatism

The cornea surrounding your iris and pupil is, under normal conditions, round. As light hits your eye, part of the role of your cornea is to project that light, directing it toward the retina, which is in the back of your eye. But what happens when the cornea isn't exactly spherical? The eye can't focus the light properly on a single focus on your retina, and will cause your vision to be blurred. This condition is known as astigmatism.

Astigmatism is a fairly common vision problem, and frequently accompanies other vision errors like nearsightedness or farsightedness. Astigmatism oftentimes occurs during childhood and can cause eye fatigue, headaches and squinting when uncorrected. In children, it may cause obstacles in school, particularly when it comes to highly visual skills such as reading or writing. People working with fine details or at a computer for long periods might experience more difficulty with astigmatism.

Diagnosis of astigmatism starts with a routine eye exam with an eye care professional. Once detected, an automated refraction or a retinoscopy test is performed to calculate the amount of astigmatism. The condition is commonly fixed by contacts or glasses, or refractive surgery, which changes the way that light enters the eye, letting the retina receive the light properly.

Toric lenses are commonly prescribed for astigmatism because they control the way the light bends when it enters the eye. Regular contact lenses have a tendency to move when you blink. With astigmatism, the smallest movement can cause blurred sight. Toric lenses are able to return to the exact same place immediately after you blink. Toric contact lenses are available in soft or hard lenses.

Astigmatism may also be rectified with laser surgery, or by orthokeratology (Ortho-K), a non-surgical procedure that involves the use of special hard lenses to slowly change the shape of the cornea during the night. It's advisable to discuss options with your eye doctor in order to determine what the best option is for your needs.


Astigmatism evolves over time, so make sure that you're frequently making appointments to see your eye doctor for a comprehensive exam. Additionally, be sure that your 'back-to-school' list includes a trip to an eye care professional. Most of your child's schooling (and playing) is largely a function of their vision. You can allow your child get the most of his or her year with a thorough eye exam, which will detect any visual abnormalities before they begin to affect academics, athletics, or other activities.

How Do You Clean Your Contact Lenses?

A study performed by Bausch & Lomb this past summer determined that an alarming number of adults are using dangerous chemicals instead of lens solution to keep their lenses moist. Everything from baby oil, to coke to petroleum jelly was reportedly used as a substitute to actual lens solution by 20% of the two thousand adults polled in the United Kingdom.

Even more of the respondants reported that they have used spit when putting lenses in their eyes. Since we know that the typical adult mouth contains hundreds of varieties of germs, this is clearly not a good idea. Moreover, far too many individuals assume that water from a tap or bottle is a safe replacement for contact solution, nevertheless even those can contain microorganisms that can cause damage to the eye and have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, an infection that threatens your eyesight. Even moreso, if water enters your eyes from a pool, ocean or even a bath while your lenses are in, it's recommended to take out your contacts as soon as you can and thoroughly rinse them to rinse off any parasites that may have adhered to them.

Disinfecting your contacts is an absolute and only properly labeled contact disinfectants should be used. Don't ever store your lenses in water! Leaving contacts in water does not thoroughly clean them and dangerous microorganisms can multiply on your contacts in minutes and enter your eyes once you put them in. In addition, contact solution is made to compliment the saltiness of your tears and conversely water can cause a reaction which makes your contacts change shape or stick causing discomfort and blurred vision.

At times that necessary storage or cleansing is not possible for you, consider using daily disposable contact lenses as opposed to resusable lenses. Be sure to take into consideration your way of life when you are deciding which type of contacts to purchase.

Prior to wearing your first pair of contact lenses be sure you learn with your eye doctor the proper way to care for and store them.

Only those who are capable of understanding the proper way to care for contact lenses and how important this is should wear contact lenses, particularly long-term wear contacts. Failure to do so can cause serious damage to the eyes or even total loss of sight.

A Tearless Winter

Your eyes need tears to stay healthy. They rinse the eye of any dust or particles and keep the eyes moist and comfortable. Certain enzymes found in tears eliminate microorganisms that are occasionally present in the eye.
When the eyes do not produce enough tears, symptoms can present themselves such as perpetual dryness, stinging, itching or a foreign body sensation. To the surprise of many, sometimes dry eyes cause eyes to water excessively if the eyes over-stimulate tear production to defend against inadequate tearing.

Dry eyes can be caused by a several factors. The first factor is age as most individuals that suffer from dry eyes are adults, particularly women during menopause. Dry eye syndrome can also be a side effect of many medications such as diuretics, antidepressants, blood pressure pills or others. Environmental conditions that are dry, or dry heat or air circulation are also known to cause or worsen dry eyes. In addition, some diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or others, prolonged sitting in front of a computer screen which can limit blinking, or use of contact lenses can contribute to dry eye syndrome.

Dry eye symptoms can often be improved by use of lubricating eye drops to add moisture. Your eye doctor can show you which eye drops to purchase and how to use them. If over the counter drops don’t help your doctor might prescribe Rx drops that stimulate tear production.

If eye drops don’t help, your optometrist might opt for Lacrisert, an insert placed inside the eyelid that lets out lubricants during the day. Another option could be punctual plugs which help keep the eye moist by restricting tear flow. Some eye care professionals may suggest you try ways for you to change your environment or your diet to reduce discomfort.

In the majority of cases, dry eyes do not cause any sustained harm but can be a nuisance. However, severe cases could make you more susceptible to infection so it is advised to consult with your optometrist.

If you are feeling dry, itchy, burning eyes, it could be dry eye syndrome so schedule a visit to your eye doctor today!