Protect Your Eyes By Practicing Good Hygiene

 

downloadHealthcare professionals stress the importance of good hygiene to prevent the spread of flu, colds and other contagious illnesses. Germs also pose a threat to the health of your eyes, making cleanliness a major factor of eye care as well.

Styes

If you don’t wash your face thoroughly or you leave makeup on overnight, you run the risk of developing styes. These pimple-like red bumps are caused by an infection in the oil glands at the edge of the eyelid. While styes normally resolve themselves and do not generally cause serious injury, chronic stye development can lead to scarring over time.

Corneal Abrasions

It’s easy to rub your eye without even thinking about it, but this habit can result in corneal abrasions. These scratches on the clear “skin” that covers the iris and pupil are extremely painful due to the large number of nerve endings on the cornea. The injury can come from dirt on your hands or from aggravating a particle that is already inside your eye.

Contact Lenses

Proper eye care includes regular maintenance of contact lenses. Keratitis, or inflammation of the cornea, is one of the conditions that can result from poor contact-lens hygiene. Some common practices that create unsafe conditions are handling the lenses without washing your hands or wearing them overnight. Contact-lens cases should be kept clean and replaced frequently to prevent fungus from growing inside.

Conjunctivitis

One of the most widespread eye conditions is conjunctivitis, or pink eye, which is an inflammation of the thin membrane covering the white of your eye and lining the inside of the eyelid. Conjunctivitis is easily transmitted from person to person, so be sure to wash your hands or apply sanitizer after contact with others. Again, the safest precaution is to avoid rubbing or touching your eyes.

Maintain a habit of good hygiene to keep your eyes clear and injury-free. Visit your Phoenix optometrist for more suggestions regarding proper eye care.

A Guide to Photophobia

The term “phobia” normally indicates a fear of some type. However, photophobia does not refer to a fear per se but rather to an extreme sensitivity to light.

What Is Photophobia?

Photophobia itself is not a a disease. It occurs most often as a symptom of an underlying health condition. Moderate cases cause you to squint when you’re in a brightly lit room or outdoors in sunshine, while extreme cases result in pain from exposure to almost any level of light.

Optometry Causes of Photophobia

While photophobia is usually associated with an eye condition, it can sometimes be a symptom of an illness unrelated to eyes. Here are some of the most common causes of photophobia:

  • Migraines
  • Corneal abrasions from sand or other irritants entering your eye
  • Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, which is an inflammation in the tissue covering the white of your eye
  • Dry eye syndrome, which occurs when your eyes remain excessively dry because your tear ducts cannot produce sufficient amounts of tears
  • Excessive use of contact lenses or ill-fitting lenses

Patients who have recently undergone eye surgery may also experience photophobia to one extent or another during their recovery.

Medical Treatment of Photophobia

You should always consult your optometrist if you are experiencing light sensitivity. They will perform an eye exam and ask questions to determine the severity of your case and possible cause.

Commonly prescribed treatments include eye drops and antibiotics for inflammation or infections. Use of artificial tears can relieve dry eye syndrome. Medication and rest is usually called for when dealing with migraines.

Home Treatment and Prevention

While your optometrist is the best source of treatment, there are measures you can take to provide relief for your eyes and help prevent future occurrences. It’s best to avoid sunlight and use limited or no artificial light when indoors. Dark tinted glasses can act to diffuse light.

Good hygiene is an important defense against photophobia. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes. Do not share products such as makeup that come into contact with eyes. If you suffer from migraines, do your best to avoid the triggers that set off your headaches.

Photophobia may be unpleasant, but you don’t have to suffer helplessly. Your Phoenix optometrist can help you determine a course of treatment to relieve your symptoms and make your eyes more comfortable.

Is My Child Ready For Contacts?

Many children reach the point when they ask, “Can I get contacts?” As a parent, you may wonder whether to let your child try them. Here’s what you need to consider:

Contacts_PhoenixMotivation

Some children are happy to wear glasses, but others are dissatisfied. If your child complains about their glasses, you may want to talk to your eye-care professional about contact lenses.

Activities

If your child plays sports, contact lenses may offer an advantage. They won’t break like frames and lenses of glasses can. Your child will also be able to have clearer peripheral vision and won’t have to deal with frames that can get sweaty and uncomfortable.

Vision

In some cases, such as when a child is very nearsighted, he or she may be able to see better with contact lenses than with glasses.

Self-esteem

If your child has poor self-esteem, contacts may help give them a boost. A three-year study conducted by the Ohio State University College of Optometry concluded that a child’s self-perception improved when wearing contact lenses. This is especially true of girls.

Seasonal allergies

Contact lenses can cause increased itching and burning in the eyes of contact wearers who have seasonal allergies, so if you child suffers from these, he or she may want to stick with glasses.

Dexterity and comfort level

Is your child able to take his or her contact lenses out and put them back in? It may take some practice, but he or she should be able to handle the daily maintenance on their own after some initial help. Age isn’t the only determining factor, because some young children are more at ease putting in and removing their contacts than adults are.

Maturity

This is perhaps the most important factor. Will your child follow proper hygiene practices, or will he or she leave the contacts in for too long, possibly risking an infection? It’s important that he or she be able to follow the proper procedures, because contacts are a medical device that can cause serious damage if they’re misused.

Ultimately, letting your child wear contact lenses isn’t an all-or-nothing, lifelong decision. If you let them try it and it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, your child can always go back to wearing glasses and perhaps try again when circumstances change.

Contact Lens Tips for Newbies

Contact lenses might be the best thing invented for those who require vision correction. Convenience, better vision and cosmetic enhancement are just a few of the reasons someone with sight issues may opt to wear contacts instead of glasses. As a new contact-wearer, there are a few tricks and tips you’ll want to know.

Hand Washing

Contact lensesBefore you handle your contact lenses or touch your eye area, start off by washing your hands with soap, rinsing and drying them thoroughly to prevent infection or irritation.

Storage and Handling

When you’re not wearing your contacts they should be stored in sterile saline solution, recommended by your optometrist for your lens type. Keep them in a clean case. Between uses be sure to rinse and clean out the case. Before storing your contacts for the night, fill the case with fresh saline solution.

Flipping Out

Although it is not dangerous, it is uncomfortable to put your contact lenses in the wrong way! You will know fairly quickly if this has happened, and will want to remove them and try again. The easiest way to tell if your lens is right side out is to place it on your finger and look at it. If it’s shaped like a cup it is seated correctly. However, if the lens appears to have a lip or outward facing edge, it’s inside out. Gently flip it over before inserting.

Inserting

First and foremost, NEVER use saliva or water to put in a contact lens. Saliva will introduce bacteria, and could result in a terrible infection. Water is also unsterile, nor is it comfortable. To insert, stand in front of a mirror (after thorough hand-washing), gently retrieve one lens and position it at the tip of your finger. Use a drop of recommended saline or multipurpose solution for wetting your contact. Look at your image in the mirror, and place the contact on your eye. Sometimes it helps to look up when applying, then close the eye and allow the contact to slide up into position.

Contact lenses are an appealing alternative to glasses, and a comfortable way to enhance your vision. Most people adapt very quickly, and have a lifelong preference for contacts over glasses. For more information, or to schedule an appointment to be fitted for contact lenses, speak with your eye care professional.

Benefits of Vision Insurance

VisionIf you are someone with eyesight issues, you know how expensive it can be to have an eye exam, and pay for glasses or contacts. Having vision insurance can really help keep costs down. Here’s what you’ll want to know about this type of insurance, and what it covers.

Eye Exams

One major perk of having vision insurance is that most plans cover the cost of a yearly eye exam. Many policies will completely pay for the annual exam, but check your plan to be sure. You may have to pay a set co-pay amount, or pay a percentage of the exam fee at the time of the service.

Frames and Lenses

Vision insurance will typically cover the expense of new glasses on a periodic basis, very commonly every one to two years. This portion of insurance coverage may provide an allotment toward the glasses of your choice, or have you select from a specific collection of frames. Lenses are usually standard plastic or glass without any extra options. Anti-glare and scratch-resistance are valuable options for which you may want to pay a little more.

Contact Lenses

Most vision insurances provide a set amount toward a year’s supply of contact lenses. Your optometrist will prescribe the best brand and type for your particular needs. Some people have conditions like astigmatisms or severe near- or far-sightedness, that requires specialized lenses which are more expensive than standard offerings. Though you may have to spend extra to get a year’s supply, be sure to change your contacts on the prescribed schedule to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable.

If your company offers vision insurance and you have already had eyesight issues, it can be a very minimal investment from your paycheck to cover all of your eye care needs. Talk to your optometrist’s office to see what plans are accepted, and to your employer about enrollment in your company’s plan. If you have any additional questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact your Phoenix eye doctor.

Which Contact Lenses Are Right For Me?

Contact_lensesSo, you’re interested in contact lenses for yourself or your children?  They can be an excellent investment for people who want discrete vision correction.  Most people never know when you’re wearing contacts, and there are even options that change the appearance of your eyes as well.

Today, there are several different types of contact lenses on the market.  But how do you know which is right for you?

Choosing The Right Contact Lens For You

1 – Rigid Gas Permeable 

RGP, or “hard” contact lenses, are the oldest style of contact lens still in use.  These carry with them many of the drawbacks associated with contact lenses:  They’re a bit less comfortable to wear, they have to be taken out at night, and they have to be cleaned daily.

There are two main benefits to RGPs:  First, they work with any sort of eye or vision problem.  Second, because of their rigidity, they can in some cases prevent progressive vision problems by encouraging the eyeball to hold its shape.

2 – Soft Contacts 

Soft lenses conform to the shape of your eye, making them more comfortable and easier to wear for extended periods.  Some soft lenses can be worn for up to a week straight, even while asleep, without being removed.  Their shape-changing comfort, however, means they cannot slow vision loss like RGPs can.

These are a good “all around” option, especially for children who may have trouble dealing with RGPs.

3 – Disposable Contacts 

Disposable lenses are almost always “soft” lenses.  These are the most expensive option on the market for eye wear – costing about $1-$2 per day – but also offer the most convenience.

These are excellent for people who only occasionally wear contacts, such as for formal appearances.  However, be careful.  Because disposables are meant to be thrown out, their edges wear down quickly and can become dangerously sharp.

4 – Bi- or Tri-Focals

If you need multiple lenses, you can still get contacts!  Depending on your needs, optometrists have several options.  You could get contacts with the traditional “over / under” style of lens.  Or, in special cases, a patient might get two different lenses, creating a “far-sighted eye” and a “near-sighted eye” that, together, combine into a single clear image in their brain.  (With a little adjustment.)

There are plenty of options! Talk to your Phoenix Optometrist for more information on what contacts might be right for you.

Are Colored Contacts Becoming A Trend?

ContactsIt’s no secret that glasses and contacts can make for great fashion statements, but with the recent rise in colored contact lenses, you’ve got an entirely new way of showing off your eyes.

“Colored” contact lenses come in a variety of styles, from simply changing your eye color, to adding distinctive visual elements such as patterns or slitted cats-eye pupils. For obvious reasons, these contacts are most popular around Halloween, but plenty of people wear them all the time. You might not even know the “real” eye color of the people around you!

Colored lenses also open up interesting possibilities, such as giving yourself two different eye colors. This isn’t unheard-of in real life, but usually results from some sort of eye damage, genetics, or disease.

If you’re interested in colored contacts, we’ve got a few tips for you:

Important Tips When Wearing Fashionable Colored Contacts

1 – No, your eyesight won’t change.

This is the most common question we get. In nearly all cases, even “extreme” colored or patterned lenses will not affect your vision adversely. Red vampire-style contacts won’t make you “see red,” since they leave a clear section for your pupil to see through.

There are specialty contacts which can help correct for some color-blindness, but that’s another issue.

2 – You don’t need a prescription.

What if you don’t need corrective lenses, but still want to enjoy the fashion potential? No problem! So-called “zero-power” lenses are just clear plastic, so you can change your eyes’ appearance without altering your vision.

3 – Never buy “over the counter.”

It is, in fact, illegal for non-licensed shops to sell contact lenses. Only official ophthalmologists and other eye-care specialists can sell them. However, this doesn’t stop plenty of businesses from selling off-brand contacts anyway – and you’re taking a huge risk if you buy them.

Improperly-made contacts can scratch your eye, or even cause permanent damage. Don’t take the risk on cheap contacts. Buy from a real eye doctor.

Is It Time For A Change?

If you need corrective lenses, look at it as an opportunity! There’s huge fashion potential in colored contact lenses to make a subtle statement every time you wear them.

To learn more, or to schedule an exam to be fitted for new contacts, contact your Phoenix Optometrist today!

Top Five Bad Habits of Contact Lens Wearers

OptometryContacts are a great alternative for eyeglass wearers who dislike glasses, but we see some wearers with some poor contact-care habits. If you find yourself doing any of these, you may be endangering your eyesight.

1 – Not washing your hands.

If your fingers aren’t clean, then your lenses can’t be clean. Always wash your hands prior to handling them. Alcohol-gel hand sanitizer is a good idea as well, but make sure it’s completely dried before touching your eyes.

2 – Forgetting to rub.

The five-second finger rub when cleaning your lenses is a vital part of the process. It breaks up any deposits that might have collected on your lens, such as skin oils. This is just like cleaning the dishes after dinner; a simple soak isn’t good enough.

3 – “Topping off” your cleaning solution. 

Every time you clean your lenses, you should use a fresh batch of cleaning solution. Solution that’s already been used, and has sat out for a day or more, will have lost virtually all of its disinfecting chemicals. Cleaning with reused contact solution is really no better than cleaning with plain water.

4 – Wearing contacts too long.

Virtually everyone with contact lenses has disregarded the recommended usage from time to time, but you should avoid this whenever possible. At best it will make your eyes red, itchy, and painful. At worst, it could potentially damage your eyes by sandwiching dirt or germs against them.

5 – Washing contacts in your mouth. 

The average drop of human saliva contains over 60,000 individual bacteria. Many of those can and will develop into an eye infection if given a chance. No matter how far you are from a sink or water fountain, you’re directly endangering your vision if you ever use saliva to clean your contacts.

 

Improve Your Eyesight

It’s a question heard in optometry clinics around the world: “Doc, can I improve my eyesight without lenses?”

It’s somewhat of a “yes and no” question. But at the end of the day, it’s more ‘no’ than ‘yes’. The vast majority of eyesight problems are progressive and physical in nature. For example, near- and far-sightedness are both caused by the eyeball slowly losing its shape over time, throwing off its internal focus.

Unfortunately, there are no proven non-surgical methods for preventing this sort of vision loss. There are various techniques promoted, generally called “The Bates Method,” which promise “natural” eyesight improvement. However, controlled optometry tests have failed to ever show these techniques to be effective.

Nearly all the best tips for improving your eyesight are preventative: Not looking at the sun, wearing protective goggles when appropriate, and so on. Preventing eye damage is the best way to “improve” your eyesight.

Nonetheless, there are still a couple things you can do:

Eye_Care

Eat For Healthy Eyes 

If there is an inarguable way to improve your eyesight, it’s through your diet. The ability of your eyes to quickly adapt to high- and low-light conditions is specifically tied to what you eat.

Dark green and yellow-orange vegetables are the key here. Spinach, kale, pumpkins, and carrots are just a few of the veggies that legitimately promote better eyesight. Adding them to your diet will definitely help your eyes.

Hard Contact Lenses

Progressive vision loss can be slowed in some cases with hard contact lenses. While less comfortable to wear for long periods than gas-permeable “soft” lenses, hard lenses force your eyes to maintain their proper shape.

It doesn’t exactly “improve” your eyesight, but optometry has demonstrated it will slow down your vision loss.

Contacts vs Glasses

Phoenix_OptometristOne of the most common questions a Phoenix optometrist hears is “Which are better: contacts or glasses?”

Well, both are good options.  It’s really a matter of personal choice, based on what you’re looking for in four key areas.

Vision Improvement

Most importantly: Which does a better job at correcting your vision?

Contacts are the hands-down winner here.  They cover 100% of your vision, with no frames covering your view.  They aren’t blocked by rain or snow like glasses, either.   There are even multi-focal and progressive contacts available.

Care and Usage

Glasses win here, easily.  They can be taken off and on quickly, and require little more than a soft cleaning cloth and a storage case.

While contacts are much easier to use than they were in years past, non-disposable lenses will still require cleanings.

Costs

Glasses are going to be the more affordable option, especially with reasonably-priced frames.  A single pair of glasses can last for years, even decades, with minimal care and no special cleaning products.

Contacts wear out more quickly, meaning more trips to the optometrist.  There are also the ongoing costs of their cleaning fluids.  Disposables eliminate the maintenance, but cost about $1-$2 a day.

Looks

Aesthetics are a matter of preference, but you’ve got a choice here.  Glasses are, of course, a popular fashion choice in virtually any setting.  Wearing them opens up new horizons in accessorizing. Plus, glasses won’t make your eyes red with long use.

On the other hand,  no one has to know you wear contacts at all.  Unless, that is, you wanted to change the apparent color of your eyes… or even their shape.

So, next time you’re looking for corrective lenses, remember to talk to your optometrist about the benefits of both choices for your family!