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!

Eye Care Tips for Students

Students can be very rough on their bodies, especially as they enter college life. Parties, cramming in studying at the last minute, all-nighters, term-papers and sports are all potential eye care nightmares! If you or one of your loved ones is a student, focus on a few tips to take care of your eyes.

progressive_lensesContact Care

Students often slack off where contact lens care is concerned, and do horrendous things like re-wet lenses using saliva or water. Never do this, as dangerous bacteria will be introduced into the eye’s delicate environment. Use only sterile contact lens solution to clean, store, and insert lenses. Make sure to change them on schedule, and clean them according to your eye doctor’s instructions. Taking proper care of your contacts will help you avoid eye care issues like serious infection or corneal scratches.

Preventing Eye Strain

Endless nights followed by long days in class will cause eye fatigue and strain. Try to spend less time working on an electronic device by taking small breaks to allow your eyes to relax. Aim for 8 hours of undisturbed sleep per night or more. Gritty, uncomfortable eyes are a common result of eye strain, as well as headaches, dry eye, watery eyes, and blurry vision. Failing to prevent eye strain can make you less productive and more irritable.

Injury Prevention

Sports, both organized and freestyle, can be a hazard to your vision. Anytime you are participating in contact sports, you should be wearing the right sports safety eyewear. Your eye care specialist can help you choose the perfect type for your activity and style. It only takes one elbow or sharp object to shatter an eye socket or permanently blind you. If playing outdoor sports, make sure your eyewear is also rated to block UV rays, to avoid painful Photokeratitis–sunburn to your eyes.

Give your eyes a break by providing them protection, allowing them to rest, and taking proper care of them. Being sensible and prepared now will ensure great vision in the future.

What You Should Know about Implantable Contact Lens

Phoenix_OptometryOver the past few decades, vision correction has become very technologically advanced. With the advent of laser eye surgery, enhancements in contact lens manufacturing, and the new lightweight materials for eyeglasses, those with vision trouble have a much more comfortable and flexible array of choices to see perfectly. One newer development is the Implantable Contact Lens (ICL). Here is what your Phoenix optometrist wants you to know about ICL.

Amazing Vision Quality

Imagine the days of tube televisions, where the picture was sometimes a little blurry, and colors rather blended together. Fast forward to today’s HD and 3D televisions. The colors, images and crispness of your vision may shock you. The lens material is so crystal clear and does such a great job of correcting your problem, you’ll feel like your vision just went high-definition.

Less Risk than LASIK

An ICL patient generally notices less negative side effects as a result of the procedure than do patients undergoing LASIK or PRK procedures. Dry eyes and cornea problems are common with LASIK, whereas ICL does not interfere with corneas. Complications are less common and usually more simple to fix with ICL surgery. To top it off, if you did ever have a serious problem with the implanted lens, it can be removed or replaced without major difficulty, whereas an eye surgeon may not be able to easily correct a LASIK problem once the cornea has been shaved or reshaped.

Flexibility

ICL can fix a wide array of vision problems from slight to extreme prescription needs and levels of astigmatism, and is a great option for patients whose optometrist previously could not refer for surgery due to their eye anatomy or degree of myopia. UV blocking is even available in the ICL material, providing further benefit to this procedure.

As with any surgical procedure, ICL comes with its share of risks. Talk to your optometrist today to find out if ICL would help with your vision needs.

Are Special Effect Contact Lenses Safe?

People go to extreme efforts for unique and over-the-top costumes and looks. Special-effects contacts come in an array of different styles and are an easy way to transform yourself into a cat, alien, vampire, or monster. These lenses are becoming increasingly popular, but are these types of contacts safe to wear?

Theatrical or special-effects contacts are often made of gas-permeable plastics, with a tint that is opaque and aligns with the iris of your eye. The pupil is clear so that you are still able to see while wearing them. As with any type of contact lens, there are risks to wearing them and caution must be taken so a fun effect does not compromise your eye health.

Prescription Only!

Special-effects lenses are still considered a medical device. For that reason, you should ALWAYS have your eye care provider write you a prescription for the correct size and fit. Order from a reputable source that requires you to upload or send your prescription, so that you’ll be sure they fit right and will not damage your corneas. Avoid purchasing internationally, as the safety regulations abroad may not be as stringent as in the U.S.

Proper Care

Many types of contact lenses today are made of polymers that allow good oxygen flow, and are rated for extended wear or sleep wear. This is not the case with theatrical lenses, which should NEVER be worn during sleep. The thicker material and opaque pigments used can deprive the blood vessels in your eyes of essential oxygen. Store your special-effects lenses properly, and clean them according to your optometrist’s recommendations.

Special-effects contacts are a great way to put the finishing touches on a costume or change your appearance. Talk to your Phoenix optometrist about these special effect contact lenses first to make sure your experience with them is both safe and fun.