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.

What Causes Contact Lens Discomfort?

Contact lenses are an excellent way to get clear vision a majority of the time although there are some exceptions that will certainly cause problems with your tolerance of contacts, most of which can be easily avoided.

Dirty Lenses

The most common reason your eyes start to feel gritty, dry, and uncomfortable is because the lenses are not as clean as they should be. Regular cleaning of lenses is critical, not only for your comfort, but for your eye health as well. Failing to properly clean your contacts may expose your eyes to bacterial infections and lead to the damaging of your cornea. Use the appropriate cleaning solution and sterilize your contact lenses as recommended by your optometrist.

OptometryOld Lenses

Another reason for lens discomfort is wearing old contact lenses. Even if you are meticulous about keeping your lenses cleaned and sanitized, most of today’s lenses are designed for wear over a certain limited time period. The longer past the recommended time frame you get, the more misshapen and worn out your lenses may become. They may even tear or begin to deteriorate on the edges. This will make your eyes red, unhappy, and make you miserable. Replace your lenses on the recommended schedule.

Bad Habits

Sleeping in your lenses (especially brands that are not recommended for this type of wear), wearing them for too long each day, not protecting your eyes from sand, wind, sun, and heat, and failing to see your optometrist on schedule are all surefire ways to earn yourself some eye discomfort.

Your Phoenix optometrist can give you advice about proper care and replacement of your lenses so that you remain comfortable and healthy while experiencing great vision every day. Be sure to attend your yearly eye exam reliably to ensure good eye health for years to come.

What are Bifocal Contact Lenses?

As you get older, your vision needs tend to change. You may have noticed that your parents and grandparents started wearing bifocal glasses once they got to a certain age. Thankfully, the technology of optometry has changed and such vision correction is now available in contact lens form. Is this the technology you’ve been looking for?

How It Works

With bifocal contact lenses, the two prescriptions are combined into one lens, just like with glasses. The difference of course is that the vision correction is contained within your eye instead of worn on your face. Some brands use a top half / bottom half distinction for the varying prescriptions known as alternating vision, and some use rings instead and your eye learns how to use the rings for near and far objects at the same time, called simultaneous vision.

Phoenix_Eye_CareConvenience, Comfort, and Aesthetics

With bifocal contact lenses, you’ll have no worries about losing your glasses or cleaning off smudges constantly. Rather than wearing bifocal glasses that can pinch your nose, your contact lenses provide comfortable vision correction with nothing pressed on to your face. You can also wear sunglasses with bifocal contacts far more comfortably and attractively than having to purchase those over-the-glasses sunglasses. Many types of bifocal contacts are now even disposable for the ultimate in comfort and ease of care. Last but not least, bifocal contacts are undetectable and allow people to focus on you, not your glasses.

Expense

While bifocal contact lenses are obviously going to cost more than normal contact lenses, don’t forget to factor in the cost you would incur if you wore bifocal glasses plus needed prescription sunglasses too. Some people have reading glasses plus regular glasses. Once it is all said and done, you may find that the cost isn’t much more for bifocal contacts, and your optometrist will work with your vision insurance to find the best deal.

Bifocal contacts can be a great solution for people who wish for vision correction in the most attractive and convenient way possible. Talk to your Phoenix optometrist about this solution today.

Contact Lenses, 3 Emergency Situations

If you have been wearing contact lenses for any length of time, chances are good that you may have experienced a sudden eye safety issue at one time or another. Knowing how to handle an emergency lens issue correctly may mean the difference between a nasty situation versus a minor inconvenience.

Debris in Eye
Windy weather, outdoor activities, and project work can be dangerous. It takes a split second for dirt, metal or wood to enter your eye. This is an especially hazardous situation for contact wearers since debris may become trapped under the lens.The result? A badly scratched cornea or other eye structure damage, plus possibly vision loss. Acting quickly is critical. Wash your hands and GENTLY remove the lens. Do not rub the eye. Rinse the eye using sterile saline or eye wash, or in dire emergencies, clean filtered water. Proceed immediately to the eye doctor.

Torn Lens
While today’s contacts are very durable, occasionally a too-aggressive eye rub or mishandling of your lens will cause it to tear. If the lens is in your eye, wash your hands and gently remove all of the lens pieces that you can. Leftover pieces may make your eyes water excessively, so extraction may be impossible. If that occurs, keep the eye closed and get yourself to an optometrist to deal with this eye safety issue immediately.

Ulcers and Abrasions
Sleeping with your contacts in is tempting, but not healthy. Even with overnight lenses, it is better to give your eyes a break and remove your contacts before sleeping. If you do sleep in your lenses, you may wake up to an incredibly painful corneal ulcer or abrasion, caused by your lenses shifting in the night, a random pillowcase brushing the surface of your eye, your lenses drying out too much, or a bacterial infection. The eye doctor will typically recommend eye drops and rest, plus no lens wear for a period of time.

Contact lenses are fantastic, but do come with special cautions. Knowing what to do in these eye safety crises can save you significant pain and suffering.

3 Easy Steps to Clean Your Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are one of those scientific advancements it would be very difficult for an eye care patient to live without. The convenience, comfort, and sight improvement make life much brighter and more fulfilling. Proper cleaning and care of your lenses is incredibly important. Eye doctors recommend these three easy lens cleaning steps to maintain good eye health.

Rubdown

Wash and dry your hands, then take out one contact. Squeeze a small amount of cleaning solution in the palm of your hand, then place the contact lens in the solution. Wet the pointer finger of your opposite hand with the cleaning product, then place that finger onto the lens and gently rub. Both sides of the lens are now being cleaned, as the friction and solution removes built up dirt and deposits from the lens. Use a light hand when performing this technique, as being too aggressive may tear your lens. If you are not sure what product or technique to use for cleaning, consult eye doctors for recommendations.

Rinse Off

After cleaning the lens, carefully rinse it off. Put the stopper in the sink before rinsing, just in case your lens should fall into the sink (an added note– clean and sanitize the lens immediately if that should occur). Begin with the lens still in the center of your palm, and flush away the cleaning solution using the rinsing product. After that, gently pick up the lens between two fingers and use the opposite hand to squeeze rinsing solution onto the lens until it is completely clean. Before placing the lens in the carrying case, empty and rinse that thoroughly as well.

Overnight Soak

Once you have cleaned both lenses as above, a great idea is to soak them overnight for thorough disinfection. Eye doctors may recommend specific overnight soak products for your lens type, otherwise using your regular storage solution is sufficient. The overnight soak should be a regular part of your lens care routine.

Proper contact hygiene keeps your eyes healthy, clear, and comfortable. Consult your Phoenix eye care professional for more contact lens care tips to maintain impeccable vision for years.