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Hygiene is critical to wearing your contact lenses
Hygiene is critical to wearing your contact lenses Contact lenses can significantly improve your vision but it’s very impo...

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Hygiene is critical to wearing your contact lenses

Contact lenses can significantly improve your vision but it’s very important to care for them properly to avoid potentially serious infections or other problems.

Your habits, supplies, and eye doctor are all essential to keeping your eyes healthy so it’s important to follow instructions for proper care and to call us if you have concerns. 

These recommendations will help extend the life of your contact lenses and keep your eyes safe and healthy. 

Your lens insertion and removal routine

  • Before you handle contacts, wash and rinse your hands with a mild soap.
  • Make sure the soap doesn’t have perfumes, oils, or lotions. They can leave a film on your hands.
  • Dry your hands with a clean, lint-free towel before touching your contacts.
  • It’s a good idea to keep your fingernails short and smooth so you won't damage your lenses or scratch your eye when inserting or removing your contacts.
  • Lightly rubbing your contact in the palm of your hand with a few drops of solution helps remove surface build-up.
  • Rinse your lenses thoroughly with a recommended solution before soaking the contacts overnight in a multi-purpose solution that completely covers each lens.
  • Store lenses in the proper lens storage case.
  • Don't use tap water or saliva to wash or store contact lenses or lens cases.
  • If you use hair spray, use it before you put in your contacts.
  • Put on eye makeup after you put in your lenses. Take them out before you remove makeup.
  • Always follow the recommended contact lens replacement and wearing schedule prescribed.

Your supplies

  • Use doctor-recommended solution.
  • Rub and rinse your contact lens case with sterile contact lens solution. Never use water.
  • Clean the case after each use.
  • Replace your contact lens case at least once every three months. 
  • Don’t “top off” solution. Use only fresh contact lens disinfecting solution in your case. 
  • Never mix fresh solution with the old or used solution.
  • Change your contact lens solution according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

Your eye doctor

  • Visit us yearly or as often as recommended.
  • Ask us if you have questions about how to care for your contacts and case or if you are having any difficulties.
  • Remove your contact lenses immediately if your eyes become irritated. Call us and let us know what’s going on.
  • Call us if you have any sudden vision loss, blurred vision that doesn’t get better, light flashes, eye pain, infection, swelling, unusual redness, or irritation. 

Wear your contacts safely

  • Some contacts need special care and products. Always use the disinfecting solution, eye drops, and enzymatic cleaners your doctor recommends. Some eye products or eye drops aren’t safe for contact wearers.
  • Saline solution and rewetting drops do not disinfect lenses.
  • Use a rewetting solution or plain saline solution to keep your eyes moist.
  • Don’t wear your contacts when you go swimming in a pool or at the beach.
  • Don't sleep in your contact lenses unless prescribed by your eye doctor.
  • Don’t clean or store your contacts in water.
  • See us for your regularly scheduled contact lens and eye examination.
  • If you think you’ll have trouble remembering when to change your lenses, ask for a chart to track your schedule or make one for your needs.

Be sure to call us if you have any questions about caring for your contact lenses or if you’re eyes are having problems.

Mark your Calendars!!! On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible across the entire continental United States.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks any part of the sun, and with this one, all of North America will experience at least a partial eclipse lasting 2 to 3 hours.

A lucky few million people along a 70-mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a brief total eclipse when the moon completely blocks the sun for up to 2 minutes. For that 2 minutes or so it will look like nighttime along that path.

This total eclipse will make the solar corona visible, and stars and the planets may also be visible during this time.

But looking directly at the sun before it is covered is unsafe. Although there is a limited chance of eye damage if you are in the proper area during the total eclipse it is not worth the risk of retinal damage to even take a quick look at the eclipse if it is not “total”.

A large part of the country is not along the pathway where the eclipse will be total so you should not look at the sun without protection.

The only safe way to look directly at the eclipse is through special solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers.

Ordinary sunglasses, even if they are very dark and polarized, are not safe for looking at the sun. To date, four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.

All the companies above have instructions printed on or packaged with their filters. You MUST follow the instructions to keep your eyes safe. Always supervise children using solar filters.

Specific instructions are found below, courtesy of NASA’s eclipse website https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety:

1. Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter - do not remove it while looking at the sun.

2. Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical devices. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer - the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.

3. A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime. An eclipse is a rare and striking phenomenon you won't want to miss, but you must carefully follow safety procedures. Don't let the warnings scare you away from witnessing this singular spectacle! You can experience the eclipse safely, but it is vital that you protect your eyes at all times with the proper solar filters. No matter what recommended technique you use, do not stare continuously at the sun. Take breaks and give your eyes a rest! Do not use sunglasses: they don't offer your eyes sufficient protection. One excellent resource for safe solar eclipse viewing is here: http://www.nasa.gov/content/eye-safety-during-a-total-solar-eclipse.

The solar eclipse is a spectacular sight but please remember to watch it safely.

 

 

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided on this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

Virtual reality experience shows what it’s like to be a child with poor vision in a classroom.

This virtual reality experience shows parents what it's like to live with poor vision.

Virtual reality experience shows importance of annual eye exam and why children should get their eyes checked.

Are you thinking about starting to wear contact lenses or switching to a different type of contact?

Wearing contacts can make a big difference in the way you see things – such as sharper details and brighter colors. And technology has made contacts more comfortable than ever.

While we look forward to discussing contact lenses and working closely with you to find the right type of lens to meet your needs, here are some things for you to think about:

Reasons to consider contact lenses

  • Contact lenses move with your eye, allow a natural field of view, have no frames to obstruct your vision and greatly reduce distortions.
  • Unlike glasses, they do not fog up or get water spots.
  • Contact lenses are excellent for sports and other physical activities.
  • Many people feel they look better in contact lenses.
  • Compared to eyeglasses, contacts may offer better, more natural sight.

Some things to remember about contact lenses

  • Compared to glasses, contact lenses require a longer initial examination and more follow-up visits to maintain eye health. Lens care also requires more time.
  • If you are going to wear your lenses successfully, you will have to clean and store them properly, adhere to lens-wearing schedules and make appointments for follow-up care.
  • If you are wearing disposable or planned replacement lenses, you will have to carefully follow the schedule for disposing the used lenses and using new ones.

Contact lens types

There are two general types of contact lenses: hard and soft.

Rigid gas-permeable (RGP):

The hard lenses most commonly used today are rigid gas-permeable lenses (RGP). They are made of materials that are designed for their optical and comfort qualities. Hard lenses hold their shape, yet allow the free flow of oxygen through the lenses to the cornea of your eye. 

RGPs provide excellent vision, have a short initial adaptation period, and are easy to care for. RGPs are comfortable to wear, have a relatively long life, and correct most vision problems.

The disadvantages are that RGPs require consistent wear to maintain how comfortable they feel, and can occasionally slip off-center of the eye.

Soft contact lenses:

Soft lenses are the choice of most contact wearers. These lenses are comfortable and come in many versions, depending on how you want to wear them.

Disposable-wear lenses are removed nightly and replaced on a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis and are easy to get used to wearing.

Daily-wear contacts do not need to be cleaned and are great for active lifestyles but don't correct all vision problems and vision may not be as sharp as with RGP lenses. 

Extended-wear soft contacts can usually be worn up to seven days without removal. Be sure to ask us about extended-wear contacts and a possible greater risk of eye infections. 

Colored soft contacts change your eye color, the appearance of your eye, or both. They are available by prescription and should only be worn after an eye exam and fitting by an eye-care professional. Over-the-counter colored contacts are illegal in some states and pose a serious danger to your eye health.

Bifocal or multifocal

Bifocal or multifocal contact lenses are available in both soft and RPG varieties. They can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism in combination with presbyopia. Visual quality is often not as good as with single vision lenses; however, for some people the ability to correct presbyopia is worth it.

Contacts are a great fit for many patients but don't forget to be prepared

Carry a backup pair of glasses with a current prescription—just in case you have to take out your contacts. Contacts can make your eyes more light-sensitive, so don't forget to wear sunglasses with UV protection and a wide-brim hat when you’re in the sun.

Hygiene is the most critical aspect to successfully wearing contacts

When cared for properly, contact lenses can provide a comfortable and convenient way to work, play, and live the millions of people who wear them. While contact lenses are usually a safe and effective form of vision correction, they are not entirely risk-free. 

Contact lenses are medical devices, and failure to wear, clean, and store them as directed can increase the risk of eye infections. Not following your eye doctor’s directions raises the risk of developing serious infections. Your habits, supplies, and eye doctor are all essential to keeping your eyes healthy. 

We’re here to help

If you are interested in wearing contact lenses, we will provide you with a thorough eye examination and an evaluation of your suitability for contact lens wear. Contact us today for more information about contact lenses and to schedule a contact-fitting exam. We’ll discuss the best options for your visual and lifestyle needs.

 

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

After a lot of hard work with EyeMotion, our website company, we’re pleased to be launching our brand-new website.  Our goal has been to create a site that would assist you in learning about us, whether it’s finding our location or email form, reading about our wonderful eye doctors, or discovering some of our quality products and services.

Have questions about an eye issue?  We think you might also benefit from our great optometric content on eye diseases and conditions.

Our plan is to use this area to keep you informed on new offerings, sales, trunk shows, events, and so much more.  Check back here from time to time to keep updated.

We’re glad you found us, and we hope to see you soon!

Choosing a new pair of eyeglasses can be a daunting task.

Making a decision on what style glasses you will be wearing for the next year until your vision is checked again can be stressful. This is one of the many reasons opticians are here for you. In many ways, this may be the most important task for the optician, because keeping you happy motivates you to wear your glasses daily.

Most people’s reaction is to play it safe with new glasses and stick with something relatively similar to what they are currently wearing.

While not necessarily a bad decision, this isn’t something opticians try to promote. Opticians often spend time meeting with frame representatives and browsing the Internet to keep up with the ever-changing trends in the world of eyeglass frames. And it’s a great feeling to successfully “update” your image with a new set of frames. Many patients are amazed at the difference a well-fit and -styled pair of glasses makes on their overall look.

There are many simple tips and tricks to consider when starting to browse for your next pair of frames.

The goal of this article is to improve your starting point when beginning to choose frames. That way, once the optician gets involved, the process is already well under way. Keep in mind that these are guidelines and “outside the box” thinking can be good as long as it fits within the required parameters of your prescription.

The first step is successfully identifying what face shape category you seem to fit into.

This image shows the most common face-shape categories. These are a great guidelines to help decide which frames will most likely appear to fit the best.

Oval - Oval faces are considered to be the “most versatile” because most frame styles and sizes fit well on this face type. As a general rule, and especially for oval faces, avoid choosing frames that extend past the widest part of your face. Stick with moderate-sized frames.

Upside Down Triangle - To even out the proportions of this face shape, choosing semi-rimless frames is always a positive. Less attention to the bottom half of the frame helps enhance the natural curves of this face shape. Frames that stay wide at the bottom and do not taper inward will also help even out this face.

Oblong - Being longer than it is wide, this face shape enjoys having larger frames on it. A lower bridge will help shorten the nose, and solid dark colors are a positive as well.

Square - A strong jaw line is the focus of this face shape, so to work with that, choosing smaller, narrow frames is a positive. Ovals and rounds work better than squares.

Diamond - Broad cheekbones are the focal point of this face shape. Being quite rare, the best style of frames to put on these faces are in the cat eye family. Following the face’s contours, flare-top frames, semi-rimless frames, and fun colors tend to work well with this shape.

Round - Rectangular frames work best on round faces. Wide bridges help separate the eyes and bring symmetry to the face. Make sure the frames are wider than they are deep.

Triangle - Cat eye frames work exceptionally well with this face shape also. Frames that have a lot of style and accents to the upper part of the frames and temples are a plus as this brings attention to the naturally narrow forehead.

Along with shapes and styles, some believe that certain colors work best with certain faces.

All people are considered to have either cool (blue) or warm (yellow) skin tones. Some people feel customers should stick within their family of coloring. Again this is only a recommendation since you should wear what you like. This is just strictly a guideline for those struggling to choose a frame for themselves. Based on experience, eye color can make a difference as well. People with lighter eyes tend to prefer lighter frame colors, and vice versa for people with darker eyes. Also, hair color can be considered. Patients with lighter or grey hair tend to shy away from darker frames unless looking to make a statement.

At the end of the day you have to choose what is most comfortable for you. Opticians’ suggestions and educated opinions can help steer you in the right direction. There is much to consider, but always keep in mind that comfort and functionality are the priorities.

Some people believe plastic or zyl frames are more comfortable than metal or semi-rimless. Having nose pads, metal frames feel “heavy” to some. Others cannot wear plastic due to oily skin. Plastic frames may slide as the day progresses so metal may be better suited.

Don’t be overwhelmed. Follow some simple guidelines, and remember to enjoy the process. There are infinite styles and options to get you seeing well and looking great. And while you’re considering lenses for your regular lenses, don’t forget to look for sunglasses frames!

 

Article contributed by Richard Striffolino Jr.

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

Tearing is a problem that can be caused by many different factors - including dry eyes.

Dry eyes might not be your first thought if your eyes are tearing all the time but there is a mechanism by which dry eyes may cause you to tear.

Your body has two different pathways by which tears are produced: basal tear production and reflex tearing.

Basal tear production is accomplished through part of our nervous system called the parasympathetic pathway. This pathway makes our tear glands produce a low, constant level of tears to keep the eye surface moist and comfortable.

If the tear glands produce too few basal tears the eye gets dry and irritated.

This irritation is picked up by the corneal nerves and a signal is sent to the brain.  The irritation on the eye surface is interpreted by the brain in the same way as when there is foreign body in the eye.

This kicks in a reflex that now gets transmitted through our sympathetic nervous system pathway to make the tear glands produce a sudden flood of tears in attempt to wash out any irritant or foreign body, thus producing tearing.

That is the mechanism of how dry eyes ends up producing tearing. Too few basal tears make the eyes get irritated and that irritation incites a reflex that makes the eye tear.

But dry eyes are not the only thing that can cause the eyes to tear frequently.

You could have an obstruction to the tear drainage system so the tears have no place to drain and they just pour out of the eye

Many people also notice they tear more as they get older. That’s because the eyelids that help pump the tears down the tear drainage duct get looser and can’t pump tears as effectively as they used to.

You also could have several other issues that irritate the eye surface and cause some tearing. Allergies can do it, so can pollution, poor air quality, wind, dust, and more. The list gets long and can make it difficult to pinpoint a reason.

A comprehensive exam can help narrow the possible causes of your tearing and help direct potential treatment to improve the problem.

So yes, dry eyes can, somewhat paradoxically, cause your eyes to tear.

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

When soft contact lenses first came on the scene, the ocular community went wild.

People no longer had to put up with the initial discomfort of hard lenses, and a more frequent replacement schedule surely meant better overall health for the eye, right?

In many cases this was so. The first soft lenses were made of a material called HEMA, a plastic-like polymer that made the lenses very soft and comfortable. The downside to this material was that it didn’t allow very much oxygen to the cornea (significantly less than the hard lenses), which bred a different line of health risks to the eye.

As contact lens companies tried to deal with these new issues, they started to create lenses that you not only replaced more frequently, but also the materials themselves changed from HEMA to SiHy, or silicone hydrogel. The oxygen transmission problem was solved, but an interesting new phenomenon occurred.

Because these were supposed to be the “healthiest” lenses ever created, many people started to over wear their lenses, which led things, such as inflamed, red, itchy eyes; corneal ulcers; and hypoxia (lack of oxygen) from sleeping with their lenses in at night. A new solution was needed.

Thus was born the daily disposable contact lens, which is now the go-to lens recommendation of most eye care practitioners.

Daily disposables (dailies) are for one-time use, and therefore there is no risk of over wear, lack of oxygen, or any other negative effect of extended wear (2-week or monthly) contacts. While up-front costs of dailies are higher than their counterparts, there are significant savings in terms of manufacturer rebates. In addition, buying contact lens solution is no longer necessary!

While a very small minority of patient prescriptions are not yet available in dailies, the clear majority are, and it has worked wonders for patients who have failed in other contacts, especially those who have dry eyes.

Ask your eye care professional how dailies might be the right fit for you.

 

Article contributed by Dr. Jonathan Gerard

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

We have all heard the term ”Love is in the Air”, but can love really be in the eyes? Actually, Science has proven it so. Certain chemicals (or endorphins) that produce the emotion of love can be emitted through emotions expressed in the eyes. Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra all can prove that love is in the eyes of the beholder. There are physiological changes in the eyes that occur when love is expressed between two individuals. Two people in love, love shown towards a family member, child, or pet all cause the same response: the pupil (black part in the center of the eye) dilates.

The size of the pupil can be an indication of emotional responses and messages. According to, Scientific American, the autonomic nervous system (our fight or flight response), causes the pupil to have a quick dilating response. The ANS is also in charge of heart rate and perspiration,and when a person is extremely interested in another person, the pupil has a dilating effect that is slightly less than the pupillary light reflex. This bounce in size is an automated response that gives scientists indication of mood or interest (or love) shown to a person or pet.

Mounting scientific evidence also shows the benefit of looking into the eyes of your pet, especially dogs. Stroking them causes you to become more healthy on all fronts, and a few minutes a day of lovingly looking at the dog and stroking the pet releases, serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin which are “feel good “ hormones.

There are also studies inspired by psychologist Arthur Aron, from over 20 years ago, that show if you stare into someones eyes for 4 minutes you can fall in love... for looking eye to eye allows you to connect and reminds you why you fell in love in the first place.

Overall health is improved and years can be added to your life when looking at something or someone with love. Your eyes and autonomic nervous system play an intricate role in the expression of love. In conclusion, science and Shakespeare have it right when it comes to the response of the pupils. Remember what Shakespeare said in a Midsummer Night’s Dream, ”Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.”

Source:

12/07/2012 article of Scientific American entitled:

Why Do Pupils Dilate in Response to Emotional States?

By Joss Fong

 

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

It’s imperative to understand the importance of sunglasses when the weather turns cold.

Polarized sunglasses are usually associated with summer, but in some ways it is even more important to wear protective glasses during the winter.

It’s the time of year when the sun sits at a much different angle, and its rays impact our eyes and skin at a lower position. This translates to an increase in the exposure of harmful UV rays, especially if we are not wearing the proper sunglasses as protection.

Polarized sunglasses, which are much different than the older dye-tinted lenses, are both anti-reflective and UV resistant. A good-quality polarized sunglass lens will protect you from the entire UV spectrum. This not only preserves your vision, but it also protects the skin around the eyes, which is said to have a much higher rate of susceptibility to skin cancer.

The accumulation of snow poses another issue that can be countered by polarized sunglasses.

Snow on the ground tends to act as a mirror because of its white reflective surface and this reflection can become a hindrance while driving. The anti-reflective surface of polarized sunglasses will help reduce the glare and give drivers a better view.

Polarized sunglasses come in many different options based on a patient’s needs. Whether it’s single-vision distance lenses, bifocals, or progressive lenses, there is a polarized lens for every patient.

Winter is a great time of year to ask your optical department about purchasing polarized sunglasses.

 

Article contributed by Richard Striffolino Jr.

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ

Christmas is one of the most joyful times of the year... thoughts of cookies, decorations, family gatherings, and toys abound. Birthday parties for kids add to the list of wonderful memories as well. But there are a few toys that may not make memories so fun because of their potential for ocular harm. The American Optometric Association lists dangerous toys each year to warn buyers of the potential harm to children’s eyes that could occur because of the particular design of that toy.

Here is a sample of that toy list:

  • Laser toys and laser pointers, or laser sights on toy guns pose serious threat to the retina, which may result in thermal burns or holes in the retina that can leave permanent injury or blindness. The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health issues warnings on these devices at Christmas peak buying times.
  • Any type of toy or teenage gun that shoots a projectile object. Even if the ammo is soft pellets, or soft tipped it can still pose a threat. Even soft tipped darts are included in this harmful toy list. A direct hit to the eye can be debilitating.
  • Any toy that shoots a stream of water at high velocity can cause damage to the front and or back of the eye. The pressure itself, even though its just water, can damage small cells on the front and back of the eye.
  • Any toy that shoots string out of an aerosol can can cause a chemical abrasion to the front of the eye, just as bad as getting a chemical sprayed into the eye.
  • Toy fishing poles or toys with pointed edges or ends like swords, sabers or toy wands. Most injuries occur in children under 5 without adult supervision and horseplay can end up in a devastating eye injury from puncture.

The point is, that there are so many great toys to buy for children that can sidestep potential visual harm, that it behooves one to be aware of pitfalls of certain dangerous toy designs.

A great resource of information comes from World Against Toys Causing Harm.

For more information and for lists updated yearly see the W.A.T.C.H. website: www.toysafety.org

 

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

Living an overall healthy life is good for your eyes. Healthy vision starts with healthy eating and exercise habits.

There's more to complete eye health than just carrots. Are you eating food that promotes the best vision possible? Learn what foods boost your eye well-being and help protect against diseases. Here are important nutrients to look for when selecting your foods.

  • Beta carotene or Vitamin A (helps the retina function smoothly): carrots and apricots
  • Vitamin C (reduce risk of macular degeneration and cataracts): citrus and blueberries
  • Vitamin E (hinders progression of cataracts and AMD): almonds and sunflower seeds
  • Riboflavin (helps your eyes adapt in changes in light): broccoli and bell peppers
  • Lutein (antioxidant to maintain health while aging): spinach and avacado
  • Zinc (transfers vitamin A to the retina for eye-protective melanin productions and helps with night vision): beans and soy beans
  • DHA (helps prevent Dry Eye): Fatty fish like salmon and tuna

Keep in mind, cooked food devalues the precious live enzymes, so some of these foods are best eaten raw.

 

Video credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH) (https://nei.nih.gov/)

Your Eyes Are A Gift, Protect Them During The Holidays

“I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!”

“No, you'll shoot your eye out.”

This line from “A Christmas Story” is one of the most memorable Christmas movie quotes ever. Funny in the movie, but the holiday season does present a real eye injury threat.

For those of who celebrate Christmas that risk begins before the actual day.

Some of the most frequent holiday-related eye injuries come from the Christmas tree itself.

Holiday eye safety begins with the acquisition of the tree. If you are cutting down your own tree please wear eye protection when doing the cutting, especially if you are going to be using a mechanical saw such as a chain saw or sawzall. You need to also be careful of your eyes when loading a tree on top of the car. It is easy to get poked in the eye when heaving the tree up over your head.

Once back at home take care to make sure no one else is standing close to the tree if you had it wrapped and now need to cut the netting off. The tree branches often spring out suddenly once the netting is released.

Other injuries occur in the mounting and decorating phase. Sharp needles, pointy lights and glass ornaments all pose significant eye injury risk. If you are spraying anything like artificial tree snow on the branches be sure to keep those chemicals out of your eyes.

Having now successfully trimmed the tree without injury, let’s move our holiday eye safety to the toys.

We want to spend the holiday happily exchanging gifts in front of a warm fire, drinking some eggnog, and snacking on cinnamon buns and not going to the emergency room with an injury.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported there were 254,200 toy-related emergency room visits in 2015, with 45% of those being injuries to the head and face - including the eyes.

In general, here are the recommendations from the American Academy of Ophthalmology in choosing eye-safe toys for gifts:

  • “Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
  • “Make sure children have appropriate supervision when playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.
  • “Ensure that laser product labels include a statement that the device complies with 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J.
  • “Along with sports equipment, give children the appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses. Check with your eye doctor to learn about protective gear recommended for your child's sport.
  • “Check labels for age recommendations and be sure to select gifts that are appropriate for a child's age and maturity.
  • “Keep toys that are made for older children away from younger children.
  • “If your child experiences an eye injury from a toy, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist – an eye medical doctor.”

More specifically there is a yearly list of the most dangerous toys of the season put out by the people at W.A.T.C.H. (world against toys causing harm).

Here are their 10 worst toy nominees for 2016, with three on the list that are specifically there for potential eye injury risk.

Here are other toys to avoid:

  • Guns that shoot ANY type of projectile. This includes toy guns that shoot lightweight, cushy darts.
  • Water balloon launchers and water guns. Water balloons fired from a launcher can easily hit the eye with enough force to cause a serious eye injury. Water guns that generate a forceful stream of water can also cause significant injury, especially when shot from close range.
  • Aerosol string. If it hits the eye it can cause a painful irritation of the eye called chemical conjunctivitis.
  • Toy fishing poles. It is easy to poke the eye of nearby children.
  • Laser pointers and bright flashlights. The laser or other bright lights, if shined in the eyes for a long enough time, can cause permanent retinal damage.

There are plenty of great toys and games out there that pose much lower risk of injury so choose wisely, practice good Christmas eye safety and have a great holiday season.

 

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

And old Creek Indian proverb states, "We warm our hands by the fires we did not build, we drink the water from the wells we did not dig, we eat the fruit of the trees we did not plant, and we stand on the shoulders of giants who have gone before us."

In 1961, the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) was formed. This association stewards over 80 eye banks in the US with over 60,000 recipients each year of corneal tissue that restores sight to blind people. Over one million men, women, and children have had vision restored and pain relieved from eye injury or disease. The Eye Bank Association of America is truly a giant whom shoulders that we stand upon today. Their service and foresight into helping patients with blindness is remarkable.

It is important to give back the gift of sight. You may be asking, “how does this affect me?” On the back of your drivers license form there is a box that can be checked for being an organ donor. Many people forego this option because they are not educated on the benefits of it. There are many eye diseases that rob people of sight because of an opacity, pain, or disease process of the cornea. Keratoconus, a disease that causes malformation of the curvature of the cornea, can be treated by a corneal transplant. Chemical burns that cause scarring on the cornea leave people blinded or partially blind. This is another condition that requires a corneal transplant. 

When it comes to corneal tissue, virtually everyone is a universal donor, because the cornea is not dependent on blood type. Corneal transplant surgery has a 95% success rate. According to a recent study by EBAA, eye disorders are the 5th costliest to the US economy behind heart disease, cancer, emotional disorders, and pulmonary disease. The cost is incurred when the person, for example, is a working age adult and can no longer hold a job because of vision issues. The gift of a corneal transplant can be one way to restore not only their vision, but their way of life, and their contribution to society.

By becoming a donor, or educating others to consider being an organ donor, you can give the gift of sight to someone on a waiting list. When you educate others to give the precious gift of sight, you become a giant whose shoulders others can stand on. Become a donor today.

For more information go to www.restoresight.org or contact your local drivers license office.

 

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

Have you ever tried to look into a room by looking into the keyhole? You only see part of the room... right? Well, that is what it would be like for your eye doctor to look into your eye through an undilated pupil. They would only see a partial view of your retina, with the possibility of missing vital information about the health of your eyes.

That is why it is important to have your eyes dilated for your exam, whether through traditional eyedrops which will wear off in several hours, or through new technology that can take a panoramic digital picture of the inside of your eye without dilation. Either method will provide your eye care professional valuable insight into your ocular and systemic health. Here are the top 5 reasons to have your full retina evaluated through a dilated view:

  1. To have the health of your retina evaluated. The retina is like the film of the camera of your eye that processes the vision accurately. The central retina contains cones for your color and detail vision, and the peripheral outer retina contains rods for your night vision.
  2. To detect ocular and systemic diseases early. Ophthalmic diseases such as glaucoma, and macular degeneration need to be caught early and treated for optimum vision. Furthermore, the saying “the eyes are the window to the soul”, is true. Systemic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol can be detected sometimes before they show up in the rest of your body. Your eye care practitioner can coordinate care with your family physician to ensure optimal health.
  3. Dilation can help your doctor get an accurate glasses prescription, especially for children. In the pediatric population the eye muscle can contract extensively more than adults, so their muscles work harder, thus fatiguing the visual system. Dilated exams can ensure a more accurate glasses prescription.
  4. To give you peace of mind, and also provide a baseline for your eye doctor for future examinations. If you move or relocate with a new doctor, have your records transferred for maximum eye health benefits.
  5. Lastly.......A dilated exam could save your life! Numerous reports show that cancers such as lung, or breast cancer metasticize to the eye and can be detected in the retina during an eye exam. In children up to age 15, there is a 3% chance of an aggressive cancer in the eye called Retinoblastoma. Symptoms of this in a child’s eye are a “White Pupil “ reflex in a photo. When detected, this cancer can be caught early by dilating the eye.

Overall, the benefits far outweigh the risks in a dilation of the eyes. The side effects are blurry vision, and sensitivity to light for several hours following the exam (so bring a driver with you). The benefits, however, could be larger than life!

 

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

Diabetic retinopathy, which is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes, is detected during a comprehensive eye exam that includes:

  • Visual acuity testing.
  • Dilated exam in which drops are placed to widen the pupil to allow examination of the retina.
  • Tonometry. Measurement of the eye pressure inside the eye.

Supplemental testing may include:

  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT). This is a non-invasive test that images the retina to detect any fluid or diabetic macular edema.
  • Fluorescein Angiography. This test involves an injection of a dye into your arm and a series of pictures that are taken as the dye flows through the retinal vessels. This may show leakage of fluid or the growth of new blood vessels in the retina.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

The best treatment is prevention of diabetic retinopathy by strict control of blood sugars. Once diabetic retinopathy is present, treatment of diabetic retinopathy will slow progression but won’t cure it.

Diabetic macular edema can be treated with several different therapies that may be used alone or in combination.

These include:

  • Injection therapy. Anti-VEGF drugs are injected into the eye to block a substance called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This medication will block abnormal blood vessel growth and decrease the leakage of fluid into the retina. The three most commonly used drugs include Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea. Steroids are another option for treatment of diabetic macular edema but are used less often due to side effects of possible cataracts and increased eye pressure.
  • Laser therapy. Small laser burns are applied in the area of the retinal swelling to slow the leakage of fluid. Laser treatment can be combined with anti-VEGF injections.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy can be treated with:

  • Laser therapy. Laser is applied on the retina to shrink the new blood vessels and to prevent bleeding inside the eye. Bleeding inside the eye will cloud the vision and cause floaters, which are small moving spots that appear in your field of vision.
  • Surgery. When there is significant amount of blood or scar tissue inside the eye, then a vitrectomy surgery is performed to remove the blood and scar tissue. Laser and anti-VEGF therapy may also be applied during the surgery.

In the end, the best treatment is prevention of diabetic retinopathy. An annual comprehensive dilated eye exam is recommended for anyone who has been diagnosed with diabetes, since early mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy can show no symptoms.

 

Article contributed by Jane Pan M.D.

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ

Is it safe to use ‘Redness Relief’ eye drops regularly?

The short answer is NO.

Here’s the slightly longer answer.

There are several eye “Redness Relief” products on the over-the-counter market, such as those made by Visine, Clear Eyes, and Bausch & Lomb - as well as generic versions sold by pharmacy chains.

Most commonly, the active ingredient in redness relief drops is either Tetrahydrozoline or Naphazoline. Both of these drugs are in a category called sympathomimetics.

Sympathomimetics, the active ingredient in redness relief drops, work by a process called vasoconstriction, or artificially clamping down the superficial blood vessels on the eye surface. These blood vessels often dilate in response to the irritation. This increase in blood flow is trying to help repair whatever irritation is affecting the surface of the eye. Clamping down on those vessels by using a vasoconstrictor counteracts the body’s efforts to repair the problem.

The other downside to repetitively using redness relief drops is that after the vasoconstrictor wears off the vessels often dilate to an even larger degree than when the process started. This stimulates you to use the drops again.

All of these drops carry these same two warnings on their labels:

Do not overuse as it may produce increased redness of the eye.

Stop using and ask a doctor if you experience eye pain, changes in vision, continued redness or irritation of the eye condition worsens or persists for more than 72 hours.

Does anyone read those warnings?  Almost never.

These drops are meant to be used for a VERY short duration - one or two days. That’s it!

They are not meant to be used indefinitely and they are certainly not meant to be used daily.

Take a good look at that first warning: MAY PRODUCE INCREASED REDNESS OF THE EYE.

If you are using redness relief drops repetitively you are likely making your eye redness WORSE, not better.

If you have been using redness relief drops daily you need to stop and replace them with an artificial tear or lubricating drop - something that DOES NOT say “gets the red out.”

After you make that switch your eyes are initially going to be red as your blood vessels take time to regain their normal vascular tone without the vasoconstrictor clamping down on them. The lubricating drop will actually help the repair the damage done by exposure to adverse conditions. This will decrease the inflammatory signals that make the vessels dilate. You will actually be doing something helpful to the surface of your eyes instead of just masking everything by artificially clamping down on your vessels and decreasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the front surface of your eye.

Using redness relief drops if you wear contacts is an even worse idea. If you put the drop in with your contact in, the contact will hold onto the drug and keep it on your eye surface longer, thus likely increasing the vasoconstriction. 

Your cornea has no blood vessels in it and it depends on the blood vessels in the conjunctiva over the whites of the eye to bring in nutrients and oxygen. The other source of oxygen for the cornea is what it gets from diffusion from the atmosphere and that is also cut down by the presence of the contact lens.

The redness relief drop combined with the contact lens are now BOTH reducing the levels of oxygen getting to the cornea. Decreased oxygen to the cornea is one of the biggest risks for contact lens-related infections, including corneal ulcers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning redness relief drops if used appropriately for a very short time to soothe the eyes if they have been temporarily exposed to elements that made them irritated. For a day or two redness relief drops are fine. But for long-term use or for use while wearing your contacts they are much more likely to cause problems than to provide any benefits.

 

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Diabetes is a disease that effects blood vessels throughout the body including the eye. Some of the smallest and most delicate blood vessels in our body are found in the retina. Therefore they are some of the first ones affected by poor blood sugar control.

With diabetes, the blood vessels walls get damaged by chemical reactions caused by high sugar levels in the blood. Blood vessel walls can bulge and then leak causing swelling and hemorrhaging in the eye.

With proper care, diabetic eye disease can be controled allowing vision to be maintained. When diabetic patients fail to take care of their disease and it affects the eyes there can be permenant damage such as decreased vision and even blindness.

Some diabetics never have any eye issues and some have many eye problems. Each patient is different. Fortunately your eye care professional can detect and monitor eye damage and vision changes caused by diabetes. The good news is there are new and improved medical treatments for those patients who do have diabetic eye disease. If you have diabetes you need to keep your sugar levels under control and have regular eye exams.

Make sure you get a yearly comprehensive eye exam by your eye care professional.

Fall brings a lot of fun, with Halloween bringing loads of it.

But did you know that some Halloween practices could harm your vision? Take Halloween contacts for instance. They are wildly fun with everything to monster eyes, goblin eyes, cat eyes, sci-fi or a glamour look. If properly fit by an eye care professional, they can be just the added touch you need for that perfect costume. However, some people do not realize that the FDA classifies contact lenses as a medical device that can alter cells of the eye and that damage can occur if they are not fit properly.

Infection, redness, corneal ulcers, hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the eye) and permanent blindness can occur if the proper fit is not ensured. Another concern that ICE, FTC, and FDA have are the illegal black market contacts that come into the country unchecked. Proper safety regulations are strictly adhered to by conventional contact lens companies to insure that the contact lenses are sterile and packaged properly and accurately.

Health concerns arise whenever black market, unregulated contacts come into the US market and are sold at flea markets, thrift shops, beauty shops, malls, convenient stores and the likes. These are sold without a prescribers prescription, and are illegal in the US. Buyer beware because these are the contacts that cause concern, after all, you don’t want to bargain shop on parachutes OR your eyes! There have also been reports of damage to eyes because Halloween Spook houses ask employees to share between shifts the same pair of Halloween contact lenses as they dress up for their costume.

So the take home message is, have a great time at Halloween, and enjoy the flare that decorative contacts can bring to your costume, but get them from a reputable venue and be fit by a eye care professional with a proper legal prescription. 

 

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of EYEiQ

Philadelphia Phillies prospect Matt Imhof lost his right eye in 2016 after suffering a freak injury during a normal training session.

He was the 47th overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Even though his injury did not occur on the playing field, the incident has brought significant attention to sports-related eye injuries.

Here are some of facts about sports-related eye injuries:

  1. Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States and most injuries occurring in school-aged children are sports-related.
  2. One-third of the victims of sports-related eye injuries are children.
  3. Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury.
  4. These injuries account for an estimated 100,000 physician visits per year at a cost of more than $175 million.
  5. Ninety percent of sports-related eye injuries can be avoided with the use of protective eyewear.

Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards designed for a particular sport.

Protective eyewear lenses are made of Polycarbonate or Trivex.

Ordinary prescription glasses, contact lenses, and sunglasses do not protect against eye injuries. Safety goggles should be worn over them.

The highest risk sports are:

  • Paintball
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Racquet Sports
  • Boxing and Martial Arts

The most common injuries associated with sports are:

  1. Abrasions and contusions
  2. Detached retinas
  3. Corneal lacerations and abrasions
  4. Cataracts
  5. Hemorrhages
  6. Loss of an eye

 There is a law in New Jersey that has been in effect since 2006 that mandates any child who wears corrective eyeglasses must wear sports glasses when playing certain sports.

Protective sports glasses lenses must be made of polycarbonate or trivex material that are shatterproof. Sport glasses frames are constructed from a variety of materials, including plastic and carbon fiber. The temples, the part that rests on the ears, are usually made from rubber-type materials that permit greater comfort by preventing the glasses from moving too much during athletic activity.

The protective eyewear is required to meet the frame (and lens) standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM F803 1) and lens standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z87.00).

The sports included are: racquetball, squash, tennis, women’s lacrosse, basketball, women’s field hockey, badminton, paddleball, soccer, volleyball, baseball or softball, sponsored by a school, community or government agency.

 

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ

Here are 11 bad things that can happen if you don’t wear and care for your contact lenses properly.

1) Sleeping in your contacts. This is the No. 1 risk factor for corneal ulcers, which can lead to severe vision loss and the need for a corneal transplant. Your cornea needs oxygen from the atmosphere because it has no blood vessels. The cornea is already somewhat deprived of oxygen when you have your eyes closed all night, and adding a contact on top of that stresses the cornea out from lack of oxygen. You don’t need to see when you are sleeping. Take your contacts out!!!! I promise your dreams will still look the same.

2) Swimming in your contacts. Salt, fresh or pool water all have their individual issues with either bacteria or chemicals that can leach into your contacts. If you absolutely need to wear them to be safe in the water, then take them out as soon as you are done and clean and disinfect them.

3) Using tap water to clean contacts. Tap water is not sterile. See No. 2.

4) Using your contacts past their replacement schedule. The three main schedules now are daily, two weeks and monthly. Dailies are just that – use them one time then throw them away; they are not designed to be removed and re-used. Two-week contacts are designed to be thrown away after two weeks because they get protein buildup on them that doesn’t come off with regular cleaning. Monthly replacement contacts need to have both daily cleaning and weekly enzymatic cleaning to take the protein buildup off. Using your lenses outside of these schedules and maintenance increases the risk of infection and irritation.

5) Getting contacts from an unlicensed source. Costume shops and novelty stores sometimes illegally sell lenses. If you didn’t get the fit of the lenses checked by an eye doctor, they could cause serious damage if they don’t fit correctly.

6) Wearing contacts past their expiration date. You can’t be sure of the sterility of the contact past its expiration date. As cheap as contacts are now, don’t take the risk with an expired one.

7) Topping off your contact lens case solution instead of changing it. This is a really bad idea. Old disinfecting solution no longer kills the bacteria and can lead to resistant bacteria growing in your case and on your lenses that even fresh disinfecting solution may not kill. Throw out the solution in the case EVERY DAY!

8) Not properly washing your hands before inserting or removing contacts. It should be self-evident why this is a problem.

9) Not rubbing your contact lens when cleaning even with a “no rub” solution. Rubbing the lens helps get the bacteria off. Is the three seconds it takes to rub the lens really that hard? “No rub” should never have made it to market.

10) Sticking your contacts in your mouth to wet them. Yes people actually do this. Do you know the number of bacteria that reside in the human mouth? Don’t do it.

11) Not having a backup pair of glasses. This is one of my biggest pet peeves with contact lens wearers. In my 25 years of being an eye doctor, the people who consistently get in the biggest trouble with their contacts are the ones who sleep in them and don’t have a backup pair of glasses. So when an eye is red and irritated they keep sticking that contact lens in because it is the only way they can see. BAD IDEA. If your eye is red and irritated don’t stick the contact back in; it’s worst thing you can do!

 

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ