1. Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them well with a clean cloth before touching your contact lenses every time.
Not washing hands with soap and water prior to touching your contact lenses is a risk factor for complications related to contact lens wear because germs from the hands are transferred to the contact lenses and the lens case. Washing hands with soap and water, and drying them with a clean, lint-free cloth, is essential each time that contact lenses are inserted and removed.
2. Do NOT sleep in your contact lenses!
Several companies make contact lenses that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to wear during the day and to sleep in; however, sleeping in any type of contact lenses increases the risk of serious eye infections (microbial keratitis) by 4 to 5 times.
3. Keep water away from your contact lenses! Avoid showering in contact lenses, and remove them before using a hot tub or swimming. Never store your contact lenses in water.
Contact lenses are a known risk factor for Acanthamoeba Keratitis. This is a severe type of eye infection caused by a free-living amoeba that is commonly found in water. This is a rare infection (1-21 infections per million contact lens wearers), but it is difficult to treat, extremely painful, and can cause blindness.
4. Rub and rinse your contact lenses with contact lens disinfecting solution—never water or saliva—to clean them each time you remove them.
Improper cleaning of contact lenses raises the risk of complications among contact lens wearers. Rubbing contact lenses with a clean finger and rinsing them with disinfecting solution is the most effective way to remove deposits and microbes from soft contact lenses.
5. Rub and rinse your contact lens case with contact lens solution—never water—and then empty and dry with a clean tissue. Store upside down with the caps off after each use. Replace your contact lens case at least once every three months.
Contaminated contact lens cases have been linked to rare but serious eye infections in contact lens wearers. An invisible layer in the case called a biofilm can become a breeding ground for microscopic germs that can cause infections. These biofilms can be best removed by rubbing and rinsing the case with disinfecting solution, wiping dry with a tissue, and then allowing to air-dry face down with the caps off. The number of moderate to severe contact lens-related infections could be cut in half through implementing this contact lens case cleaning procedure.
6. Replace your contact lenses as often as recommended by your eye doctor.
Studies have shown that contact lens wearers who do not follow recommended replacement schedules have more complications, self-reported discomfort, and poorer vision than contact lens wearers who follow the replacement recommendations.
7. Don’t “top off” solution. Use only fresh contact lens disinfecting solution in your case—never mix fresh solution with old or used solution.
Topping off solution—or mixing fresh solution with used solution in the case for storing contact lenses—has been an important risk factor in serious outbreaks of contact lens-associated infections. Used solution in the case can become contaminated by germs that are on contact lenses or in the contact lens case. An invisible layer called a biofilm can grow in the case and make contact lens disinfecting solution less effective at killing germs.
8. Visit your eye doctor yearly or as often as he or she recommends.
The eye care community generally agrees that yearly eye exams are recommended for contact lens wearers in order to keep their eyes as healthy as possible while wearing contact lenses —particularly given that wearing contact lenses increases the risk for eye infections and complications. Additionally, contact lens wearers often need to have a yearly exam to confirm their prescription so that they may order new supplies of contact lenses.
9. Remove your contact lenses immediately and call your eye doctor if you have eye pain, discomfort, redness, or blurred vision.
10. Carry a backup pair of glasses with a current prescription—just in case you have to take out your contact lenses.
Modified From: http://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/protect-your-eyes.html
Here comes the cold!
The winter season transforms the world outside and makes us adjust our daily routines to prepare for these transformations.
During the colder months we make numerous adjustments to our environment and wardrobe to adapt to the chilling effects of winter. It is important to remember that our bodies and health are often significantly affected by the changes that occur during the winter months.
There is no shortage of ways the cold can bring inconvenient changes to our daily lives. Common symptoms of cold winter weather include runny noses, chapped lips, dry skin, and frozen fingers.
However, there is one part of our body that often receives the worst of the winter weather -- our eyes.
Both the harsh winter winds outside and the dry heat radiating inside can cause a sudden onset of moisture evaporation from our eyes.
The result is a significant increase in dry eyes.
Dry eye leads to a number of eye symptoms including itching, burning, fluctuating vision, blurred vision, eye pain, and/or excessive watering to compensate for the dryness.
It is nearly impossible to avoid dry eyes all together in the winter months, but there are steps that you can take to ensure that your eyes stay as hydrated and healthy as possible this winter season.
1. Humidify Your Home
During the winter months, a home’s humidity level can dip below the 30-55 percent range that is required for our eyes to stay adequately lubricated. Consider bringing a humidifier into your home to improve the ambient humidity. Additionally, consider leaving off the exhaust in your bathroom while you are showering.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Even mild dehydration can negatively affect the hydration of the eyes. This is especially significant in winter because cold temperatures can dampen the body’s thirst mechanism, while artificial heat speeds the evaporation of tears. Keep your eyes hydrated by drinking water throughout the day and increasing your intake of fluid-rich foods (soup, fruits, vegetables).
3. Increase Your Omega 3s
The dryness of the winter season can contribute to inflammation of the eyes tear glands. This can lead to a decrease in their secretion and an increase in evaporative tear loss. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease the amount of inflammation in these tear glands and improve the quality of their secretions, thus decreasing tear evaporation. If your diet is low in these essential nutrients, consider taking a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement.
4. Heat Your Seat
On a cold day, your first instinct when getting into your car is to blast the heat on high until you warm up. Sitting in front of the forced air vent is essentially the same as holding a hair dryer to your eyes. They can become very dry, very quickly. Consider heating your feet and/or turning on your seat warmer until you are at a comfortable temperature.
Dry eye is a common occurrence and is exacerbated during the winter months. It can lead to significant discomfort and a decreased quality of life. The understanding of dry eye disease continues to improve and new therapeutic options continue to emerge. If you are suffering from dry eyes, itching, burning, fluctuating vision, blurred vision, eye pain, and/or excessive watering, then schedule a dry eye evaluation today. We would love to help you find treatment plan that works for you!
Complete Vision Care Festus is now open every first and third Saturdays of each month, so make an appointment today. Complete Vision Care is located at 600 Westwood Drive in Festus and will be open from 7:30 am to 12:00 pm on these Saturdays. We understand the schedule of working individuals and realize that taking time off work for doctor appointments is not how you want to use your earned time off.
Doctors Mark Kahrhoff and Dustin Wiles will be available for comprehensive eye examinations including contact lens fitttings. Our team of expert opticians will be available for eyewear consultation to help you select the perfect frame and lenses. Call our office at (636) 931-2020 or click request an appointment to schedule an examination today.
It should come as no surprise that Americans today are living much longer than past generations. We’re also aging differently than our parents and grandparents. Baby boomers are entering their retirement years, but they aren’t about to slow down. Instead, they are looking for breath-taking experiences; and with this adventurous mindset comes the need to travel – specifically the need to travel by car. No matter the distance, getting behind the wheel of a car should be taken seriously and approached with safety in mind.
To keep yourself safe consider these proactive tips to keep your vision in tip-top shape.
Wear protective eyewear.
According to the National Eye Institute, more than 100,000 eye injuries are estimated to be sports-related, and 90 percent of sports-related injuries are eye related. Every day safety eyewear glasses, goggles, safety shields, eye guards can help prevent these injuries from occurring. If you’re playing sports outside, make sure to wear either sunglasses (preferably ones with strong UV protection like our E-SPF50+!) or goggles.
Take off all that makeup.
Makeup is great when needed, but old eye makeup can lead to bacterial infections, toxic heavy metals, dry eyes, allergic reactions and loss of eyelashes. So, if you’ve been applying some eye shadow, liner, primer and mascara, make sure you properly take it off! And, if you’re out of makeup remover, consider using avocado.
A new study shows that coffee can be good for your eyes, as its strong antioxidant chlorogenic acid can prevent retinal degeneration. For food, think leafy greens, dark berries, eggs and cold-water fish like salmon, which have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. And, while we’re on the topic of health, quitting smoking is also a good idea as cigarettes can lead to cataracts, optic nerve damage and macular degeneration.
Regular eye exams.
Annual comprehensive eye exams can spot early signs of diseases. Keep in mind the difference between a vision screening (includes a brief vision test for acuity) and a comprehensive eye exam (which tests all aspects of your vision).
Take a break and look away from the computer.
Digital eye strain affects up to 75 percent of computer workers. In our plugged-in lives, we’re susceptible to “computer vision syndrome,” which can include ocular discomfort, muscular strain and stress. To help relieve the tension, eye doctors suggest taking a break, blinking frequently, wearing computer glasses and checking your computer’s position (20 to 28 inches away from the eye is best). Make sure to think about setting your monitor near minimum overhead light. Also try magnifying the text on your screen to make reading easier.
So, in short, protect your eyes like you would protect your skin and the rest of the organs in your body. Stay safe, use eyewear protection and keep rocking on!
Complete Vision Care, Inc