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Knoxville, TN 37934

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There are two basic types of astigmatism; myopia and hyperopia. These two types affect up to one third of the population and can be treated in a variety of ways from corrective lenses to surgery.

Myopia, or nearsightedness occurs when the eyeball is slightly longer than usual from front to back or the shape of the cornea is too steep. This causes the light entering the eye to come to a focus in front of the retina which results in a blurred distance vision.

Hyperopia, or farsightedness is the opposite of myopia. It occurs when the eyeball is slightly shorter than normal, or the shape of the cornea is too flat. This cause the light entering the eye to come to a focus behind the retina, which results in blurred near vision. Distance vision may also be blurred depending on the severity of hyperopia.

Presbyopia is an age related condition that effects your ability to focus clearly on near objects like printed text, computer screens and photographs. It primarily affects people over the age of 40 and is not a disease.

When light from a close object enters the eye it naturally comes to focus behind the retina. To focus the light properly the cilliary muscle around your lens contracts, which changes the shape of the lens, allowing the light to focus properly. With Presbyopia, your lens begins to gradually harden as you get older. This hardening of the lens does not allow it to change shape properly resulting in blurred vision.

There are a variety of ways to correct presbyopia including glasses, bifocals, trifocals or contact lenses. LASIK surgery or conductive keratoplasty, known as CK, are also options. Because Presbyopia is a gradual process you will need to consult your eyecare provider regularly to monitor the condition

Dry Eye Syndrome is characterized by itching, burning, gritty, red eyes. There are many causes for Dry Eye and, consequently there are many treatments.

Your tears serve many important functions. They wash out debris, keep your eyes moist and have special enzymes that neutralize microorganisms that colonize your eyes. Tears are made up of three layers, the lipid, aqueous and mucus layers. The lipid layer is the outer oily section, the aqueous layer is the watery middle part, and the mucus layer is the inner section closest to your cornea. The layers are produced by different glands in your eyelid and a problem with any of them can cause dry eye syndrome. If left untreated, dry eye can cause tissue damage and scarring of the cornea, leading to major vision problems.

There are many factors that can cause dry eyes. Age, certain medications, insufficient blinking, chemical composition of tears and environmental factors like sunlight, wind, dust and smoke. Dry Eye is also the number one complaint of people who wear contact lenses. With all of these potential causes there are also a variety of ways to treat dry eyes.

Artificial tears drops can help simulate tears in your eyes, reducing redness and clearing vision. Wearing sunglasses, cleaning furnace and air conditioning filters, avoiding smoke and using a humidifier can also help you reduce dryness. If you are having problems with a medication or if you wear contact lenses and are experiencing dry eyes, consult with your eye care provider to explore other options.

Because of the wide array of causes and solutions for dry eye, make sure to visit with your eye care provider to determine the best solution for you.

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 Eye IQ

Now that you have picked up your new pair of prescription eyeglasses, your focus becomes taking care of them. A task many disregard, it is absolutely imperative that you make sure you are following a couple simple steps to keep the quality of your vision where it is with your new spectacles.

We are all guilty of using a garment of clothing when in a rush to wipe away a pesky smudge on our glasses. This act is unfortunately the worst thing you can do for your lenses.

No matter how clean your clothes are, dust particles and even small bits of sand and debris cling to them. Since eyeglass lenses are not made of diamonds, these tiny little particles can do tremendous amounts of damage to your new lenses. The smallest little crumb can grind an inconspicuous scratch directly in your line of vision, which in turn can render your glasses almost useless.

Most of us know what it feels like trying to concentrate on the world in front of you when there is a little scratch distorting and distracting your vision. A majority of the time, these little scratches can be avoided by following a few simple steps.

You may have noticed when shopping in your favorite store that they sell a variety of eyeglass cleaners. You need to be careful because the sprays and wipes that you can purchase in retail stores are not necessarily approved for all types of eyeglass lens materials.

This factor makes them fall under that category of products that many eye care professions cannot recommend. Most of these liquids contain a form of acetone or other cleaning agent that is too harsh for plastic lenses. Many years ago, when all eyeglasses were actually made out of crown glass, these products would have worked just fine. Now, during a time where they have developed thinner, lighter materials like cr-39 plastic and polycarbonate, these products have proven to be too hard on the lenses.

Over time, the lenses will start to break down if exposed to the chemicals used in these sprays, causing a fogging effect. Once again, you are left with a pair of glasses that are now unable to be worn.

Now that we have gone over the two main culprits in the destruction of eyeglass lenses other than accidents, let’s focus on some tips to extend the lifetime of your glasses.

Most importantly, you should use an eyeglass case. For the large portion of patients who wear their glasses all day, it’s understandable how awkward it can be to carry a case around. But it’s nowhere near as frustrating as realizing the new pair of eyeglasses you just purchased are becoming scratched and ruined.

Also, you do not need to carry the case with you everywhere you go. Strategically leaving a case on a bedside table, in your car, or in a purse is the difference between “life or death” for your glasses.

This is also a simple way to clean your glasses that does not require you to purchase anything you probably don’t already have at home. Using lukewarm water at the sink, place a small, pea-sized dab of dish soap on your fingers. Gently rub the soap on both lenses from side to side, and then rinse with warm water. A disposable paper towel is recommended to dry the glasses.

Disposable towels work because they are just that, disposable - which guarantees they are not carrying dirt or sand from a prior use.

Taking care of your glasses today means you have them for clear vision tomorrow and into the future.

 

Article contributed by Richard Striffolino Jr.

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

It is safe to say that many people prefer shopping online to shopping in stores for many of their needs.

With technology constantly improving and evolving, people tend to take advantage of the convenience of shopping online. Whether it’s clothing, electronics, or even food, you can easily find almost everything you need on the Internet.

Eyeglasses, unfortunately, are no different. Many online shops have been popping up in recent years, offering people that same convenience. But what they don’t tell you is that it comes at a price, and this article’s purpose is to shine a light on the negatives of shopping online for eyeglasses.

Here are some important reasons to avoid the temptation of ordering glasses online.

  1. Accuracy- Instead of saving the most important point for last, we will focus on the main reason that ordering eyeglass online is a bad idea first. Product accuracy is a huge reason that the online market has not completely taken off. Every person who needs eyeglasses needs to understand the process for how their prescription is obtained in order to truly understand why shopping online is a bad idea. It is called an eyeglass prescription for a reason. Your ophthalmologist or optometrist is prescribing your lenses as if they were prescribing any form of medication. To take that prescription and hand it over to a website that does not require licensed workers to interpret the prescription is not the wisest choice. Equally as important as the prescription itself are the pupillary distance (PD) measurement, and the optical centers. These measurements are not given at the time of the examination by the ophthalmologist or optometrist, but instead are administered by the optician at the point of sale. Not having these measurements done accurately will negatively affect the quality of vision as much as an error in the prescription.
  2. Quality- Similar to the accuracy of the lens, the quality of the product you are purchasing is affected when making the decision to purchase online. The saying “too good to be true” is the case more times than not, and this purchase is no exception. When you see enticing advertisements for pricing that seems to be too good, there is a reason. This product is often not inspected or handled by a state-licensed optician. These websites rely on mass production in order to operate. Factory workers operating machines pale in comparison to the experience you will receive in a professional office. Skilled opticians licensed to interpret and manufacture your eyeglass prescriptions and are held to a much higher standard than factory workers.
  3. Warranty- Due to their low prices, most of these websites do not include any form of product warranty or guarantee. Opticians, however, stand behind your purchase. If there are issues with adjustment or a patient not being comfortable in a specific lens or product, professional opticians are willing to work with you. This personal experience is not attainable on the web.
  4. Coordination with your doctor- With the complexity of eyeglass lenses, the ease of working in house is always a benefit worth keeping in mind. Eyeglass lenses can be very complex products. Having the benefit of being able to work directly with the doctor gives the optician the best chance to put you in the exact lenses you need. There is a substantial difference in the percentage of error between shopping online and the care you get in a private practice.
  5. Personal Experience- Probably the most important factor for many people, the personal experience you get when shopping in person is something you cannot obtain by using the Internet. Dealing with the same opticians year in and out is something patients emphasize and appreciate. Just like people tend to keep the same doctors over the years, patients like knowing that the same people will be in charge of making their glasses. Shopping online will not offer that experience.

All of these factors should be carefully weighed when making the decision to shop online. While the initial price difference could entice you at first, know that it does come at a price. Whether it be a warranty, quality, or convenience all of these are very important factors when buying glasses. People sometimes tend to discount how intricate eyeglasses are.

Purchasing eyeglasses is handled best in person by professionals who can provide you with the utmost care and quality.

 

Article contributed by Richard Striffolino Jr.

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

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.

Oftentimes, contact lens wearers will skimp on their lens care because some of the solutions are costly and it seems like a good way to save some hard-earned cash. This is not a good idea.

Cutting corners can result in infections or irritations, and after one or two copays to your ophthalmologist or optometrist office you will probably spend more than what you saved in a year by cutting corners, plus your discomfort and inability to wear your contact lenses while you are being treated.

The reasons you clean your contacts is to give increased lens comfort, prolong lens oxygen permeability, and to protect your eyes from infection. The reason you have to disinfect your contact lenses is - as nasty as it may sound - your eyeball and eyelids are covered in essential bacteria that are kept in check by your body’s immune system. When you remove your contact lens at night it is covered in these essential bacteria. If you don't kill them overnight this will allow the bacteria to grow unchecked and then, instead of inserting a freshly cleaned lens, you are inserting a lens covered in more bacteria than your eye is used to and you end up getting an infection.

Let’s talk about the most widely used type of solution - the multipurpose solution. While this is often the most incorrectly used solution, multipurpose solutions are a very safe and effective disinfection method when used properly.

Many multipurpose solutions advertise themselves as “No Rub.” Just put it in the case and you are done. This is OK to do, but a quick rub with the no-rub solution in the palm of your hand and the opposite hand’s middle or ring finger provide and even better cleaning option. Just the slight roughness of your fingerprint adds a light scrubbing effect that helps improve the removal of surface debris, protein and mucous better than just letting the lens soak overnight. This rubbing of the lens is especially important for women to remove any cosmetics that are rarely removed by just soaking alone. This few seconds of extra cleaning will make your lenses stay more comfortable longer during their wearing cycle, and help to keep the pores of the lenses open, allowing more oxygen to contact your cornea to keep them healthier for your eyes.

Many name brands and store/warehouse brands of multipurpose solutions exist. All are FDA approved to do the same thing: clean/disinfect/rinse/store your contact lenses. You can't really mess them up unless you try. Remove the lenses, lightly rub them with the multipurpose solution, place your lens into a CLEAN and DRY lens case, and cover the lens with solution to disinfect it. Then let it sit for the amount of hours recommended by the manufacturer, generally between 4 to 8 hours, or overnight. Remove the lenses in the morning, rinse with the same multipurpose solution and rinse the lens case out and leave it open to air dry in an area away from your sink and toilet to prevent airborne contaminants from getting into your case as it dries.

The biggest misuse of the multipurpose solution is not changing your case’s solution nightly and just adding more solution to the case each night. We call this “topping off the case.” This is NOT safe because it will lose disinfection power since the old/used solution was busy killing the bacteria and organisms from the night before. Just adding a little fresh solution will eventually allow for the bacteria to take over and you may be adding more bacteria into your eyes than if you never disinfected the lenses to begin with.

Multipurpose solution companies oftentimes will give you a new case when you buy bigger bottles of solution. This is meant for you to START with the NEW CASE with the NEW BOTTLE of solution. Not to stash the case away and have a drawer full of new cases. There are fungi and other organisms that have been demonstrated to grow from very old lens cases so USE the new case and don't keep it for when you break the old one.

There are many different multipurpose solutions on the market. They aren't cheap and it is tempting to purchase “what is on sale” to save a few dollars. If it does the same thing as the expensive one, then why bother spending the extra? But remember, your contacts are like little sponges that soak up your lens solution. The lens companies don't care if brand A’s solution is compatible with brand B’s or C’s. So over time you can develop a sensitivity to one particular brand of solution, or mixing solutions with the same lens can cause a chemical reaction that occurs because the solutions are not compatible. If you are using the same brand regularly and start having issues your doctor may recommend a solution change to another company that you haven't tried and this may potentially solve your problem. But if you have used several different ones in a few weeks prior to your visit it makes it much harder to determine the cause of your irritation.

The generic/store brands are fine products but a grocery store or discount chain doesn’t have a factory that makes their solution for them; they purchase it from a larger supplier. These third-party suppliers can alter their recipe for their multipurpose lens solution and you as the consumer never know. You could just start finding your contacts are not as comfortable as they used to be and it is actually the unknown generic solution change that is bothering you. Brand name companies like Bausch and Lomb, AMO, and Alcon will rarely make product changes without making consumers aware that they've reformulated the product so if something changes with the reformulated product you have a better chance of knowing it than with a generic solution manufacturer.

Finally, there is a product called saline solution. Saline is extremely inexpensive, generally half to a third the price of multipurpose solutions. This is a product made by many different companies and was the first lens solution ever used. Saline solution was initially used in a heat disinfection system where the lenses were boiled nightly. The boiling of the lens provided the disinfection, not the saline solution. The solution was to just to prevent the lens from drying out while you cooked it. You should NEVER use saline solution as a replacement for multipurpose solution. Saline solution is NOT a disinfectant for your lenses. It doesn’t contain an agent that will prevent bacteria and organisms from growing in the case overnight and potentially can set you up for infections. However, it’s totally acceptable if you want to rinse your lenses in the morning with saline prior to inserting them after they were disinfected with your multipurpose.

Oftentimes, a practitioner will recommend a certain type of solution to help with things like dryness, environmental allergy-sensitive patients, or patients who are allergic to multipurpose solutions. I always recommend to check with your practitioner before making any changes to your lens care solution or lens care routine. The best advice for saving money on your preferred solution is buy extra when it is on sale, buy in bulk, and buy what is most comfortable in a multipurpose solution for you. Then stick with it and use it correctly for many years of happy lens wear.

More middle-aged and older adults are wearing soft contacts than ever.

And one of the biggest reasons they decrease or stop wearing contacts is the difficulty they face reading with their contacts after presbyopia begins to set in around the early 40’s.

Presbyopia is the diminished ability of the natural lens in our eyes to focus up close on near objects. It begins with the occasional medicine bottle being a struggle to read to eventually even having a meal is blurred. As I am going through this problem myself, it is very frustrating to stare at something up close and have it be blurry regardless of what I do.

So there are three basic choices a contact lens wearer can do to aid their reading while still wearing contact lenses.

Reading Glasses

Initially, the use of an over-the-counter reader or prescription reading glass for occasional use works well for people in the early stages of presbyopia. They are worn over distance contact lenses so there is little adjustment and vision is clear near and far. However, they need to be with you, not left in the car or at work, and oftentimes people end up just wearing readers all day since it is just that much clearer.

Monovision

This fitting technique can be used with any type of contact lens. The brand of lenses you are currently wearing can often be used to fit you with monovision. Your dominant eye is determined. Then the non-dominant eye prescription is adjusted to compensate to make it a reading contact lens. So once fitted you have one eye for distance and the other for reading. Yes, it sounds really crazy, but it actually works quite well. Your brain initially has to adjust to using each eye individually to obtain the sharpest vision, but once this is achieved, year-to-year adjustments can be made to the reading eye to allow comfortable distance and reading vision for many years.

Monovision fits are not always successful. Some people just cannot adjust to it regardless of motivation or desire. It seems to work best when someone has had some difficulty with reading and they are noticing more and more that they need their readers. At that point, they can appreciate the ability to read and their brain seems to adapt more readily. When I wear my contacts this is the option I have used for myself.

Multifocal Contacts

Another option is multifocal contact lenses. Most every major manufacturer of soft contact lenses has some type of disposable multifocal lens available. They do not work like multifocal glasses. They use a technique called simultaneous viewing where you are actually looking through all the powers at once.

To visualize this, imagine a vinyl record with the label in the center and the various tracks extending outward. Most of the lenses are made with the strongest reading power located in the center where the label would be, then each ring further out gradually becomes weaker until you reach your full distance power. So essentially you are looking “around” the reading part for distance then through the center for reading. It works, sort of.

Multifocal lenses work better on younger patients, say 40-50 years old, for help with reading. There is no adaptation period to these lenses like monovision. What you see is what you get. But if you have any significant amount of astigmatism or if you wear a toric contact that corrects for astigmatism, multifocal lenses are not for you. And because the reading is central in the lens, if you make it too strong for reading then you blur the distance vision too much, so oftentimes a multifocal lens wearer after age 50 faces a dilemma to either wear reading glasses to boost their reading needs or change to monovision.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while none of the options are perfect they all may present some level of relief in your quest to continue to wear contacts into middle age, retirement and beyond. But some options may better serve you at a certain point in your life or career than others. So while you happily wore contacts from your teens into your 40’s, just because you’re another year older is no reason to give them up. Talk to your ophthalmologist or optometrist to see what choices are best for you.

 

Article contributed by Eugene Schoener O.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

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.

Is making an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam for your children on your back-to-school checklist? It needs to be.

No amount of new clothes, backpacks or supplies will help your child succeed in school if they have an undetected vision problem. 

The difference between eye exams and vision screenings

An annual exam done by an eye doctor is more focused than a visual screening done at school. School screenings are simply "pass-fail tests" that are often limited to measuring a child’s sight clarity and visual acuity up to a distance of 20 feet. But this can provide a false sense of security.

There are important differences between a screening and a comprehensive eye exam.

Where a screening tests only for visual acuity, comprehensive exams will test for acuity, chronic diseases, color vision and make sure the eyes are working together properly. This means a child may pass a vision screening at school because they are able to see the board, but they may not be able to see the words in the textbook in front of them.

Why back-to-school eye exams matter

Did you know that 1 out of 4 children has an undiagnosed vision problem because changes in their eyesight go unrecognized? 

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a common condition in children and often develops around the ages of 6 or 7. And nearsightedness can change very quickly, especially between the ages of 11 and 13, which means that an eye prescription can change rapidly over a short period of time. That’s why annual checkups are important.

Comprehensive eye exams can detect other eye conditions. Some children may have good distance vision but may struggle when reading up close. This is known as hyperopia or farsightedness. Other eye issues such as strabismus (misaligned eyes), astigmatism or amblyopia (lazy eye) are also detectable. 

Kids may not tell you they're having visions issues or even realize it. They may simply think everyone sees the same way they do. Kids often give indirect clues, such as holding books or device screens close to their face, having problems recalling what they've read, or avoiding reading altogether. Other signs could include a short attention span, frequent headaches, seeing double, rubbing their eyes or tilting their head to the side.

What to expect at your child's eye exam

Before the exam, explain that eye exams aren’t scary, and can be fun. A kid-friendly eye exam is quick for your child. After the doctor tests how she sees colors and letters using charts with pictures, shapes, and patterns, we will give you our assessment of your child’s eyes. 

If your child needs to wear glasses, we can even recommend frames and lenses best for their needs.

Set your child up for success

Staying consistent with eye exams is important because it can help your kids see their best in the classroom and when playing sports. Better vision can also mean better confidence because they are able see well. 

Because learning is so visual, making an eye examination a priority every year is an important investment you can make in your child's education. You should also be aware that your health insurance might cover pediatric eye exams.

With clearer vision, help make this school year their best ever!

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!

Image result for corneal refractive therapy image

 

Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) is a non-surgical way to correct near-sightedness (myopia) without the need for daytime glasses or contact lenses.  Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses are prescribed to be worn overnight to temporarily reshape the cornea (clear, front part of the eye).  When an idividual is near-sighted, objects are out of focus in the distance because light is focused in front of the retina.  This occurs when either the eye is too long, the cornea is too steep, or a combination of the two.  CRT lenses are worn overnight which reshape (flatten) the central cornea much in the same way LASIK flattens the cornea with a laser.  The difference is that LASIK is permanent and CRT is temporary.  The effects of cornea reshaping by CRT lasts from 24-48 hours.  If the CRT lenses are discontinued, the cornea will eventually return to its natural shape and therefore, myopia will return.  CRT lenses are a great choice for those who are not old enough for LASIK or those who do not want to undergo surgery to correct their myopia.

Many parents are choosing CRT for their children to attempt to slow down the progression of myopia.  Although myopia control is not proven and therefore cannot be claimed, there are many articles written on the subject of myopia control.  Myopia progression in growing individuals cannot be stopped or reversed by wearing CRT lenses, however, there is evidence that it may help to slow down the progression of myopia.  If you are considering CRT lenses for yourself or a family member, I would recommend scheduling an appointment with an eye care professional who is skilled and experienced in fitting CRT lenses.  Not everyone is a candidate for CRT lenses, but for those who wear them in my practice, they absolutely love them!

Most people have heard of astigmatism and many have even been told that they have astigmatism.  If you are at all confused or unsure of what astigmatism is and what is means to your vision, you may want to read this.

The official definition of astigmatism is:  a defect in the eye or in a lens caused by a deviation from spherical curvature, which results in distorted images, as light rays are prevented from meeting at a common focus.

Ok, so how does astigmatism affect your vision and what can you do about it?  Astigmatism not only can blur your vision, it also distorts your vision.  If it is mild, astigmatism can cause a slight blurring of your vision causing the need to squint to clear up the images you are viewing.  If it is moderate or severe, astigmatism can significantly blur your vision and cause eyestrain and headaches if left uncorrected.

How should astigmatism be treated?  The common treatment for astigmatism is glasses or contact lenses.  LASIK can also be used to correct astigmatism.  Depending on the severity of the astigmatism, your options may be limited.  The good news is that with modern technology, we have excellent options to provide you with clear, comfortable vision, regardless of the severity of your astigmatism.

The first step to take to understanding your vision is to see your eye doctor.  After thoroughly examining your eyes, your eye doctor will be able to determine if you have astigmatism, the severity, the type (corneal or lenticular),and the treatment options which will be best for your individual needs.  If it is determined that you have severe astigmatism, your treatment options will be limited and it is imperative that you find an eye doctor who is skilled in fitting specialty contact lenses.  If contact lenses do not interest you, then make sure you choose the best lenses for your eyeglasses.  Your licensed optician will help you choose the best lenses for astigmatism.  There are many lens options available to you and it is important to understand your options.  If you choose solely based on price, you will most likely be disappointed.

Astigmatism is only one type of refractive error that can blur our vision.  The more commonly known conditions are myopia (near-sightedness) and hyperopia (far-sightedness).  Astigmatism can exist alone, or can be combined with myopia or hyperopia.  The more complex the refractive error, the more important it is to choose the right treatment options.  Our vision can be very complex and it is important to rely on eye care professionals to provide you with the best options.  

Bottom line:  Annual eye exams are not only important for eye health, they are also important to provide you with the best options for vision correction.  When choosing an eye doctor, do your homework and make sure you are choosing an eye doctor who will provide you with the best treatment options.  We rely on our vision every day.  Make sure your vision is the best it can possibly be.

Have you ever been told that you have keratoconus?  Keratoconus is a condition that affects the front surface of the eye called the cornea.  Many people who have keratoconus do not even know it.  In its beginning stages, keratoconus is very difficult to detect.  Your eye doctor can detect keratoconus in its early stages using a corneal mapping device called corneal topography.  Keratoconus usually presents in early adulthood and can progress as one ages.  It is important to detect keratoconus in its early stages and to see an eye doctor that is very familiar with the disease and treatment for it.

There are many types of contact lenses designed for keratoconic corneas.  In most cases of keratoconus, eyeglasses provide less than optimal clarity due to the warping effect of the cone.  By using specially designed contact lenses, visual acuity can be improved above and beyond what eyeglasses can provide.  Traditional soft contact lenses also fall short in acuity because they take the shape of the cornea and do not address the conical shape of the cornea.

A new procedure that has recently been approved by the FDA is called corneal cross-linking.  This procedure is used to slow down the progression of keratoconus in young adults.  Even after cross-linking, the keratoconus must still be addressed with specialty contact lenses to provide optimal vision.  Cross-linking does not reverse the effects of keratoconus, but rather slows down or halts the progression of the disease.

Keratoconus can be hereditary so it is important to stress the importance of regular eye examinations for family members of people with keratoconus.  If keratoconus is diagnosed early, the prognosis is much better.  It is important to find an eye doctor who is experienced in fitting specialty lenses.  Keratoconus contact lenses can be rather expensive.  Some vision plans provide very good benefits for "medically necessary" contact lenses.  

We are now into February and I would assume most of us are looking forward to the warmer days of spring.  Although sunglasses should be worn year-round, many people associate sunglasses with warm, sunny days.  Now is a good time to consider upgrading your sunglasses.  If you already enjoy wearing high quality polarized sunglasses, then you are in the minority.  Unfortunately, high quality sunglasses usually make people think "expensive".  It is true that high quality sunglasses have a higher price tag, but this is one area that you truly get what you pay for.

We wear sunglasses for fashion, visual comfort and clarity, and for protection from harmful sunlight.  If your sunglasses don't provide all of those things, then you need to find some that do.  The higher the quality of sunglasses, usually the higher the price tag.  That doesn't always hold true in reverse.  There are plenty of high priced sunglasses that are not necessarily the highest quality.  The main thing that seperates the quality of the sunglasses in the high price category is the lens.  If the lenses don't protect your eyes properly, including UV and blue light, and provide high quality optics, then you should look for some that do.

We have many options in sunwear and you should rely on your eye care professionals to find the right sunglasses for you.  Fortunately, if you rely on prescription eyeglasses to see, the higher quality sunglasses also come in prescription.  These lenses are made with the same technology that the non-prescription lenses are made.  Keeping your eyewear properly adjusted will ensure that your sunglasses remain as comfortable and the optics are a clear as possible.

Your eyes are precious.  Don't skimp on quality to save a buck.  Your eyes will thank you for it!

The answer to the above question is....it depends.  You most likely have been told that sleeping in your contact lenses is not a good idea and could cause some major problems.  That can be true, but it is not necessarily always true.  With the new materials that modern contact lenses are usually made from, silicone hydrogel, the problem is not hypoxia (lack of oxygen permeation).  One could argue that the eye gets nearly as much oxygen with most "extended wear" lenses as is does without a lens on the eye.  The problem lies in the cleanliness of the lens and surface deposits.  As a contact lens sits on the surface of the eye, it is exposed to atmospheric debris, tears, and other foreign substances.  Over the course of the day, these foreign elements will adhere to the surface of the lens.  If the lens is not removed routinely and cleaned and disinfected, irritation can occur and lead to serious complications.  Eye infections, especially the kind that affect the cornea, can lead to permanent damage to the eyes and vision.

eye-infection-1.jpg                 download.jpg

Infection from contact lens abuse                   Healthy contact lens wear

  If cleaning your contact lenses seems like too much work, you may want to consider daily disposable contact lenses that are worn once and thrown away.

There is, however, a type of contact lens that is actually prescribed to be worn overnight, on purpose!  The difference in these contact lenses is that they reshape the cornea in order to change the refractive error.  This only works with those individuals that are near-sighted and may have mild to moderate astigmatism.  CRT lenses (corneal refractive therapy) are worn overnight and removed in the morning.  After removal, the lenses are cleaned and disinfected during the daytime.

So, now you see why the answer is a little more complicated than you may have thought.  It is important to discuss your individual needs with your eye doctor and make sure that you are compliant with the wear schedule that your eye doctor prescribes.  Contact lenses come in many forms and can seem pretty complicated.  It is the job of your eye doctor to take care of your eyes and prescribe the healthiest option for your needs.  It is your job to comply.  Remember, if you really want to wear contact lenses, you most likely can.  Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor in order take advantage of the many healthy contact lens options that you have.

Brent B. Fry, O.D.

 

With all of the options that are available for eye care services and products, how can you decide what is best for you and your family?  Getting accurate information can sometimes be difficult due to all of the advertising that is all over the television and internet.  To keep it simple, remember, you usually get what you pay for.  If you see 2 pair of glasses for $69 and a free eye exam, do you really think that those glasses and that eye exam are what is best for you and your family?  We encourage people to schedule an eye exam in our office and let us inform you about all of the new and exciting innovations in eye care and products available today.  Do you really think that the "buy one get one" places are the best place to go for something as important as your eyes and your vision?  You use your eyes for everything and you should value your eyes and take care of them the best you can.  So when you are considering eye care options, shouldn't you consider more than just price?
We're excited to be in the process of expanding our business!  Our practice was featured today in the Farragut Press.

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