Cleaning Your Glasses 101

Your glasses are one of the essential things you wear every day! Your eyewear helps you navigate the world around you, learn new things, and give you the ability to make memories with friends and family. Are you taking the best care of them? One of the best ways to keep you seeing your best is by regularly cleaning your lenses. And you may do it already, but are you doing it right? Here are our recommended steps for cleaning your glasses and common do’s and don’t of lens care.

Cleaning Your Glasses

Using soap to clean your lenses.

With a clean hand, place a drop of cleaning soap on your fingertip. We recommend avoiding hand soaps that contain lotion or fragrance to prevent smudges on the lens.

  • Do not use any household cleaners like window cleaning spray or alcohol to clean your lenses. These products may cause damage to the coating on your frames or lenses.
  • Do not use hand soap or baby wipes to clean your lenses. These products commonly have moisturizing properties that can lead to a hazy residue after cleaning.

Washing & Rinsing

Under room temperature water, gently rub your entire frame and lenses with your fingers. We do not recommend using hot water as it could damage coatings on your eyewear. Rinse your eyewear to remove all soap residue.

Drying or wiping your lenses clean.

Using a microfiber cleaning cloth, dry your glasses. If you notice that your lens cleaning cloth is dirty, clean with your standard laundry load. However, be sure NOT to use fabric softener as this adds residue to your material that could cause smudges on your eyewear.

  • Don’t use toilet paper, your shirt, or other cloth to clean your glasses. Most fabric cloths, especially with dry lenses, can scratch, smear, or leave lint on your lenses.
  • Don’t try to buff out any scratches. If your lenses have been scratched, contact us, and we will let you know what we can do to help!

Have questions about how to best care for your eyewear, let us know. We are here to help! We are also always happy to fully clean and disinfect your eyewear during your next appointment. Schedule your next exam today by giving our office a call.

Protecting Your Eyes in Every Season

There are many things we need to protect our eyes from all year round, including allergies, dry eye, and harmful UV rays. Each of these could affect your eyes any day of the year.  Take a look at these tips for protecting your eyes so you can stay allergy-free, hydrated, and protected  from harmful UV rays.

Reducing Allergy Symptoms

Whether you have seasonal, perennial, or indoor allergies, the key to protecting yourself is to reduce your exposure to allergens. From summer to winter, here are some tips to reduce your symptoms.

  • Wear Sunglasses. Try wearing sunglasses outside to protect yourself from harmful UV rays and keep pollen or allergens from entering your eyes.
  • Keep your hands and face clean. Your hands touch many surfaces throughout the day and can easily pick up allergens from your surroundings. Reduce the possibility of allergens entering your eye by making sure your hands are clean before touching your face and eyes.
  • Opt for glasses. Contact lenses are an excellent option for most people, but if you are heavily affected by outdoor allergens, opting for glasses instead might reduce allergy symptoms. Glasses allow your eyes to maintain lubrication and act as a shield from outdoor allergens.
  • Keep your windows shut and use your air conditioning instead!
  • Use an air purifier to remove your allergy triggers from your indoor space.
  • Keep your eyes lubricated by using artificial tears and rewetting drops.

Protecting Your Eyes From Against Harmful UV

Your exposure to harmful UV rays is affected by many different factors from location, time of day, cloud cover to your environment. However, these factors don’t mean that UV protection is not needed. Check out our facts below about UV rays and different environments.

  • Clouds: While clouds do block some light and UV rays, UVA can penetrate clouds and reach your eyes.
  • Sun: Easy, sun = UV radiation. Always make sure you are wearing your sunglasses on a sunny day!
  • Snow: On sunny days, snow can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation. Wear a pair of sunwear on snowy days to protect your eyes and reduce blinding glare from reflected light.
  • Water: Water can reflect up to 10% of UV light and sand by almost 15%. So next time you head out to go fishing or to the beach, remember your UV protective eyewear!

Reduce Your Dry Eye Symptoms

Does chronic dry eye syndrome or extended computer use have your eyes tired, red, and itchy? Try these tips to reduce your dry eye symptoms and find relief!

  • Weather: If you are going out on a cold or windy day, pack your glasses or sunwear! Heavy wind can cause your eyes to dry out. By wearing a pair of eyewear, you are keeping your eyes hydrated.
  • Take a computer break. Our bodies naturally blink less when working on a digital device. Remember to take breaks from your computer screen to give your eyes a break!
  • Remember to blink! Try adding a note to your computer screen to remind yourself to blink! Blinking is what keeps your eyes hydrated and can help alleviate dry eye symptoms.
  • Keep your eyes lubricated by using artificial tears and rewetting drops.

Ready to start protecting your eyes all year round! Grab a pair of eyewear during your next appointment or ask us about relief from your symptoms. We are here to help.

Floaters or Spots: Should I be worried?

Have you noticed tiny shadows cast upon objects? Small spots, lines, or other shapes caused by floaters in your eye aren’t a big deal most of the time. Read more below to find out when you should contact your doctor about spots in your vision!

Floaters or Spots, are they normal?

As you age, the gel-like consistency in your eye begins to dissolve, creating floaters in the watery center of your eye. While you cannot see the particle floating in your eye, a shadow of these particles reflects off the objects. Floaters or spots are normal, and typically, treatment is not necessary.

Flashes of light

When light enters your eye, it sends a message to the retina. The retina then produces an electrical impulse to your brain. The brain then interprets this impulse as an image.

If the retina is tugged or torn, it’s common to see flickers of light. Depending on the retinal tissue’s severity, the flashes or flickers of light can be temporary or continue indefinitely. If you see flashes or flickering light in your vision, call our office immediately!

Shower of floaters

Seeing a few new floaters is not an emergency. However, if you suddenly see a shower of floaters or spots, this may cause concern. The sudden appearance of flashes of light could mean that damage is occurring to your retina. If any of these symptoms suddenly appear, call our office immediately to discuss them with your eye doctor.

Dark shadows in peripheral vision

If your floaters or spots become darkened peripheral vision or larger areas start to darken and stay in your peripheral vision, call our office to schedule an appointment immediately. Loss of sight in your peripheral vision could be the sign of a more severe vision problem.

It is our goal to keep your eyes healthy throughout your life. If you notice trouble seeing or are experiencing pain with your vision, schedule an appointment. While you can’t prevent some eye diseases, there are some general tips to protect your vision and maintain eye health.

  • Receive a comprehensive eye exam
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Drink more water
  • Wear protective eyewear
  • Rest your eyes

Eye Exams: What to Expect

Yearly comprehensive eye exams are crucial to detecting changes in your vision and risk of eye-related diseases. We recommend adults have a comprehensive eye exam every year, and children should have an eye exam as early as six months before they start school, and then every 1-2 years. We often get questions about what to expect from your eye exam, so we’ve created an overview of the parts of a typical eye exam.

Eye Exams: What to Expect

Eye exams are quick and painless! 

Who gives an eye exam? An optometrist will perform your eye exam. Optometrists are eye doctors who prescribe glasses, contacts, vision therapy, and medication to treat eye diseases.

Choosing eyewear? Following your exam, one of our staff opticians will help you select a pair of eyewear. An optician will ask you about your lifestyle to determine which eyewear is best for you as well as fit, adjust, and repair your eyeglasses.

What to expect during your appointment?

Your eye exam may take an hour or more based on the tests your eye doctor determines are needed to evaluate your eye health. Your eye exam may consist of the following tests.

Pre-Exam Tests

Before your exam, a technician will often perform a few basic tests, including:

  • During a color sensitivity test, we will ask you to look at colored circles or shape and simply read the letter or number you see within it.
  • For a peripheral vision test, we will place an object in your peripheral vision and ask that without moving your eyes if you can see the item displayed.
  • The glaucoma (or “air puff” test) is commonly the most uncomfortable testing during your exam. For this test, the technician will puff a small bit of air into your eye to measure your eye pressure. There is no direct contact between the technician or machine and your eye and should only result in some watery eyes following.

Your Eye Exam

To prepare for your exam, bring your most recent pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Remember also to bring a list of questions or concerns you may have about your eyesight to discuss with your eye doctor.

Pupillary Reaction

Using a light, the doctor checks your pupils’ responsiveness. Your pupils’ response to light is a natural function of the eye and is critical to your vision. While using the light, the doctor will also look at the surface of your eye for signs of dry eye, corneal scratches and bacterial debris.

Slit Lamp Test

A slit light test is when your doctor shines a vertical bar of light into your eye to magnify its surface and inspect for abnormalities. This test allows the doctor to check your cornea, iris, and lens. During this test, you may be asked to blink or look in a specific director to allow your doctor to view your eye’s surface.

Visual Acuity and Refraction

The most well-known part of the eye exam is the visual acuity test. Your doctor will ask you to read an eye chart filled with numbers and letters with one or both eyes. Your ability to clearly read and identify the numbers and letters helps the doctor further determine your vision prescription needs. To hone in on your exact prescription, your doctor will place a large lens refractor in front of you and ask you a series of questions about which lenses make your vision better or worse.

Pupil Dilation

We recommend getting a dilated eye exam every year! By dilating your eyes, your doctor can more clearly examine your retina and optic nerve. To dilate your eyes, your doctor will place a few eye drops in your eyes to cause your pupils to enlarge. After a dilated exam, your eyes may be sensitive to light for up to an hour after the test. If you need a pair of temporary sunglasses, ask us, and we may be able to provide you one for comfort while driving home.

What to do after the exam?

Shop our selection of eyewear to find the perfect pair for your lifestyle. An optician for our team will be available to walk you through this process. Finally, schedule your follow-up appointment for the next year!

How Eating Healthy Affects Your Eyes

The foods and vitamins you consume affect your body’s overall health, including your eyes. With a healthy diet and lifestyle, the likelihood of developing some eye diseases and health disorders dramatically decreases. With a few simple steps, your body will thank you later!

Eating Healthy Foods

One of the best things you can do is choose foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins. An easy trick to remember is dark green or brightly colored fruits and vegetables are the go-to foods. Not only will they impact your overall health, but they will help to reduce the chances of developing eye diseases such as dry eyes and cataracts.

Another trick is to look for different versions of your favorite snacks. Instead of foods that are high in sugar or made from white flour, look for sugar-free foods and whole-grain alternatives. Healthy fats such as salmon and nuts are high in omega-3, which helps with your eye health.

Hydration

Water is one of the best drinks that you can choose, so drink plenty of it! Stay away from sugary drinks because proper hydration helps to reduce dry eye symptoms.

Nutrients

Nutrients are essential to your overall health. If you find yourself not getting the amounts needed daily, look into taking supplements to ensure you receive the proper amount. The following nutrients can help reduce your risk for many eye related issues!</p

  • Vitamin A: night blindness and dry eyes
  • Omega-3: macular degeneration and dry eyes
  • Vitamin C: cataracts and macular degeneration
  • Vitamin D: macular degeneration
  • Zinc: night blindness
  • Vitamin E: advanced macular degeneration

Aging Eyes

Your eyes will change as you age, so it’s essential to take all factors into consideration on how to keep your eyes healthy. One of the most important things is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. By wearing sunglasses with built-in UV protection, you can help prevent your eyes from developing cataracts and macular degeneration.

Eating lean beef in moderation can also boost your eye health. Beef contains zinc, which helps your body absorb vitamins and may play a role in reducing the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration.

Another habit you should start is leaving the cigarettes behind. Not only is smoking harmful to your overall health, but it increases the chances of developing eye diseases.

Finally, one of the easiest things you can do is schedule an annual eye exam to detect any eye diseases as early as possible. Many eye conditions start without symptoms, so it’s crucial to have a professional take a look. Call us today to learn more!

Eye Allergies in Every Season

Eye allergies are caused by the same substances that give you a runny nose and sneezing. Individuals with seasonal allergies typically experience various reactions to their allergens such as sneezing, itchy eyes, or a headache. Symptoms of eye allergies include itching, redness, burning, and clear watery discharge. Additionally, you may notice dark circles under the eyes and puffy eyelids. It is essential to manage your allergies to prevent these allergy symptoms and other eye infections related to seasonal allergies.

Winter Allergies

Indoor allergens are the most common cause of eye allergies during the winter months. Spending more time inside with the house closed up tends to worsen these allergens. We recommend using mite-proof bedding to limit exposure to dust mites. Frequently wash bedding, blankets, and furniture to decrease allergy symptoms from both dust mites and pet dander. Additionally, using a dehumidifier is the best way to control mold in your home mainly focused on basements and bathrooms.

  • Dust Mites
  • Mold
  • Pet Dander

Spring Allergies

Spring can be a dreaded season for seasonal allergy sufferers. Pollen is the primary cause of reaction during the spring months. With the trees, flowers, and plants coming into bloom their pollen can severely irritate your eyes. Wearing glasses or sunglasses outdoors can help to prevent pollen from entering your eyes.

  • Tree Pollen
  • Flower Pollen

Summer Allergies

During the summer months, grass pollen and mold spores are the most common allergens. On high pollen count days, we recommend staying indoors as much as possible. To limit your exposure to allergens we recommend keeping your windows closed and using air conditioning in your car and home. Avoid using fans, as they can draw pollen and mold into the house.

  • Grass Pollen
  • Molds Spores

Fall Allergies

As fall comes around, seasonal allergies come back on the horizon. Check the pollen count and avoid spending time outside during peak pollen times. Mold spores begin to grow on damp leaves in the fall. While it can be challenging to prevent seasonal allergens completely, we recommend limiting your exposure as much as possible. Additionally, replacing the carpet in your home with hardwood, tile, or linoleum helps to keep pet dander and pollen from settling in your home.

  • Ragweed
  • Mold Spores
  • Pet Dander

Don’t let eye allergies stop you from living your life. We can help you manage your eye allergies and control your symptoms. Give our office a call or request an appointment to discuss your allergies with your eye doctor!

Computer Vision Syndrome: Eye Strain

According to The Vision Council, 65% of adults experience some form of computer vision syndrome. Often individuals associate eye strain as a “normal” part of computer work. However, the eye strain you are experiencing is a symptom of computer vision syndrome and can be reduced or avoided!

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome is caused by the eyes and brain reacting to the characters on a computer screen. On-screen characters have less contrast than characters in print and are more challenging for our eyes to focus on. The difficulty of having to focus on the characters on computer screens is what causes eye fatigue and strain.

Symptoms of CVS

Depending on the individual they may experience one, several, or all symptoms of computer vision syndrome. These symptoms can cause discomfort for the individual and make it difficult to complete work effectively.

  • Headaches
  • Loss of focus
  • Burning eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Double vision
  • Eye twitching
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Ways to Combat CVS

Many computer users find their eyes feel strained working under fluorescent lights. Users feel more eye comfort when using floor lamps instead of harsh overhead lights. Minimize the reflection of glare off your computer screen by installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor. Consider closing the blinds to prevent the sun from reflecting off your computer screen as well.

The type of screen and settings of your screen can also impact your eye strain. We recommend making sure you have an LCD screen because it has an anti-reflective surface and is more comfortable for the eyes.

Additionally, you can adjust the settings of your screen for optimal viewing. A few settings to adjust are the brightness, text, and color temperature. The brightness should be the same as your surrounding workstation, the text size and contrast can be changed to your comfort level, and reducing the color temperature lowers the amount of blue light emitted by your screen.

Computer Eyewear

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of computer vision syndrome is to visit our office. Your eye doctor can perform a few tests to detect vision problems which could be contributing to your computer vision syndrome and help decide if computer eyewear is the solution for you. Many individuals discover computer eyewear helps reduce their symptoms and improves their productivity.

Schedule an appointment with our office to discuss the impact computer work is having on your eyes and the best ways to reduce your eye strain and fatigue.

 

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye syndrome is caused by a chronic lack of moisture and lubrication of the eyes. Your eye’s tears keep the surface of the eye moist and lubricated, as well as washing away dust, debris, and other microorganisms.

What causes dry eye?

Typically dry eye occurs when there is a problem with your tears. Tears are made up of an oily, watery, and mucin component. Any issue with those components could cause dry eye. It could be tear instability, tear film evaporation, or insufficient tear production. The only way to detect the cause of your dry eye is an eye exam.

Symptoms

  • Burning sensation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Aching sensations
  • Heavy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Dryness sensation
  • Red eyes
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Blurred vision

Who gets dry eye?

Dry eye can happen to anyone at any age. Each case of dry eye varies in severity and individual tolerance. However, there are certain factors which can increase your risk for dry eyes. These factors include:

  • Computer use: Humans blink less frequently when working at computers, allowing for increased tear evaporation.
  • Smoking: Causes eyes to dry over time and is the root of various other eye problems.
  • Aging: Dry eye syndrome is more common after the age of 50.
  • Menopause: Women who have completed menopause are at a higher risk for dry eye than men of the same age.
  • Health conditions: Certain diseases have a higher risk of contributing to dry eyes- such as diabetes or thyroid diseases.
  • Medications: Prescription and nonprescription medicines can have dry eye as a side effect.

Visiting The Doctor

Getting an eye exam by an eye doctor is the only way to know for sure you have chronic dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye can vary significantly from person to person and may even be symptoms of other eye problems. Personal perception of dry eye severity does not indicate whether or not an individual has chronic dry eye syndrome. Some individuals with mild dry eye may feel their eyes are very bothersome, while some individuals with severe dry eye may not consider their symptoms significant.

If you are showing symptoms of dry eye, schedule an appointment with our office as soon as possible. The only way to know the medical severity of your dry eye is through an eye exam.

 

Smoking and Your Vision

Smoking harms nearly every organ in your body, including your eyes. It is the most significant preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. If you smoke, you have a higher risk of developing several eye diseases.

Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in your eye, and the leading cause of blindness in the world. Smokers have double the chance of forming cataracts compared to non-smokers.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula in your eye, which impacts central vision. If you smoke, you are three times more likely to develop macular degeneration. Consequently, female smokers over age 80 are 5.5 times more likely than nonsmokers of the same age.

Uveitis

Uveitis is the inflammation of the eyes middle layer called the uvea. As a result, it harms the iris, retina, and can eventually result in blindness. Smokers have 2.2 times greater risk of developing uveitis.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Those who smoke and have diabetes have increased the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy damages the blood vessels in the retina and can result in vision loss. Smoking double the risk of developing diabetes, therefore, increasing your risk for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic eye diseases.

Dry Eyes

Dry eye is when you do not have enough tears on the eyes surface, causing itchy and red eyes. Smoke is considered an eye irritant, consequently worsening dry eye symptoms for many. Therefore, those who smoke are twice as likely to experience dry eye and individuals who experience second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer from dry eye as well.

Infant Eye Disease

Smoking during pregnancy transmits toxins to the placenta and can harm the unborn child. As a result, smoking increases the chance of many fetal and infant eye disorders.

Infant Eye Disorders

  • strabismus
  • underdeveloped optic nerve
  • premature birth
  • retinopathy of prematurity
  • potential blindness

 

The best way to decrease your risk for developing these eye diseases is to quit smoking. It is never too late, at any age you can reduce your risk of developing these sight-threatening eye conditions. Contact our office to discuss the impact of smoking on your vision.

*All statistics are from https://www.allaboutvision.com/smoking/

Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles

Ordinary swelling around the eyes is due to an excessive accumulation of fluids in the surrounding skin tissue. Puffy eyes and dark circles can occur for many reasons, and a visit to your eye doctor can usually detect the underlying cause behind your puffy eyes.

Causes

The skin around your eyes is the thinnest skin on your body; therefore it shows swelling and discoloration more prominently. There are various factors which can cause puffy eyes, a few of the most common causes include:

  • Overconsumption of salt
  • Allergies
  • Sinus problems
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue and lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Crying
  • Aging
  • Inherited facial features

Why are my eyes puffy in the morning?

Some individuals may notice their eyes are puffy when they wake up in the morning. Since we don’t blink when we sleep, this allows fluids to settle or get trapped in the skin around the eyes. As soon as you wake up and start blinking this swelling will begin to diminish. Likewise, some individuals develop swelling in their lower extremities while sleeping, which reduces upon walking.

Medical condition

In some situations, puffy eyes can be due to an underlying medical condition. Those with thyroid disease can develop swelling around their eyes. Eye allergies can cause swollen eyelids due to the release of histamine. Additionally, eye infections such as pink eye can cause swelling and puffiness. However, the best way to detect the cause of your puffy eyes is through a comprehensive eye exam by your doctor.

What can be done?

To find the best solution or remedy to your puffy eyes, your eye doctor must first determine the underlying cause. Temporary solutions include eye drops, hydration, iced compresses, cucumber slices, creams, reducing salt in your diet, and getting plenty of rest. In other circumstances, cosmetic solutions may be the only long term way to reduce swollen eyes.

To learn more about your puffy eyes, schedule an appointment with our office. We are here to answer all of your questions and advise you on the best steps to alleviate your puffy eyes.