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November 12, 2020
Here are 11 bad contact lens habits we eye doctors often see-- #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...
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11 Bad Contact Lens Habits

Here are 11 bad contact lens habits we eye doctors often see--

#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 and 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 the worst thing you can do!

 

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

Why Get an Early Eye Exam for Your Young Child?

What do Amblyopia, Strabismus, and Convergence Insufficiency all have in common? These are all serious and relatively common eye conditions that children can have.

Did you know that 80% of learning comes through vision? The proverb that states ”A picture is worth a thousand words” is true!  If a child has a hard time seeing, it stand to reason that she will have a hard time learning.

Let’s explore Amblyopia, or “lazy eye”. It affects 3-5% of the population, enough that the federal government funded children’s yearly eye exams into the Accountable Care Act or ObamaCare health initiative. Amblyopia occurs when the anatomical structure of the eye is normal but the “brain-eye connection” is malfunctioning. In other words, it is like plugging your computer into the outlet but the power cord is faulty.

Amblyopia need to be caught early in life--in fact if it is not caught and treated early (before age 8) it can lead to permanent vision impairment. Correction with glasses or contacts and patching the good eye are ways it is treated. Most eye doctors agree that the first exam should take place in the first year of life. Early detection is a key.

Strabismus is a condition that causes an eye to turn in (esotropia), out (exotropia), or vertically. It can be treated with glasses or contacts, and surgery, if needed. Vision therapy or strategic eye exercises prescribed by a doctor can also improve this condition.

When we read, our brain tells our eyes to turn in to a comfortable reading posture. In Convergence Insufficiency, the brain tells the eyes to turn in, but they instead turn out, causing tremendous strain on that child’s eye for reading. Another tell tale sign of this condition is the inability to cross your eyes when a target approaches. The practitioner will see instead, that one of the eyes kicks out as the near target approaches. This condition can be treated with reading glasses or contacts, and eye exercises that teach the muscles of the eye to align properly during reading. Vision therapy is the treatment of choice for Convergence Insufficiency.

It is important to understand the pediatric eye and all the treatments that can be implemented to augment the learning process. Preventative care in the form of early eye examinations can mean the difference between learning normall or struggling badly. Remember, a young child can’t tell you if he hasa vision impairment. For the success of the child, be proactive by scheduling an early vision exam.

 

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Pregnancy and Your Eyes

We all know that during pregnancy, a woman's body goes through a great deal of change hormonally and physiologically.  But did you know her eyes change as well?  Below are some of the most common effects pregnancy can have on the eye.

  • Corneal changes. In some cases, pregnancy can cause the cornea, the front window of the eye, to change curvature and even swell, leading to shifts in glasses and contact lens prescriptions. In addition, changes in the chemistry of the tear film can lead to dry eyes and contact lens intolerance. It is for these reasons that it is generally not recommended to have any new contact lens fitting or new glasses prescription checks until several months postpartum. We want to get the most accurate measurements possible.
  • Retinal changes.  Many different conditions can affect the retina during pregnancy. If the pregnant woman has diabetes, diabetic eye disease can progress by 50%. In women with preeclampsia, a condition where blood pressure rises significantly, over 40% of women can show changes in the retinal blood vessels, and 25% to 50% complain of changes to their vision.
  • Eye Pressure Fluctuation.  Intraocular pressure (IOP) usually decreases during pregnancy. The exact mechanism causing this is unknown, but it is usually attributed to an increase of flow of intraocular fluid out of the eye. This is good news for pregnant women with glaucoma or high IOP. In fact, the drop in IOP is larger when you start with a high IOP compared to one in the normal range.

There are many more effects that pregnancy can have on the eye, but these are the most common. One other thing to keep in mind is that though the likelihood of any adverse effect is extremely low, we try not to use any diagnostic eye drops on pregnant patients during the eye exam. Unless there is a medical necessity to dilate the pupils or check IOP, it is a good rule of thumb to put off using drops until after the patient has given birth in order to protect the developing baby.

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