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Spring Eye Allergies

dry 20red 20itchy 20eyeSpring is right around the corner, as the winter begins to wind down and the fresh, warmer air begins to rear its head. Unfortunately for many, it’s often hard to enjoy nature’s blooming beauty as the warmer weather also brings about the onset of itchy, watery eyes that come with spring eye allergies.

Seasonal eye allergies are the eyes’ reaction to allergens such as pollen, mold, dust mites and pet dander that enter your eyes and cause inflammation of the tissue that lines the inner eyelid. In addition to causing significant discomfort, eye allergies can have an effect on many areas of daily life, from work to driving, to watching television.

Although the majority of individuals suffering from seasonal eye allergies use anti histamines to treat and alleviate itchy, watery eyes, it’s best to speak to your optometrist about the most effective allergy relief. In most cases, allergies can be treated with prescription medications or over the counter eye drops. Cool compresses can alleviate itchiness and swelling – a towel and some cold water may be all you need to inhibit the allergic cascade reaction and curb the urge to rub your eyes.

In addition, here are a few tips to help you minimize the effect of spring allergens on your eyes.

  • Don’t rub your eyes as this actually makes the allergic reaction you are experiencing worse.
  • Be sure to wash your hands often with soap and water and wash bed linens and pillowcases in hot water to minimize allergens.
  • Avoid walking, exercise and outdoor activities in the early morning when pollen counts are high.
  • Check your weather forecast for the daily pollen count and wait till midday if possible to go out.
  • When maintaining your garden, it’s preferable to have someone else mow your grass and limit your exposure to wooded areas.
  • Keep windows closed and run your air conditioner, ensuring that it is properly filtered and clean. Alternatively, use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter. These filter systems are very effective at removing allergens from the air in your room or house.
  • If you wear contact lenses, try to reduce your wearing time or talk to your optometrist about changing your cleaning method or using single-use contact lenses during allergy season.

Eye allergies can affect anyone, but don’t let them prevent you from enjoying the gorgeous spring outdoors! Taking the proper preventative measures and finding the right treatment can make a huge difference in your comfort level and your ability to enjoy the nicer weather.

The Right Way to Clean Your Eyeglasses

We all know how frustrating it can be trying to see clearly through a smudged pair of glasses; clean lenses can really make a world of difference. While it may not be something that you pay much attention to, the way you clean your lenses can also make a difference, not only for your vision, but for your eyewear as well.

Unfortunately, most eyeglasses owners are guilty of the number one crime when it comes to caring for their eyewear: breathing onto the lens and then wiping the resulting vapor away using the corner of a shirt or garment. Not only is this an inefficient way to remove dirt, it actually can damage your lenses as clothes carry dust, which when wiped onto the surface of your lenses, can result in scratches. Sometimes hard fabrics can also damage lenses.

The easiest way to get rid of dirt and residue on your glasses is simpler than you’d think. Start by running the front and back of the lens under warm water. Next wash the lenses carefully with a mild soap such as dish soap together with warm water. Once that is done, wipe the soap off in a circular motion as you once again rinse the glasses under warm water. Repeat if necessary and then dry your glasses using a soft cotton towel. There are also cleaning solutions that can be purchased to protect the anti-glare and anti-scratch coatings on glasses.

Although tissue, paper towels and napkins are often convenient to use for a quick cleaning, they are not a wise option as they are made up of rough fibers that more often than not leave debris behind. Another common cleaning substance – saliva – is not only unhygienic but also ineffective in properly removing dirt and smudges. Additionally, it is crucial to avoid using ammonia, bleach, vinegar and window cleaner to clean your specs as these substances contain chemicals which can damage the coating on your lenses.

Of course the next time you visit your eye doctor feel free to ask us for one of the microfiber cloths made especially for cleaning eyeglasses, which are helpful for a dry touch up of your glasses during the course of the day. Try to keep the cloth in a contained place away from dirt such as inside your eyeglasses case.

Another cause of dirty glasses is poor alignment – when the skin or eyelashes touch the lens, smudging is a never-ending problem. You can return to the eye doctor and ask the optician if it is possible to adjust the glasses for optimal alignment of the glasses. Be careful when you first purchase eyewear that the frame fits well so you can avoid this problem.

Get the most out of your eyewear. Keep your lenses clean and clear so you can see your best.

Dry Eye Syndrome: When Dry Eyes are Chronic

Dry eyes are a common problem for many individuals particularly during the winter months when exposure to dry air and whipping wind is increased. However, if you are suffering from dry eyes that just won’t go away, you may have what is known as Dry Eye Syndrome – a condition in which the tears that lubricate and nourish the eye are not being produced sufficiently.

Tears serve to keep the surface of the eye moist, smooth and clear, to reduce the risk of infection and to remove foreign substances. Tear ducts in the corner of the eyelid drain the excess tears. Dry eyes syndrome is a chronic condition characterized by inadequate tear production or poor quality of the tears produced. A number of factors contribute to the condition including advanced age, female gender, environmental conditions, medication or particular medical conditions. Extended periods reading or working on a computer without blinking, prolonged use of contacts or refractive eye surgeries can also contribute to decreased moisture and tear production.

An optometrist will be able to determine whether you have chronic dry eye syndrome by examining your eye and your blinking pattern, measuring the amount and quality of your tears and assessing your medical and environmental history.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome include:

  • Persistent dry eyes
  • Scratchiness or gritty sensation
  • Burning sensation
  • Feeling like there is something is in your eye
  • Excessively watery eyes
  • Blurred vision

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your optometrist. If you have dry eye syndrome, there are treatments available to relieve your discomfort.

Computer Glasses: A Growing Necessity in Our Digital World

The need for computer glasses is growing as the digital age means many of us are spending hours in front of a computer or mobile screen each day, often resulting in eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, or neck and shoulder pain. These symptoms and others are often categorized as Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS. Computer eyeglasses are designed to be worn while working on your computer or another small screen to increase physical comfort and reduce eye strain to eliminate these uncomfortable effects of CVS.

What are Computer Glasses?

Computer glasses contain lenses made specifically for viewing a computer screen. Digital screens present a visual field, distance, font and glare that the eyes must accommodate to and therefore individuals that spend more than two hours a day on the computer are susceptible to symptoms of CVS, such as blurred vision and headaches. To avoid eye strain, people tend to compensate by leaning over to get closer to the screen which contributes to neck, back and shoulder pain.

Computer glasses are designed to assist in viewing the screen optimally from a proper position in relation to the computer. As opposed to reading glasses, computer glasses are focused on the intermediate visual zone which is in between distance vision (such as that needed for driving or watching a movie) and near vision (needed when reading). Computer glasses come in single vision, prescription or multifocal lenses depending on the needs of the individual.

It is also important for computer eyeglasses to have an anti-reflective (AR) or anti-glare coating or tint. Such treatments will reduce reflections of light of the computer screen or on the surface of your lenses which can induce eye strain. Some eye doctors also recommend a contrast-enhancing tint for computer glasses to help reduce glare caused by harsh overhead lighting often found in office environments.

Computer vision syndrome can be worsened by underlying vision problems such as accommodating deficiencies – trouble refocusing from the keyboard (near vision) to the screen (intermediate vision) or presbyopia (progressive near vision difficulty that comes with advancing age). Before purchasing computer glasses, you should have a comprehensive eye exam to rule out these or other eye and vision issues which may require an alternative solution.

Where Do I Get Computer Eyeglasses?

Since individual eye and vision needs such as a prescription should be taken into consideration for effective computer glasses, you should schedule an eye exam with a trusted eye care professional. It is also a good idea to measure the distance you generally sit from your computer screen to help your eye doctor determine the optimal power needed for your lens strength. This information will assist your eye doctor in recommending the best lens combination to suit your needs. Remember, these glasses are specifically for computer use only and should not be worn when driving or performing other tasks that require vision enhancement.

Once you are equipped with a proper prescription and lens type, you can select almost any style of frame for your computer glasses, so even sitting at your computer in the office you can look fashionable, see great and feel better at the same time.

Don’t wait for the symptoms of CVS to appear. Particularly if you work at a computer, consult with your optometrist today to find out whether computer glasses are right for you.

November is National Diabetes Month

Even many people with the disease are unaware of the fact that diabetes increases the chances vision loss. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) diabetes is the number one cause of complete vision loss among individuals under 75. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by an increase in pressure in the blood vessels of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most incapacitating complications of the disease and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.

Diabetic retinopathy is often unnoticed until it is too late. When the pressure in the retinal blood vessels builds up they begin to leak causing retinal damage. This damage can cause eventual blindness if it is not treated.

Symptoms of developing diabetic retinopathy include any kind of vision problems such as fluctuations, spots, shadows, double or blurred vision or pain. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.

With early detection and treatment, we can prevent loss of eyesight. In addition to making sure that you have a regular eye exam annually if you are diabetic, keeping your diabetes under control is necessary to keeping your eyes healthy.

If you or a loved one has diabetes, make sure you know the risks of diabetic retinopathy and other eye risks and speak to your optometrist to discuss questions or concerns. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.

Can People With Astigmatism Also Wear Lenses?

Are you aware that there are contact lenses especially made to correct your astigmatism? Normally, the cornea is round, but in the case of someone with astigmatism, it’s more elliptical. This affects the way light enters the eye, and results in blurred vision.

The lenses used to correct astigmatism are called toric contact lenses. Toric lenses have a design that differs from that of regular lenses. Compared to typical lenses, which have one power throughout the lens, toric lenses have two different powers; one for astigmatism, and one which addresses myopia or hyperopia. Unlike regular lenses, which can freely move around on your eye and have no effect on your vision, toric lenses must stay in place. Contact lenses for astigmatism are actually heavier on the bottom, to prevent them from moving around on your eye.

Just like regular lenses, toric lenses are available as soft disposable contact lenses, daily disposable lenses, and frequent replacement lenses. If you like to wear multifocal or even colored lenses, then don’t worry, there are toric lenses made to suit your needs too. Hard contact lenses, also called rigid gas permeable lenses, provide a firmer shape which helps them stay in place, but they aren’t always as comfortable as soft lenses. Together, we’ll be able to find the best brand to suit your eyes.

Toric contact lens fittings might sometimes need more time than regular contact lens fittings, because of the relative complexity of the lens. It might sound a little daunting, but it’s worth the end result; getting treated, glasses-free. Being fitted with the right product will only improve your vision, and consequently, your everyday life.

Eyeglasses – Plenty of Great Choices

Eyeglasses Are Back!

lady-try-on-glassesPicking out new eyeglasses can be a daunting task, whether you’re getting your very first pair or you’ve worn them nearly all your life. The sheer volume of eyeglass choices can be torture to work your way through if you don’t have any idea what you’re looking for.

Not only are there many different shapes and colors in eyeglass frames, but advances in technology have also brought us a variety of new materials, for both the frames and the lenses, which makes eyeglasses more durable, lightweight and user-friendly. Eyeglass frames are now created from high-tech materials such as titanium and “memory metal” for the ultimate in strength and style, while the lenses are now thinner and lighter than ever before, even in high prescriptions.

Lens options, such as anti-reflective coating, light-changing tints, progressive lenses and new high-tech, light weight materials such as Trivex(TM) and polycarbonate, let you choose a pair of eyeglasses that enhances your vision, no matter what you like to do.

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