What is the harm in extending the life of my contact lenses?

Extending the life of your contact lenses is kind of like driving a car at 250 km per hour.  For a while, if everything goes smoothly, there is no indication of trouble.  However, if something starts to go wrong, it can go wrong in a major way very quickly. 

Some complications that can occur are:

  • Allergic Reaction – protein build-up on the lens can cause discomfort, itchiness, dry eyes and intolerance to contact lens wear.
  • Conjunctivitis – accumulated protein attracts bacteria which can easily lead to conjunctivitis.  Symptoms include redness, burning, itching, tearing, light sensitivity, blurred vision and mucous discharge.
  • Corneal Edema (swelling) – Extended contact lens wear decreases the oxygen supply to the cornea and can cause increased fluid in the cornea. It can cause blurred vision and halos around lights.
  • Neovascularization – The cornea normally doesn’t have any blood vessels. When it is deprived of oxygen (by over wearing contact lenses), the body responds by growing new blood vessels, hoping to increase oxygen to the cornea. This abnormal blood vessel growth can interfere with vision. The new vessels are also weak and can hemorrhage and cause blindness.
  • Corneal Abrasion/Corneal Ulcer – Again, due to the lack of oxygen, the surface cells on the cornea become weak and easily damaged.  Corneal abrasions or corneal ulcers can form causing very serious infection and complications that can lead to blindness.

These complications can be caused both by wearing a contact lens too long in a day (or overnight) or by not replacing your lenses according to your optometrist's recommendations.  Either way, the eye is subject to less oxygen and more irritation and bacterial growth.  The blurred vision, pain, light sensitivity and potential scarring can be greatly reduced or eliminated by responsible contact lens wear.  If any of these symptoms occur, remove your contact lenses immediately and get checked by your optometrist.

*Image found here

Prevent vision loss with Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant for the body. In particular, it plays an important role in eye health by preventing age related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in people over 55 years old). Studies show that it can reduce the progression for those who have AMD, and also prevents the formation of cataracts. 

Delicious sources of Vitamin E include nuts, vegetable oils, sweet potatoes, and salads.

*Image credits: salad, sweet potatoes, nuts.

Vitamin C for Healthy Eyes

Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) is a major player in eye health. It maintains lens transparency, prevents cataracts, and fights against age-related macular degeneration. The retina needs to be surrounded by vitamin C to protect itself from free radicals and promote healing if damaged. Our bodies do not naturally create vitamin C when needed, so including this in your diet is a critical part of keeping your eyes (and virtually all cells in your body) functioning properly.

Excellent sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, peppers, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and broccoli. There are many tasty vitamin C supplements available from the drug store, too.

*Image credits: broccoli, tomatoes, citrus fruits.

Eat your way to healthier eyes

You know the age-old idea of eating carrots to maintain healthy eyes? Well, there is a reason for it. Beta-carotene is an important anti-oxidant that keeps eyes working correctly, and happens to be responsible for the orange color of carrots and other produce. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in your body which is used in the process of converting light into the actual images you see, and keeping your cornea moist. 

This antioxidant is easy to find: carrots, apricots, cantaloupes, peaches, blueberries, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, and most of the dark green leafy vegetables.

*photo credits: carrots, peaches, winter squashes.

The 20/20/20 Rule

The 20/20/20 rule is a great little acronym to remember when trying to deal with excessive eyestrain at work. If you spend a large portion of your workday on a computer or doing paperwork, then this rule can help to prevent or reduce the onset of those frontal & temporal stress headaches that you may be experiencing. It may also help to eliminate that blurry vision you experience on the drive home.

Patients who have extended near point demands for work or hobbies can actually develop a pseudo-nearsighted posture by the end of a long session.  This can result in patients thinking that their eyesight has gotten worse, when really their eye muscles are just over worked and tired.

So remember – 20/20/20

  • Take a break every 20 minutes
  • Look at something 20 feet away
  • Look at it for at least 20 seconds

If none of these tips help, please make an appointment to see an eye care professional as soon as possible.

eye-bar offers complete optometry services and has 3 optometrists on staff to help you with all of your vision needs. 

Book your next eye exam in Sherwood Park with an eye-bar optometrist.

eye-bar optometry in Sherwood Park - Eye Exams, Contact Lenses, Emergency Visits & Ophthalmology Referrals

Saturday Eye Exams in Sherwood Park

eye-bar optometry in Sherwood Park is now open for Saturday eye exams. Book yourself or the whole family in to see one of our eye doctors. The optometrists at eye-bar optometry specialize in family eye care, contact lenses and eye health emergencies or visual concerns. The total health of your eyes today and tomorrow is our ongoing concern.

To schedule your next eye exam at eye-bar in Sherwood Park call us at 780.467.3341 or stop by the store.

 

eye-bar optometry in Sherwood Park - Eye Exams, Contact Lenses, Emergency Visits & Ophthalmology Referrals

 

Caffeine and Cataracts

Could caffeine actually help to prevent or slow down cataracts from forming in your eyes? Recent research shows some potential promise in this area. The development of cataracts in humans is a normal age related change that most of us will face in our lives. Most cataracts develop because of an increase in free-radical formation within the lens structure. Typically this is caused by UV radiation from the sun, as the lens in our eye absorbs most of these rays. Caffeine is a natural free-radical scavenger, which may have positive effects for the eyes. Recently, scientists at the University of Maryland have shown that caffeine can slow down or halt the progression of cataracts. However, this research is only in its infancy, as all of these studies were conducted on lab mice. Many more studies will need to be carried out to determine the commercial viability for humans.

In the mean time, the only way to slow down cataract development is to wear quality sunglasses whenever you are outdoors, stop smoking, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (which are also high in anti-oxidants).

**Always discuss any medical treatment with your family doctor or with your eye doctors before starting any therapy to determine if it is right for you. 

 

eye-bar optometry - eye exams, contact lenses, emergency visits & ophthalmology referrals


What is Myopia or Nearsightedness?

Myopia or nearsightedness is a common vision disorder where by patients are able to see objects up close, but are unable to focus clearly on objects in the distance. Myopia is caused because of one of two things, either a persons eye grows to long or the outside of the eye is to steep, causing images to focus in front of the retina.

Typically, patients will start to notice problems with their distance vision in their school years, but myopia can develop at any age. It may also be a sign of a more serious medical problem, such as diabetes or cataracts, especially if the onset of myopia is very sudden and dramatic.

There has been increased research in the area of myopia in recent years, as the world as seen a sudden surge in the number of people requiring distance vision correction. Studies suggest that myopia may be related to near point stress, and numerous studies show that myopia increases along with a person’s level of education. Newer studies out of China also point towards dietary factors playing a large role in the development of myopia, however these studies are far from complete. A study out of the UK at the St. Thomas Hospital also showed the genetics probably plays a large role in the develop of myopia while environmental factors may only play a small or limited role.

Initial symptoms of myopia include problems focusing on small objects far away like road signs or the channel guide on TV. People can find themselves squinting or developing frontal headaches from having to squint. Children often complain about being unable to see the board at school, while adults often complain about poor night vision or increased glare. Symptoms almost always worsen in low light level situations.

Treatment options for people affected by myopia or nearsightedness are numerous. Traditionally, eyeglasses have been the primary treatment option, however, patients also have access to contact lenses, laser vision correction, and intra-ocular lens implants. It is important to always discuss lifestyle and your work situation with your optometrist or ophthalmologist when determining your best treatment option or options. It is also recommended that patients with myopia receive regular eye health examinations by an optometrist or ophthalmologist every one to two years.

 

eye-bar optometry - eye exams, contact lenses, emergency visits & ophthalmology referrals


 

Routine Eye Health Exams

Routine eye health exams are an important part of a person's overall well-being. Eye exams should be integrated into personal annual health checks and be included along with visits to both your family physician and dentist.

Annual eye examinations are important for people who wear eye glasses, contact lenses, or who have had laser eye surgery to ensure that their vision is stable. Annual eye exams are also important for people who have various medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or arthritis. All of these medical problems can directly impact your eye health. People with a family history of eye disease such as glaucoma, age related macular degeneration, or cataracts should also schedule an annual eye health examination. Early detection of these problems by your eye doctor allows them to provide better treatment options and produces better visual outcomes. 

The risk of eye disease increases as we get older, making annual eye examinations more crucial. By our mid 40’s presbyopia  (loss of focusing) sets in, and people find themselves transitioning into a world of reading glasses, bifocals or progressive lenses. In our 50's or 60's we often see the onset of cataracts or other age related illnesses such as heart disease. In our 70’s we start to see the onset of macular degeneration. The important thing to remember here is that these conditions are simply more prevalent with age, but can occur at any stage within our life. 

As a child, annual eye exams are required to determine how our eyes are developing along with determining any visual problems that may hold a child back in school. Children live in an increasingly visual world, and the ability to see clearly is vital to a child's success. 

Call your optometrist to book an annual eye exam, or visit one of ouraffiliated optometrists. Then come to eye-bar to find your new favorite eyeglasses or sunglasses. 

 

eye-bar optometry - eye exams, contact lenses, emergency visits & ophthalmology referrals