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