Combating Dry Eye Syndrome

Do you experience itchy, burning, or dry eyes? You may be suffering from dry eye syndrome. Tears are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision, when there is insufficient moisture on the surface of the eye it can cause discomfort. Let’s looks at some common causes of dry eye syndrome, symptoms, and risk factors.

What are the causes of dry eye syndrome?

Tears keep the eyes surfaces moist and wash away dust, debris, and other microorganisms. Without constant, adequate moisture, dry eye will occur. Not enough oil in the tears causes them to evaporate too quickly, and without sufficient water production, eyes cannot maintain proper moisture.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome:

  • Scratchy or gritty feeling
  • Red eyes
  • Blurriness
  • Irritation from windy conditions
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Problems with contacts
  • Excessive tearing
  • Heavy eyes
  • Sore eyes

Contact lenses and dry eyes

One of the most common complaints from contact lens wearers is their contacts make their eyes feel dry. If you experience dry eye symptoms while wearing your contacts or immediately after removing your contacts, talk with your eye doctor, as it is irregular to feel discomfort.

If discomfort occurs, it is possible you are using the incorrect solution with your contact lenses; not all solutions are made equally. Your eye doctor may also recommend you use eye drops to help temporarily relieve dry eye symptoms.

Another means to relieve symptoms is to change your contact lens type to a more breathable or moisture-focused lens, which is specially made to help retain moisture. You may also want to discuss with your eye doctor the option to switch from reusable contact lenses to single-use lenses. Single-use lenses will help prevent your lens from drying out and work to maintain moisture in your eyes.

Factors that Increase Risk of Dry Eyes

Dry eye symptoms stem from multiple risk factors, including health conditions, environments, and eyewear choice. If you are suffering from dry eye try some of the tips below to help reduce your symptoms.  

  • Computer use. Humans blink less frequently when working at computers, allowing for more evaporated tears. When working on a computer for an extended period of time, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a rest.
  • Contact lens. Dry eye discomfort is a primary reason for wearers to stop using contacts. Use rewetting drops daily or talk with your eye doctor about contact lens types that work best for your eyes.
  • Indoor environment. Air conditioning, fans, and air heating systems can decrease the humidity indoors and cause symptoms of dry eye. Try using a humidifier in your house if you notice the air getting dryer.
  • Outdoor environment. If you are outdoors in dry or windy conditions, wear a pair of sunglasses or hat to reduce your exposure to the elements which can cause dry eyes.
  • Smoking. Can cause 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 greater risk for dry eye than men the same age.
  • Health conditions. Certain diseases have a higher risk of contributing to dry eye- such as diabetes or thyroid diseases.
  • Medications. Prescription and nonprescription medications can have dry eye as a side effect.

What is a Black Eye?

A black eye forms when blood and fluids collect in the space around the eye causing swelling and discoloration. Typically, a black eye is considered a minor injury.

What causes black eyes?

A black eye is caused by bruising surrounding the eye, not inside the eye. This bruising is caused by broken blood vessels under the skin. A blow to the eye, nose, or head is the most common cause for a black eye, but surgical procedures near the eye or nose could also cause a black eye.

Symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration
  • Headaches
  • Temporary blurry vision

How do I prevent black eyes?

You cannot always foresee an eye injury, but one way to prevent black eyes is to wear protective eyewear. If the activities you participate in require or recommend eyewear, such as safety glasses, face shields, or goggles, abiding by these recommendations and wearing eye protection will significantly decrease the risk of a face or eye injury and can keep you in the field or in the game.

How do I get rid of a black eye?

Typically, most black eyes heal on their own within one to two weeks. While healing, the black eye will change color varying in shades of purple, blue, green, or yellow. There are, however, a few steps you can take to help the healing process and relieve pain.

  • Apply a cold compress. A cold washcloth, bag of peas, or chilled spoon can help to alleviate pain and bring down swelling within the first 24 hours.
  • Taking pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help to relieve pain.
  • Apply a warm compress. After applying cold packs for the first day or two, apply a warm compress to the eye to increase blood flow in the area.
  • Lightly massage the area surrounding the bruise a few days after injury.
  • Snack on pineapple. Pineapples have enzymes to help reduce inflammation.

If your black eye does not subside, vision changes, bleeding occurs within the eye, or you notice other signs of infection, schedule an appointment or give our office a call. This could be a more serious issue that should be examined by an eye doctor.

Tips for Choosing Your Perfect Eyewear

Have you ever gone to pick out new eyeglasses, but been overwhelmed by all your options? Do you ever struggle to know what eyewear shape looks best on you? We’ve compiled our best tips for picking the perfect pair of eyewear to help make your decisions easier.

  1. Contrast your face shape

    • There are seven basic face shapes to review including oval, base-up or base-down triangle, oblong, square, diamond, and round. Eyewear should contrast your face shape but be in scale with your face size. Find your face shape below and try out our recommended shape frames

      1. Oval: wide or walnut-shaped frames
      2. Base-up triangle: frames with a wider bottom, light color or lightweight
      3. Oblong: frames with more depth than width
      4. Square: narrow frames and with more width than depth
      5. Diamond: cat-eye shaped frames or other detailing on the brow line
      6. Round: narrow frames which are wider and have a clear bridge
      7. Base-down triangle: frames with color or detailing on the top half
  2. Highlight your features

    • Pick your best or favorite feature and pick a frame to highlight it.
    • Some features to consider highlighting would be your eyes, hair, skin color, and face shape. For example, if you have blue eyes, try a blue frame to match and highlight your eye color.
  3. Match or complement colors

    • Your skin, eyes, and hair work together to create your overall coloring. Everyone has either a cool (blue or pink undertones) or a warm (yellow or orange undertones) overall color. Try a frame from our color list below to complement your coloring.
    • Warm coloring: camel, khaki, gold, copper, peach, orange, coral, red, or warm blue
    • Cool coloring: black, silver, rose-brown, blue-gray, plum, magenta, pink, blue, or tortoise
  4. Find the perfect size

    • Try on multiple pairs to see what size fits your face shape best.
    • If the frames are too small your peripheral vision will be limited and could potentially feel tight on the head. The frames should not pinch your nose, leave red marks, slide down your nose, or easily slip off your head. The tightness around your ears can be adjusted to get the perfect fit.  
  5. Match your frames to your lifestyle

    • Make sure your frames will work for every part of your life and will be a representation of you and your personality.
    • Pick frames to match your unique lifestyle and hobbies. Consider your common activities when choosing frames. For example, if you are more active you may want a pair of sports eyewear or a wraparound band. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, you may want eyeglasses with a tinted lens.
  6. Anti-reflective coating

    • An anti-reflective coating helps eliminate reflections on both sides of your lenses to cut down annoying glare and improve night vision.
    • Anti-reflective coatings allow for sharper, clearer vision with less glare. The lenses appear to be nearly invisible, giving the eyeglasses a more attractive appearance and allowing for better eye contact.
  7. Are weight and material important to you?

    • Frames are most commonly made of plastic, metal, or a combination of materials. This combination determines the longevity, weight, and average cost of a frame.
    • Key Features:
          • Stainless steel and titanium are long lasting
          • Metal frames often have adjustable nose pads
          • Metal frames can come in hypoallergenic materials
          • Plastic frames tend to be less expensive
          • Plastic frames are lighter
          • Plastic frames typically need less maintenance than metal frames
          • Flexible hinges allow the “arms” to bend more than regular hinges

The Importance of Sports Eyewear

Whether you’re playing or watching the game, one incident everyone dreads is an injury. Injuries can prevent players from finishing the game, or worse, end an athletic career. Protective sports eyewear helps to prevent injuries and allows players to continue to play their sport. In today’s world, many sports facilities and fitness clubs require athletes to wear proper eye gear in order to minimize injury.

Why is it important to wear protective eyewear?

Emergency rooms treat more than 40,000 sports-related eye injuries every year, and up to 90 percent of those injuries could have been prevented by using protective eyewear. Any sport in which a ball, racquet, or other flying object is present poses a risk for injury. However, injuries can also result from close contact with others in the way of pokes or jabs with fingers and elbows. Protective eyewear is important because it keeps your eyes safe from a variety of injuries. As an additional bonus, the sharper your vision, the better you will perform in your sport of choice.

Features to look for:

  • Various sizes and shapes designed to fit the user.
  • Customized to best suit the sport including reflective lenses, space for headgear, and wrap around bands.
  • User’s prescription can be added to the lenses, which allows for better clarity during the game and increased overall performance.
  • Lenses are often made of polycarbonate, an impact-resistant material, to protect eyes from high speed and high impact objects.
  • Sports frames are also made of impact resistant material and often come with rubber padding where the frame comes in contact with the head or nose.
  • Wraparound sports glasses help to ensure the eyewear remains in place for the duration of a sporting event and prevents dust or debris from entering through the sides of the glasses.

Get the Facts

Experts agree sports-related eye injuries can be prevented by wearing protective eyewear. Parents and coaches should ensure athletes are wearing safety glasses during sporting events, especially considering 43 percent of all sports-related eye injuries occur in children younger than age 15. Regular eyeglasses are not safe to use as protective sports eyewear because they do not have impact resistance and could shatter or break upon impact.  

It is imperative that protective eyewear properly fits the user. Resist the urge to buy children’s eyewear with “room to grow.” Purchasing protective eyewear too large for the user could cause eyewear to be less effective and increase the risk of injury. Additionally, be sure the user has not outgrown protective goggles as this increases the risk of injury as well.  

Sports using Protective Eyewear

  • Badminton: sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses
  • Baseball/softball: batting and baserunning- helmet with polycarbonate face shield. Fielding- sports goggles or sports sunglasses with shatterproof lenses and head strap
  • Basketball: wraparound sports goggles
  • Bicycling: performance sunglasses with anti-fog and anti-scratch lenses
  • Fencing: full face mask made of rigid metal
  • Field hockey: all players- sports goggles with a head strap. Goalies- full helmets and face masks
  • Fishing: polarized sunglasses
  • Football: polycarbonate shield attached to a helmet
  • Hunting and shooting: polarized shatter resistant shooting glasses
  • Ice hockey: full face helmet
  • Lacrosse: form fitting and padded face mask
  • Paintball: full face helmet
  • Racquetball: sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses
  • Skiing and snowboarding: ski goggles or wraparound polarized sunglasses with mirror coated lenses
  • Soccer: sports goggles
  • Squash/Tennis: sports goggles with wraparound frame
  • Swimming and diving: swim goggles and diving masks
  • Volleyball: sports goggles or sunglasses
  • Water Polo: swim goggles with polycarbonate lenses

Reasons Not to Compromise on Price

Have you ever been tempted to buy cheap glasses you see online or the reading glasses you found at a discount store? They look just as good as the prescription eyeglasses you paid full price for, right?

The hard truth is they are not the same as the high-quality prescription eyewear provided by our office. Unreliable eyeglasses are more likely to break, scratch, and discolor over time. Your goal should be to buy glasses that will last and will not need frequent replacement. The cost of replacing cheap glasses can add up to the same cost as purchasing a more expensive, quality pair, originally.

Know what you lose

When comparing costs, there is always a compromise to be made. One of the biggest elements lost when buying cheap eyeglasses is individual care. Opticians recommend eyewear based on your daily routine, provide professional fittings, and ensure the quality of your eyewear is examined.

Same top quality?

Online glasses retailers often state that they offer the “same top quality” as eyecare practices. How do you know what their definition or range of top quality is? Cheap price often means cheaper materials.

Try before you buy

Usually, when buying glasses from an online retailer, you sacrifice the opportunity to try the glasses on and see how they fit your face. A virtual try-on does not allow for an accurate representation of how glasses look and fit on your face.

You cannot receive a proper fitting

If you choose to purchase eyeglasses from an online supplier, you forfeit a proper fitting. As a result, you may purchase a pair of glasses that are too tight or loose for your face.

Cheap frames

A downside to cheaper frames is they are more likely to cause skin irritation. Cheaper metal frames can discolor your skin or even cause a skin rash due to allergy. With prolonged wear, cheap plastic frames will discolor in sunlight and the smooth finish will diminish.

Durability

Another inevitable loss with cheaper eyeglasses is durability. Frames made with inexpensive materials are not designed to withstand extended use as well as eyeglasses sold by eye practitioners are able to.

Reading glasses

A wide-spread myth: all reading glasses are the same whether you purchase them at a discount store or at an eye practitioner. The truth is, your eye practitioner is able to customize the lenses to fit your exact eye and lifestyle needs. Read more about progressive lenses available at our office here.

Sunglasses lose UV protection

It’s tempting to buy cheap sunglasses because you are worried you might misplace or scratch them. However, it is crucial to protect your eyes from UV radiation damage. Don’t give up 100% UV protection for a cheap sticker price.