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Contact Lens Overuse

Contact lens overuse is an increasingly common eye condition that has significant potential to do serious damage to your eyes, and lead to major eye and vision issues in the future. Dr. Lindauer comments “Contact lenses represent a great way to enhance how you look and feel while allowing you to maintain your best vision. But, they pose a very real risk of damaging your vision if you don’t know how to care for and use them properly. It is important to know what to do to allow safe wear of your contacts and avoid this increasingly prevalent and dangerous eye condition.”

The 18 Hour/Week Rule

Your eyes require oxygen just like a person, and denying them the opportunity to breathe properly by overwearing your contact lenses can cause severe damage to your eyes. But, how much is too much when it comes to contact lens wear? To answer this question, eye care professionals have come up with a standard benchmark: If you come in anywhere less than 18 hours a week with your contact lenses out, you are overwearing your contact lenses. When denied oxygen in this way, the eye may attempt to supply oxygen through neovascularization. This process involves the growth of new blood vessels into parts of the eye that should remain clear and unblocked for your best vision. This can seriously hinder your ability to see, and do serious long-term damage as well.

Spare Glasses: Your First, Best Tool To Protect Your Vision

In working on reducing your contact lens wear, a spare pair of glasses can be your best friend. Studies have shown that wearing your glasses instead of your contacts as little as once or twice every week can significantly reduce your chances of developing symptoms of contact lens overuse by allowing your eyes to rest from the strain put on them by consistent contact lens wear.

Even on days when you choose to wear your contacts, it is possible to take steps to reduce your chances of over wearing your contacts. One easy way to do this is to wait to put your contacts in when you wake up in the morning. Wear your glasses during your morning prep, and put your contacts in as the very last step before leaving for the day. Taking your contacts out as the first part of your bedtime prep is another great way to help yourself. These two methods combined can significantly reduce your chances of contact lens overuse without having to make much conscious effort to do so.

Never Sleep With Your Contacts In

Sleeping with your contact lenses in is among the leading causes of contact lens overuse. This practice is among the most dangerous and damaging of the many poor lens wearing choices a person can make. Overnight contact lens wear, or even wearing them for a short nap during the day, may deny the eyes essential oxygen and hydration, possibly leading to vision threatening infections and a painful scratch on the surface of the eye called a corneal abrasion, which can cause eye pain, light sensitivity and excessive tearing. Removing your contact lenses, even for a short nap, is an essential step toward guarding your long term eye health.

Follow Instructions, Save Your Eyes

Possibly the most important part of preventing contact lens overuse is paying close attention to the replacement schedule prescribed by your doctor. Time lines for contact lens replacement are established to protect your eyes from the potentially harmful consequences of contact lens deterioration and calcium deposits that build up on your contact lenses over time. Many people believe that as long as their contacts are comfortable to wear, there is nothing wrong and no need to replace them. Optometrists have fought against this harmful myth for years. By the time contact lenses are uncomfortable, they may have already begun to damage your eyes in ways that may affect your sight long term. Whether in an attempt to save money or through simple inattentiveness, wearing your contact lenses beyond their prescribed replacement date is an incredibly harmful practice that could have serious long term consequences.

For any questions and further tips, contact Dr. Lindauer today.

Comprehensive Eye Exam vs. Vision Screening

Keeping up with your overall eye health is very important no matter what your age. This is why it is important for both adults and children to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once every year. However, many people think that walking into their local eye glasses shop and having their eye glasses or contact lens prescription updated counts as their yearly visit. This unfortunately common misperception can have some dangerous consequences. This is why it is important to understand the difference between a Comprehensive Eye Exam, that can only be performed by a certified Optometrist, and a Vision Screening, which is much less thorough and does not give as deep an insight into your eye health.

As a first rule, if your spending $30-40 on an exam – your likely not getting the complete picture. While the price may be attractive, as with anything, you get what you pay for. These kinds of exams will test your vision and will be able to determine whether you need new glasses or contacts, but that’s about it. Comprehensive Eye Exams, by contrast, go much deeper and will tell you much more.

By contrast, a Comprehensive Eye Exam, along with testing to see if you need new glasses, we will also check for the actual health of your eye. Medical records are consulted and tests are run to see if there is risk of developing any conditions that could harm your overall visual and ocular health. Among the tests performed are tests to see if there are any signs of eye disease such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, which have little or no symptoms until significant damage has already occurred. With diseases such as these, it is essential to catch them early, or else the risk of losing a significant amount of sight increases dramatically.

Besides your eye health, your overall bodily health can be detected through your eyes as well. A Comprehensive Eye Exam also includes examinations of the retina, cornea, blood vessels and nerves for any signs that might signify the onset of tumors, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes, among other conditions that can be first detected in the eyes.

While it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to get your prescription updated from time to time while you’re passing by, it is important to know that it doesn’t count as your yearly exam. Come see us at least once a year for the full picture!

Welcome to our New Website

We invite you to take a look around our new site to get to know our practice and learn about eye and vision health. You will find a wealth of information about our optometrists, our staff and our services, as well as facts and advice about how to take care of your eyes and protect your vision.

Learn about our Practice specialties including comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings and the treatment of eye diseases. Our website also offers you a convenient way to find our hours, address and map, schedule an appointment online, order contact lenses or contact us to ask us any questions you have about eye care and our Practice.

Have a look around our online office and schedule a visit to meet us in person. We are here to partner with you and your family for a lifetime of healthy eyes and vision. We look forward to seeing you!

Pink, Stinging Eyes?

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is one of the most frequently seen eye diseases, especially in kids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergies to pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics, or other irritants, which touch the eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis might be quite transmittable and quickly spread in school and at the office.

Conjunctivitis is seen when the conjunctiva, or thin transparent layer of tissue covering the white part of the eye, becomes inflamed. You can identify conjunctivitis if you notice eye redness, discharge, itching or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes early in the day. Pink eye infections can be divided into three main types: viral, allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis.

The viral type is usually a result of a similar virus to that which produces the recognizable red, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. The red, itchy, watery eyes caused by viral pink eye are likely to last from a week to two and then will clear up on their own. You may however, be able to reduce some of the discomfort by using soothing drops or compresses. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it is completely cleared up, so in the meantime maintain excellent hygiene, remove eye discharge and try to avoid using communal pillowcases or towels. If your son or daughter has viral conjunctivitis, he or she will have to be kept home from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.

A bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should notice an improvement within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but be sure to adhere to the full prescription dosage to prevent pink eye from recurring.

Allergic pink eye is not contagious. It is usually a result of a known allergy such as hay fever or pet allergies that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, to treat allergic pink eye, you should eliminate the irritant. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to relieve discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, your eye doctor might prescribe a medication such as an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. In cases of chronic allergic pink eye, topical steroid eye drops could be used.

Pink eye should always be diagnosed by a qualified eye doctor in order to identify the type and best course of treatment. Never treat yourself! Keep in mind the sooner you begin treatment, the lower chance you have of giving pink eye to loved ones or prolonging your discomfort.