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Wellness Screenings at Acuity Vision

In addition to your annual comprehensive eye exam, Acuity Vision offers additional, more detailed screenings, including Digital Fundus Imaging and Wellness OCT, to complement your exam. We recommend you get a Wellness Screening, particularly if you have a history of eye disease in your family.

These tests aid in the early detection of many eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular eye diseases, retinal diseases, eye/brain tumors, and eye damage caused by diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure and other systemic conditions. 

Digital Fundus Imaging
This test captures a photograph of the back of the eye (fundus) and provides the doctor with a full image of the central retina and its structures (the optic nerve, macula, and main blood vessels). The specialized fundus cameras have an intricate microscope attached to a flash-enabled camera that takes a snapshot. There is normal variation in these eye structures from person to person and it is good to have a record of each individual patient's eyes. In some patients, these images may detect undiagnosed eye disease. Many eye diseases cause slow structural changes over time. Having a reference image allows your doctor to more accurately identify changes in your eye structures and treat diseases at an earlier stage, which can reduce the risk of visual complications.

Wellness OCT Scan
OCT, or Optical Coherence Tomography, is a quick, non-invasive imaging test that uses light waves to take a cross-sectional picture of your retina. It allows our doctors to see beneath the surface of your retina to view its distinctive layers and map or measure their thickness. Eye diseases often have no outward signs or symptoms in early stages. This unique technology helps your doctor detect vision-threatening diseases in very early stages, when they are most treatable and usually cannot be detected without this scan.

While an annual comprehensive eye exam is an important part of preventative healthcare by evaluating the clarity of your vision, prescription changes, and testing for various eye diseases, our digital fundus photos and OCT wellness scans provide additional information to verify your overall eye is healthy and that there are no early signs of eye disease.

How to take care of your eyes in the smoke and bad air quality

Smoke and air pollution can irritate your eyes and cause symptoms such as burning, dryness and tearing and can lead to chronic discomfort and eye irritation. It can also increase the risk of dry eye syndrome. Continual exposure to smoke and air pollution can affect the tears, oil glands and tear ducts, which can lead to dry eyes. Toxic fumes can cling to the outer surface of the eye the same way allergens can, and damage the tear film. The longer you are exposed to these toxic pollutants, the more the problem can worsen and even become chronic.
 
What can you do?
When the air quality is poor, it is best to not be outside for extended periods of time. If you are outdoors and your eyes do get irritated, below are options that can help:

  • Sunglasses with wraparound frames or protective glasses or shields can help to keep pollutants from adhering to the surface of your eyes.  

  • Saline eyewashes help rinse debris away from both your eyes and contact lenses. We recommend Ocufresh to rinse your eyes.

  • Wash irritants off your face using a gentle cleanser and concentrate around your eyes. We recommend a new product called Cliradex Foam, a gentle tea tree oil-based cleanser designed specifically for the eyes. Cliradex towlettes are also designed to clean around the eyes safely.

  • If you wear contact lenses, you should replace them more frequently than usual. Think about switching to dailies if your eyes are dry and this is a recurring problem. 

  • In between changing your contact lenses, use an enzymatic cleaner that removes protein deposits from your contacts.

  • Rewetting drops for irritated eyes throughout the day also help.

Remember, if your eyes become irritated to the point where you are in pain and over-the-counter products are not working, you should call to make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.

High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Your Eyes

Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol are affected by diet. And although you may not think of those conditions in terms of your vision, both can cause serious damage to your eyes. 
 
The good news is that there are plenty of easy, healthy food choices you can make this time of year to enjoy the season and lower your risk for those conditions. 
 
High cholesterol and your eyes
First, a note about cholesterol: Not all of it is bad. Cholesterol is a major component of all of our cell membranes and plays an important part in making hormones, some vitamins, and bile acids to help us digest our food. But too much LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol can build up plaque in the arteries. 
 
If the plaque breaks, it can block an artery causing a heart attack or, if it’s in the brain, a stroke. It can also block an artery in the eye, leading to what’s called a retinal artery occlusion. In that case the retina is deprived of oxygen, which can result in severe vision loss. Also referred to as an ocular stroke, it causes an abrupt loss of vision in one eye and requires immediate emergency medical attention.
 
Even when our eyes aren’t directly affected by too much cholesterol, they can alert us to the presence of cholesterol buildup in the rest of the body. One sign of high cholesterol is a bluish ring that forms around the cornea. These rings, called arcus senilis, are common in older people and benign, but if they appear in people under age 45 it’s a good idea for them to get a blood test to determine if overall cholesterol is too high. 
 
Eye Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) can cause an eye condition called hypertensive retinopathy. If your blood pressure is too high, the retina’s blood vessel walls may thicken, which could cause the blood vessels to narrow, restricting blood flow to the retina. The damage can limit function of the retina and also put pressure on the optic nerve.  
Seek medical help immediately if you have sudden changes in your vision. Warning signs of this condition include:

  • Blurry vision

  • Vision loss

  • Dim vision

  • Headaches

  • Double vision

  • Blood vessel bursts

  • Eye Swelling

Another eye condition from hypertension is choroidopathy, the buildup of fluid under the retina. This results in distorted vision or, in some cases, scarring that impairs vision. Another risk to the eyes is that hypertension can also lead to stroke, which in turn can cause vision loss.

Nutrients that help 
Enjoying richer-than-usual food with family and friends is a major feature of the holidays. But while you’re indulging, why not also enjoy the benefits of nutrients that will help keep you in optimal health this season? Here are some to look for:
 
Hypertension
Potassium is great for helping to reduce blood pressure, and can be found in asparagus, avocado, corn, lima beans, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, plums, strawberries, chicken, cod, salmon, and tuna.
 
Magnesium helps potassium work and can be found in legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables. Some foods that are particularly rich in magnesium are seaweed, almonds, cashews, brewer’s yeast, buckwheat, Brazil nuts, millet, pecans, and walnuts.
 
Calcium works with magnesium and can be found in many of the magnesium-rich foods as well as in dairy products, such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and buttermilk. Broccoli is also a good source of calcium.
 
Cholesterol
The role of saturated fats in reducing cholesterol is currently hotly debated. On the one hand, saturated fat can increase your “bad” LDL cholesterol, but on the other, it can actually increase your “good” HDL cholesterol. The Harvard Heart Letter recommends several types of foods that can help lower LDL cholesterol. The main feature of most is their high amount of soluble fiber:

  • Oats

  • Barley and other whole grains

  • Beans

  • Eggplant, okra and other high-fiber vegetables

  • Nuts

  • Apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruits

  • Soy (such as tofu)

  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna (because of their omega-3 fatty acids)

Fortunately, many of the same foods that fight hypertension also reduce cholesterol. If you incorporate healthy helpings of these foods into your diet this season, your body may never notice that extra piece of pie.

Sleep Deprivation and Your Eyes

Although we know that adults should get at least eight hours of sleep a night, more than 40 percent of us are getting less than six hours of shuteye per day.

This dismal record continues even though most of us are aware of the dangers of getting too little sleep: Sleep deprivation puts us at risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If that weren’t enough, it turns out that chronic sleep deprivation can result in bigger hazards for our eyes than dark circles. Too little sleep can affect both vision and overall eye health. Among eye problems caused by too little sleep:

  • Eye spasms. Referred to as myokymia, involuntary twitching and eye spasms aren’t dangerous but they are annoying. Adequate sleep rests all the body’s muscles, including those in the eye, so this condition gets reversed quickly with better rest.

  • Eye vessel irritation. Shortchanging your sleep can result in irritated bloodshot eyes.

  • Dry eye. This is a condition in which the eyes don’t produce enough tears. Dry eye can result in a stinging, burning, or gritty feeling, redness and irritation.

More concerning, recent studies have found that sleep apnea can be a risk factor for both glaucoma and successful treatment of macular degeneration. With sleep apnea, which affects more than 100 million people worldwide, a person’s airway becomes blocked, with breathing stopping for a few seconds to as long as two minutes. People with this condition often snore loudly or gasp or choke while asleep. 

Glaucoma is a disease that causes pressure buildup in the eye which damages the optic nerve, potentially leading to blindness. Although the reasons for the connection are not entirely clear, researchers found that when they compared two groups -- one with sleep apnea and one without -- they found that those with the condition had a higher incidence of glaucoma. 

Here’s another good reason to get regular comprehensive eye exams if you suffer from sleep apnea: Studies have found a relationship between sleep apnea and macular degeneration, a condition affecting the retina resulting in vision loss or distortion. Untreated sleep apnea can hinder the affects of treatment for macular degeneration. 

What does this all add up to? Getting good quality sleep is essential for every part of your body, including your eyes. Signs that you may not be getting enough sleep include falling asleep while driving, riding in a car, reading, watching TV, sitting in traffic, in a classroom, or in a movie theater. You may also need more shuteye if you struggle to stay awake when you’re inactive. But take heart; there are plenty of ways to get the rest you need.
 
 Tips for getting a good night’s sleep

  • Create a digital curfew. Turn off all electronics an hour before bedtime. TVs, computer and iPad screens, as well as smart phones, emit a blue light that mimics sunlight, confusing your body into thinking you should be awake.

  • Get regular physical activity – but not too late at night. Walking for 30 minutes a day is a great way to get started if you’re not used to exercise. Any amount of physical activity is helpful.

  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, and try not to consume alcohol too late in the evening. Although it seems that alcohol has a calming affect, it actually lowers levels of melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep-wake cycles.

  • Eat wholesome foods, especially proteins that are rich sources of tryptophan such as turkey, dairy, eggs, nuts, pumpkin seeds and brown rice.

  • Manage your stress. Try meditation, deep breathing, yoga, Tai chi, biofeedback, or music.

  • Establish a regular sleep routine, even on weekends. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.

  • Make sure your bedroom is dark enough. Melatonin is secreted only in darkness.

And last, but not least, if you wear contact lenses, don’t forget to remove them before going to bed.

Are you seeing things?

If your vision changes suddenly, you see flashes of light or it looks like a spider web is covering part of your eye, don’t ignore it! It could be a detached retina which needs immediate attention. You should contact your eye doctor immediately.

A detached retina is when the retina, a light sensitive thin layer of nerve fibers toward the back of the eye, separates from its normal position. In some cases, the retina may be torn, and these tears can cause the detachment. Vitreous fluid, a gel-like substance, can leak into the area between the retina and the back wall of the eye, which can cause the retina to pull away or detach.
 
There is no pain associated with retinal detachment but this is a serious issue that can cause loss of vision. The sooner you contact your doctor, the better chance you will have of being treated and fully healing.
 
Signs and Symptoms
If you see any of the several warning signs for detached retina, you should contact your doctor immediately. Spots, floaters, flashes of light, sudden blurry or poor vision, or a shadow or web that seems to fall over your eye are all signs that the retina may be tearing, which can lead to detachment.

Who’s at Risk
Retinal detachments can happen to anyone, but they become more common after the age of 40. Extreme myopia, or nearsightedness, can be a cause, and there is increased risk with eye surgery, eye injuries, retinal detachment in the other eye, family history of retinal issues, cataract surgery, and diabetes. 
 
Treatment
Laser photocoagulation or a freezing probe called cryopexy can help repair small retinal tears, but surgery is required to repair a fully detached retina. Surgical reattachment isn’t always successful though, and immediate treatment greatly increases your odds of regaining any vision you may have lost. Generally, the surgery is more successful if the detachment is limited to the peripheral retina and not the macula.
 
Prevention
Always be aware of the warning signs of a detached retina! If you experience any of the warning signs noted above, contact your doctor immediately. You should also be aware if your family has a history of retinal problems, and you should always have your eyes thoroughly checked after any sort of eye injury. If you are nearsighted, be sure to have regular, dilated eye exams. And always wear protective eyewear during sports and other hazardous activities.

Go to sleep nearsighted, wake up 20/20!

Most of us have learned that there are only three ways to deal with nearsightedness: glasses, contact lenses, or LASIK surgery. But what if there was a fourth? What if you could go to bed at night and wake up in the morning with near-perfect vision?
 
Sounds like science fiction but it’s a solution that’s actually been around for more than 50 years. It’s called orthokeratology or ortho-k for short. In the last decade, ortho-k has been enjoying a renaissance and has undergone some fine-tuning that could make it an attractive choice for many people who are nearsighted.

Ortho-k is a vision correction treatment that involves wearing specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses overnight. While you sleep, the lenses reshape your corneas. When you awake, you remove the lenses, and your distance vision is improved. It may take weeks or just days, but eventually your vision can range from 20/40 to 20/20. Better vision can last from one to two days before you need to reinsert the lenses before going to bed. 
 
Ortho-k has been used effectively in Latin America, the United States, and China, and is on the rise in Europe. Thanks to some improvements over the years, optometrists are taking a closer look at ortho-k, particularly for children. As reported in the February 2018 newsletter, myopia (nearsightedness) among children has grown at an alarming rate, and there is evidence that the treatment can forestall the progression of nearsightedness in children. 
 
One study from the Centre for Myopia Research at Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Optometry found that starting treatment for myopia at an early age halves the risk of progression in children whose myopia is progressing rapidly. Although the study’s authors recommended that the ideal age for orthokeratology is six to nine years old, we have had success in treating older children as well at Acuity Vision Optometry Boutique.

There are other reasons that ortho-k may be preferable for children to eyeglasses or regular contacts:

  • Children frequently break, scratch, or lose their glasses.

  • Kids and teens who wear contact lenses often have difficulty keeping them germ-free at school or on the go.

  • Children whose vision is corrected without the encumbrance of contacts or glasses may have an easier time playing sports, particularly for activities such as swimming.

Ortho-k could also be an alternative to refractive surgery, such as LASIK, when the person is younger than 18 or not a good candidate for other reasons. And if you’re environmentally conscious, you might consider the treatment as a way to reduce waste from contact lenses that need periodic replacement.
 
How does ortho-k work?
Although the first orthokeratology design emerged in the 1960s, it wasn’t practically implemented until the 1990s. During that time and since, lens materials have improved, along with computerized corneal topography, a mapping technique for measuring the curvature of the cornea that’s necessary for the correct fit.
 
The lenses work by flattening the center of the cornea, which controls how light is bent as it enters the eye. The lenses flatten and reshape the cornea by night, and when they’re removed in the morning the cornea stays flattened for a while, which corrects vision by day. If you stop wearing the lenses at night, your corneas will return to their original shape and your nearsightedness will return.  
 
Are the lenses safe?
Generally, putting any contact lens in your eye carries a small risk of an infection called microbial keratitis. Although there have been instances of corneal abrasion with the lenses, studies have shown that the infection risks from ortho-k are no greater than the risks from using soft contact lenses.
 
What to do if you’re interested
Dr. Schmidt recommends that patients schedule an eye exam with her if they want to learn more about ortho-k for themselves or their child. If you decide on the treatment, she’ll design lenses specially for you. The cost of ortho-k varies, and although it is an elective procedure generally not covered by vision insurance, Dr. Schmidt can work out a fee structure with you at your next appointment.

Halloween is Around the Corner!

It’s never to early to order your Gothika Halloween contacts for your best costume ever!

Contact lenses can be ordered in non-prescription styles, as well as in powers ranging from -0.25 to -6.00 diopters.  

To make the ordering process for your Halloween lenses simple and fast, download our Release Form for Halloween Contacts and email it back to us at info@acuityvision.com.  

The deadline to order contacts in time for Halloween is October 22nd, but popular styles and powers run out of stock well before the order deadline!

Call us at 415-673-2020 or email phil@acuityvision.com to order.

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Back to School and Back to Sports. Are Your Eyes Ready?

Sports and Eye Safety


For many families, the end of summer means trips to the store for clothes, backpacks, and notebooks for the new school year. But if your children are planning on signing up for fall sports, there are some often-overlooked safety items that also belong on your shopping list.

Along with heralding the start of school, September is Sports Eye Safety Month.  Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States, and most eye injuries among school-aged children happen while playing sports. According to the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, wearing protective eyewear could eliminate 90 percent of sports-related injuries.

Those injuries can be severe, ranging from abrasions of the cornea and bruises of the lid to internal eye injuries, including retinal detachments and internal bleeding.

The sports most likely to result in eye injuries include baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and racquet sports, but children can also sustain injuries from soccer, tennis, and water sports, according to the Vision Council. 

Don’t become an eye-injury statistic
Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the U.S. treats an adult or child with a sports-related eye injury. But if you or your children enjoy sports, there’s plenty you can do to keep your family out of the ER.

Many children’s and youth teams don’t require eye protection, so make sure you supply your child with safety glasses or protective goggles -- and set a good example by wearing protective eyewear yourself when you play sports.  Here’s what you should know:

  • Fashion eyewear does not offer protection. Make sure protective eyewear meets the impact standards of the American Standards for Testing and Materials purchased from a reputable sporting goods store, optical store, or optometry clinic. Acuity Vision Optometry Boutique has a wide selection of sports safety glasses.

  • Face masks should be constructed of polycarbonate (which is 10 times more impact-resistant than other plastics) that can be attached to helmets or worn alone. Polycarbonate lenses are also available in sunglasses and eyeglasses.

  • Adults or children who participate in baseball and softball (when batting), football, hockey, biking, skateboarding, inline skating, skiing, and snowboarding should always wear helmets. Among other severe problems, head injuries can cause double vision, loss of eye muscle control, and problems focusing.

  • Sunglasses or goggles with ultraviolet (UV) protection are a must when playing outdoor sports, including swim goggles when in the pool.

  • If you or your children wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure to wear safety goggles over them. Some protective eyewear, such as swim goggles, can be made to match prescriptions.

You or your child should be wearing sports goggles if either of you participate in basketball, baseball, handball, racquetball, soccer, squash, or tennis. Use swim goggles for regular swimming and water polo. You’ll need a helmet for cycling and a helmet with full face protection for football, ice hockey, or are up at bat for baseball or softball. For lacrosse, use sports goggles at a minimum but consider a helmet with full face protection.

Emergency eye care
The Vision Council has some recommended dos and don’ts in the event of an eye injury:

  • As soon as possible, have an eye doctor or other medical doctor examine the injury.

  • Until you can get medical help, shield the eye from more damage by gently holding a folded cloth over it.

  • Bandage any cuts around the eye to prevent infection or contamination in the eye.

  • If there is small debris in the eye, flush it with water, but DO NOT wash the eye if there are cuts or punctures.

  • DO NOT remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.

  • Use a cold compress to treat a blunt trauma injury such as a black eye, but do not apply pressure.

  • DO NOT apply ointments or any medications to the injured eye or give over-the-counter medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which may increase bleeding.

  • DO NOT rub the eye, which could cause more damage.

Aside from taking your own steps at home, encouraging policies on protective eyewear in your child’s school and sports teams will go a long way toward protecting kids from needless accidents. And preventing eye injuries before they happen is a goal worth aiming for. 

Digital Eye Strain and Your Eyes

With an increase in digital technology, many individuals suffer from physical discomfort after screen use for longer than two hours at a time. The Vision Council refers to this collection of symptoms as digital eye strain.

More than 83 percent of Americans report using digital devices for more than two hours per day, and 53.1 percent report using two digital devices simultaneously, with 60.5 percent reporting experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.

Here's how Americans responded on average to The Vision Council's 2017 survey:

Computer:
- 75.6% regularly use a computer to research
- 54.2% to shop online
- 48.7% to find a recipe
- 36.2% to check social media
- 26.7% to play games

Smartphone:
- 58.2% regularly use a smartphone to get directions
- 56.6% to serve as an alarm clock
- 53.7% to check the weather
- 38.1% to check social media
- 25.8% to play games

Television
- 32.2% use television to get the news
- 16% to keep track of professional sports
- 14% to check the weather

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ALLEVIATE DIGITAL EYE STRAIN?

Eyewear is available with lenses featuring digital eye strain-reducing capabilities. However, individuals don't have to sacrifice style for function when it comes to eyewear. These specialized lenses can be incorporated into virtually any pair of frames, so individuals can choose eyewear that complements their personal look, while meeting their eye health needs.

Many people are unaware of the solutions available to combat digital eye strain – in fact, 71 percent of Americans report they have not discussed their digital device usage with their eyecare provider, and 72.6 percent reported they did not know eyewear can be used to protect the eyes from short- and long-term effects of digital eye strain.

The Vision Council recommends individuals and their child(ren) visit a local eyecare provider to discuss their digital habits and what eyewear solutions are available to relieve the symptoms of digital eye strain.

https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/content/digital-eye-strain

Santa Visits Acuity!

Santa visited Acuity today, ringing in the 2017 Holiday Season! Check out some photos from today's festivities:

Trick or Treat on Sacramento Street!

Join us on Sacramento Street for the annual Trick or Treat Halloween stroll on Tuesday, October 31. Merchants between Broderick and Spruce Streets will be greeting trick or treaters and handing out candy from 3:00 - 6:00 pm.  Come by Acuity Vision to check out our spooktacular haunted Halloween interactive window display and get your tricks and treats!  Click here to see a video of the window.

*If you received our October newsletter, please note we have corrected a typo in the main article of the newsletter, Breast Cancer and Your Eyes.  You can view the entire newsletter here

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2017 Halloween Contacts Are Here!

Dressing up for Halloween?  We have Halloween contact lenses! Order your costume lenses early to make sure you get the best selection of what you want.  Contact lenses can be ordered in non-prescription styles, as well as in powers ranging from -0.25 to -6.00 diopters.  

To make the ordering process for your Halloween lenses simple and fast, download our Release Form for Halloween Contacts and email it back to us at info@acuityvision.com.  

The deadline to order contacts in time for Halloween is October 17th, but popular styles and powers run out of stock well before the order deadline! Call us at 415-673-2020 or email phil@acuityvision.com to order now!

 

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Gesundheit! Allergy Season is Here!

Although not comprehensive, the table below illustrates some of the most commonly available products from each category of allergy treatment classified as oral antihistamines, topical antihistamines, anti-inflammatories such as NSAIDS and corticosteroids, and artificial tears. When using multiple eye drops, ensure drug efficacy by spacing instillation of eye drops 5 minutes apart.

Popular Allergy Therapies
 

Over-the-Counter

Prescription Required

Oral Antihistamines

Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, Benadryl

Clarinex, Palgic, Atarax

Topical Antihistamines

With Mast Cell Stabilizers: Alaway, Claritin Eye, Zaditor

With Naphazoline HCl: Opcon-A, Naphcon-A, Visine-A

Patanol, Pataday, Pazeo, Lasticraft, Bepreve, Optivar, Emadine, Livostin

NSAID drops

None

Acular, Acuvail

Corticosteroids

None

Lotemax, Alrex, Vexol, Pred Mild, Fluromethalone (FML)

Artificial Tears

Retaine, Systane, Refresh, Optive, Blink, Genteal

None

Top Six Tips for Maintaining Healthy Eyes

Follow these six common-sense tips for the overall health of your eyes.  

1. Get Regular Eye Check Ups

  • Get your eyes checked every one to two years to make sure you don’t have any eye diseases such as glaucoma or macular degeneration.
  • Allow your eye doctor to check that your glasses and contact lenses are the correct prescription.  Bring any glasses you currently use.  If you wear contacts, wear them to your appointment and bring along your last written contact prescription or your contact lens packaging.
  • If you suffer from any medical conditions, let your eye doctor know.  Many systemic diseases can also affect the health of your eyes, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders, etc.

  2. Practice Good Contact Lens Habits

  • Wash your hands before handling contacts.
  • Replace contacts as recommended by your eye doctor (every day, two weeks, month, or quarter).  Extending the life of your contacts can lead to decreased comfort and breathability, as well as corneal problems.
  • Avoid sleeping in contacts, unless approved by your eye doctor, in which case you will be fit FDA-approved extended wear contacts.
  • Clean your contacts daily using solution with disinfecting properties to kill harmful bacteria.  Gently rub your contacts with disinfecting solution before storing them in their case, even if the bottle says “No Rub” on it.  Saline solution DOES NOT disinfect.  Look for multi-purpose solutions that clean, disinfect, and rinse.
  • Rinse your contact lens case with warm water daily and let it air dry with the caps off to avoid harboring bacteria that breeds in moist environment.  Replace your contact lens case every 3-6 months.
  • Avoid using old contacts or old solutions.
  • Get your contact lenses checked every year during your eye exams to make sure they fit properly, allow sufficient oxygen transmission to the cornea, and are the correct prescription.

3. Practice Good Hygiene

  • Avoid touching your eyes before washing your hands to decrease transmission of viruses or bacteria that lead to conjunctivitis (pink eye).
  • Wash your hands after shaking hands with people, sharing keyboards, sharing exercise equipment, or touching any surfaces in public spaces.
  • Never share towels, pillows, or linens with someone who has conjunctivitis.
  • If you have conjunctivitis, stay home from work or school until it clears!  Frequently wash your hands to prevent transmission to those around you.
  • Wash your face daily with a gentle soap, especially around your eyes.

4. Wear UV Sun Protection

  • Protect those peepers from the sun!  Constant sun exposure can lead to early cataract development, cancers of the eye, and macular degeneration.
  • Ask your eye doctor about special lens materials, coatings, and frames that can maximize your protection from the damaging effects of the sun.
  • Wear a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses whenever you are outdoors.
  • Don’t let the fog fool you!  Even on cloudy, foggy days UV rays can penetrate your eyes and have damaging effects.  Always wear your sunglasses when you are outside or riding in your car.

5. Wear Safety Goggles During Recreation/Sports

  • Having proper equipment for sports or recreation includes wearing protective eye gear.  The sports at highest risk for injuries leading to blindness are those that involve balls, rackets, or sticks.
  • Discuss with your eye doctor any sports or hobbies you have so that he or she can give recommendations on how to protect your eyes.  More than 90 percent of all eye injuries can be avoided using the correct protective eyewear.

6. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Make healthy food choices by eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low in saturated fats.  Choose fruits and vegetables that are a good source of vitamin A, C, and E, which are anti-oxidants that can lower the risks of certain eye diseases.  Carrots, broccoli, spinach, papaya, avocados, and berries are a few good sources of anti-oxidants.  Eat lean meats that are low in saturated fats, such as fish and poultry.  Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, vital to the preservation of vision as people mature.
  • A healthy heart yields healthy eyes! Diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure can increase the risk for glaucoma and other eye diseases that can impact your vision.  Exercise regularly to minimize the risk for developing these diseases.
  • Avoid smoking.  Smoking increases your risk of developing macular degeneration in your lifetime by up to 30 percent.  This is the most common disease in the US that can lead to preventable blindness.   If you currently smoke, quit now and reduce your risk.

Antioxidants & Age-Related Eye Disease

Cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are the leading causes of visual impairment and acquired blindness in the U.S. These diseases affect millions of aging Americans.

Some recent studies have shown that antioxidant vitamins may decrease the development or progression of cataracts. 

The average daily diet contains approximately 100 mg vitamin C and 9 mg vitamin E (or 12 IU). However, in the studies referenced, benefits were associated with intakes considerably higher than the current average intake. If you find it difficult to increase the level of these antioxidants in your diet, consider taking supplements containing these antioxidants.

Click here for more information by the American Optometric Association's information on what foods and vitamins you need in your diet to help improve your eye health:

http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/nutrition/antioxidants?sso=y