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You’re Never Too Old to Try Contacts!

Are you one of those people who tried contacts in the past, but had no luck? Perhaps you found them dry and uncomfortable, or your allergies made them impossible to wear?  Maybe you were unable to see as clearly compared to your glasses, or you never needed glasses but now you’re struggling to see up close?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time for you to try contacts again!

Advances in Contact Lenses

Over the last decade, contact lens technology has continued to make significant improvements. Do not let your age, prescription, or any previous experiences keep you from giving them another try.

The most common reason for discontinuing contact lenses is due to discomfort, especially at the end of the day. Other common reasons are poor distance vision, or the inability to see both near and far for those over 40 years of age. With the latest contact lens technology, almost all end-of-day discomfort can be eliminated as can the difficulty achieving acceptable vision at all distances.

Early generation soft lenses were thick and known to become dry by the end of the day. Soft lenses today are much thinner, lighter, and more comfortable than the contacts 10 years, 5 years, and even 1-2 years ago.

Wearing contact lenses over a period of days or even weeks causes them to absorb natural oils, mucus, and proteins from our tear film. When these substances accumulate, they can cause contact lenses to dry out faster, resulting in irritation. Today there are many different materials such as silicone hydrogels, water gradient lenses, and other innovations that are designed to reduce drying and enhance the overall comfort.

Disposable Contacts

Are you still having issues with weekly or monthly contacts? Try switching to daily disposable soft contacts! Daily disposables are worn for just one day and then thrown away. Using new, fresh lenses each day avoids the potential problem of debris build-up, which is often the cause of discomfort and blurred vision. In fact, daily disposable lenses may help relieve dry eyes for some users.

Commonly, many people do not close their eyelids completely while blinking, exposing their eyes to air which leads to dehydration. When fitted correctly with the appropriate material, contacts can help seal in moisture to help avoid this issue. The new water gradient design lines both sides of the contact lenses with a thin film of water that keeps the eye moist. The comfort is truly remarkable allowing our doctors to use this lens type for not only vision correction, but for the potential treatment of dry eye as well.

What if I need glasses to see up close while wearing contacts?

Adults over the age of 40 typically have three options when it comes to wearing contact lenses for clear vision. One option is to wear contact lenses for distance vision and then use reading glasses in addition to contact lenses to achieve an acceptable near vision. Second, multifocal contact lenses are designed to allow you to see at both near and far distances and if needed can include an astigmatism correction. Monovision, on the other hand, is the third option which uses a fitting technique fitting one eye with a lens for optimal close-up vision, while the other eye is fitted with a lens for optimal distance vision.

More Information

Need help deciding which option is best for you, or want to schedule a fitting appointment? Give our Eye Care One team a call today at 616-844-7000!

Eye Allergies, Or…?

Hey, allergy season. Welcome back to the time of year when everyone blames almost every distress on allergies! Let us help set the record straight though, since certain symptoms are easily assumed as a seasonal allergic reaction when they can actually be a result of something worth looking into further.

Eye Allergies

But okay, we’ll give eye allergies a little bit of attention since they can be the reason for red, itchy, swollen, sensitive, burning, and overall irritated eyes. First and foremost, don’t forget, it’s not just the pollen. There are several things you can be allergic to from trees to animals to new perfumes, even new contact lenses, believe it or not.

The reason behind the reactions you experience is the release of histamines. Histamines are a chemical that causes all the swelling, tears, et cetera, in an attempt to release allergens and help defend your eyes.

While antihistamine pills and eye drops help calm allergic reactions, it’s suggested that over-the-counters aren’t used for more than a couple of days. Ask us about prescribed eye drops that can be used on a more fluid schedule and can healthily harmonize with any existing eye issues such as glaucoma.

Now that we’ve covered eye allergies, let’s talk about other possible culprits.

Eye Allergies or Eye Infections?

girl with irritated dry red eye or allergy female

The reactions might seem as similar as identical twins in the beginning. But the causes are completely unrelated. Eye allergies are caused by allergens and eye infections are caused by substances like bacteria, parasites, and viruses. If they are not appropriately addressed, symptoms can mutate from a mild itch to more intense pain, light sensitivity and thick, slimy discharge.

Another important thing to know about infections vs allergies: infections can spread to others and allergies cannot. Proper hygiene and following ODs guidance are crucial to healing your own eyes and protecting the eyes of others.

Eye Allergies or Dry Eye?

One oddity of dry eye syndrome is that it can lead to watery eyes. This reflex tearing helps to confuse dry eye syndrome and eye allergies. There are so many varied factors that can lead to dry eye. Factors that can develop at any time. One way to help differentiate the two is maintaining awareness of other symptoms that are more prone to dry eye, such as:

  • Heavy eyelids
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye pain that feels different from allergic irritation

Eye Allergies or Adverse Medicinal Reactions?

Some medications can cause severe eye problems, but the puzzling part is they often don’t kick in until after years of use. This is one of the several reasons why it is important to discuss all side effects with your doctors and to share your use of all medications with your trusted optometrist.

Medications that can lead to eye issues fall in every arena. The most common negative results are dry eye, light sensitivity, and in more serious cases, optic nerve damage and loss of visual acuity. If these reactions begin to take place during the months that are often considered “allergy season”, it may be easy to relate them with allergy responses.

Eye allergies usually don’t come on their own. They’re often accompanied by sneezing, a scratchy throat, and a stuffy nose. The best way to confirm the cause? A checkup! Request an appointment on our website with details of what eye irritations you’re looking to calm. Our team at Eye Care One is here to help!

When the Whites of Your Eyes Just… Aren’t Quite White

White eyes have just about the same cosmetic priority as white teeth or unblemished skin. In fact, several surveys reveal that about 30% of people initially notice eyes when they first meet someone. While you can be a generally healthy human with stained teeth and imperfect skin, your eyes can reveal a lot about you… including your health.

First, allow us to introduce you to the sclera. The sclera is simply the medical term for “the white of the eye”. And it comes with high importance.

The sclera is four coats of protection that wrap around most of the eyeball, from the front of the beautiful colored part of the eye- the iris, to the back with sensitive optic nerves. This eye armor is no more than one millimeter thick, which amounts to the thickness of about 10 sheets of paper, layered on top of one another!

The layers of protective armor that give your eye its white color and the sclera its overall strength include randomly patterned collagen fibers and tissues called the episclera, the stroma, the lamina fusca, and the endothelium.

Typically, the entire sclera, not just one layer, changes color or accumulates spots.

Here are 4 hues to keep a lookout for along with a few reasons why:

  1. Yellow: A yellow tone brings along with it a couple of main suspicions, jaundice and “surfer’s eye”.A buildup of red blood cells that are normally filtered out by the liver can have several different causes but can trigger jaundice which often includes a yellowing of the eyes and skin. Surfer’s eye should really be given the nickname of “Outdoor A Lot Eye” as it is a sign of untreated UV damage from the sun combined with high winds or areas filled with dust.
  2. Blue: A tint of blue/gray might not be easy to detect by looking in a mirror, and often these tints are unavoidable because of long-term use of important medications.Tints of blue are still important to observe with help from your OD to consider or dismiss certain health conditions like genetic bone disease or iron deficiency.
  3. Red: Chances are we’ve all experienced eyes with a shade of red, whether it was thanks to allergies or exhaustion or any other typical culprit.
    However, it is still important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible since a red eye can also signal an infection or a broken blood vessel, especially if accompanied by discharge, pain, or blurred vision.
  4. Closeup of an eye of a black manBrown: Brown spots are on both ends of the spectrum. They range from completely harmless to life-threatening. High levels of melanin, the natural skin pigment which makes skin, hair, and the iris of your eyes a darker color can curate spots outside of the iris and within the sclera which are nothing to worry about.
    However, if a dark spot that resembles a freckle that changes over time develops during or after your 30’s, we suggest you make an appointment. These more serious brown spots are not at all melanin-related and can become cancerous if left untreated.

So, when the whites of your eyes just… aren’t quite white, give us a call at 616-844-7000! Keep note of what is accompanying your sclera color change and alert us about anything such as…

    • Blurred vision
    • Discharge
    • Pain
    • Light sensitivity
    • Swelling or bulging

…and our team at Eye Care One will handle the process to lead your eyes—and your entire self—back to health.

May is Healthy Vision Month

What does that mean for you? It means that now is the time to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.

While these are one of the exams we may often let fall by the wayside, they are extremely important to maintain our eye health. Comprehensive eye exams serve several purposes. During these exams, pupils, the circular black area in the center of the eye where light enters, are widened with eye drops or viewed without dilation through a special camera. This allows your Eye Doctor to check for vision problems and eye diseases, verify what stage of diseases your eyes may be in, and helps determine if you need glasses, contacts or other treatments.

Comprehensive eye exams are crucial for all ages, here’s why:

Pediatric exams test for visual acuity, lazy eye, color vision, ocular health, and more. These are extremely important to test for the school years ahead.

For older children and teenagers, myopia (nearsightedness) is one of the biggest concerns that comprehensive eye exams detect. Myopia affects the eye’s ability to see distant images clearly. It is important to identify and treat early with glasses or contacts as children and teens begin to learn in larger spaces, play sports, and drive.

Adult exams are recommended at least every two years, or as recommended by your eye care specialist. Exams for adults are necessary to catch eye conditions that can cause vision loss and even lead to blindness. Some of these conditions are cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.

There are several other conditions that comprehensive eye exams can expose that may not be found without a visit to your optometrist.

Outside of eye exams, here are 5 ways you can help protect your vision:

  1. Healthy eating. You know this! Healthy eating helps every part of your body. For your eyes, make sure to add dark, leafy greens and seafood that is high in omega-3 fatty acids to your plate. A great excuse to treat yourself to sushi! We’re adding a spicy sake maki roll to our cart… for delivery. 
  2. Protective eyewear. Whether you’re chopping wood for the bonfire pit, mowing the lawn, painting your bedroom walls, or riding your motorcycle around town, protective eyewear is key. Blue-light protection glasses should also be considered to protect your eyes from all the time spent in front of computer screens.
  3. Sunglasses. Much like protective eyewear, sunglasses help protect your eyes from ultraviolet radiation delivered by sun. Not all sunglasses provide the same level of protection. Let us help you pick the best pair!
  4. Clean hands. Wash your hands before putting your contacts in and before taking your contacts out, simply to avoid infection.
  5. Stop smoking. Smoking is known to cause several diseases, but it can also lead to vision loss. It can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and more. Mark your calendar for your comprehensive eye exam and mark it as the day to stop smoking.

May is Healthy Vision Month Image.jpeg

Happy healthy vision month! Get your appointment in the books with us today.

The Difference Between Exams: Comprehensive vs. Contacts

Woman applying contact lens in bathroomRoutine comprehensive eye exams, scheduled annually, are important for several reasons. These general exams help determine if you need vision correction, search for eye issues, detect health conditions like diabetes, and more. However, if you are interested in wearing contacts, a contact lens exam is different—and necessary.

ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL

Not one eye is the same. Each one has a differently shaped cornea, the transparent part of your eye covering the pupil and iris. If the lens does not match the unique design, it can cause discomfort or even eye damage. You may even require specialty lenses if you have astigmatism or presbyopia. This is just one reason why scheduling a contact lens is important. Contacts also require a certain amount of fluid for comfort. A tear film evaluation may occur during your contact lens exam. This test will ensure you produce enough healthy tears to keep both the lenses and your cornea hydrated throughout the day. If you face dry eye disease, you will likely need a specific contact lens that is more suitable for parched eyes. Keep in mind, an eyeglass exam is no substitution for a contact lens exam. Eyeglasses are positioned a certain distance away from your eyes compared to contact lenses, which sit directly on top of the eye.

TRIAL BY CONTACT

Following your contact lens exam, you will be provided with trial contacts to ensure that the chosen lenses provide you with clear vision and comfort. The trial contacts will allow your eye doctor to make any adjustments needed, if any, to the initial prescription.

DISCOVER THE BENEFITS OF CONTACTS

Contacts are great to wear when playing sports, won’t fog up like glasses occasionally do, and can cause fewer vision distortions than glasses. Let us help you find the perfect contacts and coach you on the proper lens care and application. Request an appointment at your nearest Eye Care One location today!

Toys & Toddlers: Eye Safety

Pull on those red things to open. Christmas holidays with gifts for these two kids that sitting indoors in the nice room near the bedTis the season for tons of toys arriving in wrapping from family, friends, and Santa. While toys are all fun and games and can help stimulate a child’s vision, their eyes can be easily hurt by toys. Prevent Blindness, an organization formed over a century ago, posted in 2019 that nearly 184,000 children under the age of 15 had been sent to an emergency room due to toy-related injuries. While eye health is always something to look out for, it is especially important during the holiday season when new toys and trinkets come a child’s way.

Determining Toy Safety

First and foremost, don’t just give presents, be present! On top of all the suggestions to help determine toy safety, one of the most important tips is to have an eye on your little one while they have their hands on any type of toy. Additionally:

  • Check packaging labels for age recommendations and only purchase age-appropriate toys. Has someone else gifted them without taking a peek? Still say thanks and save the gift for later!
  • Look for toys marked with “ASTM”. This marking stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials, meaning the toy meets national safety standards.
  • Determine if protective eyewear is necessary, especially with older children and sports equipment.
  • Play with it yourself first! Make sure the toy is unbreakable and does not have sharp ends, or small pieces that are not securely attached.

Handling an Eye Injury

When an eye injury happens, you might feel overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take while you’re seeking medical assistance. You are not alone! Here are some tips provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology when it comes to caring for children’s eye injuries:

  • Avoiding flushing with water might be a surprise, but unless the eye has been exposed to a chemical, avoid rinsing with any fluids.
  • In the beginning, applying pressure to the eye might give a bit of relief, but should be avoided along with any eye rubbing. However, if there is a clear cut or puncture to the eye, it is recommended to gently cover the wound.
  • Do not try to remove any small debris or objects stuck in the eye. Try, instead, to have your child blink rapidly with their eyelid lifted. This movement is likely to bring about tears that may flush out any particles.
  • Most importantly, seek treatment! Especially if the injury appears to worsen over time.

While eyes are relatively durable parts of the body, they are still vulnerable to injuries caused by toys. While some injuries are meager; others are major and may lead to severe optical trauma and even blindness. Remember to keep an eye out as children frolic and play!

Our team at Eye Care One hopes that you have a wonderful holiday season! Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Block the Blue Light

Cheerful lovely young girl wearing pajamas laying in bedThe truth is, blue light isn’t all bad. It shouldn’t be blocked at all times. It can help memory, boost alertness, and elevate your mood! Still, the eye cannot take blue light all day long and it can easily contribute to eye strain especially when it is coming from computer screens and tablets, and cellphones.

These days, we’re working, learning, and relaxing in front of screens emitting blue light all throughout the day—and night. Even your average indoor lightbulb can give off blue light.

You’re probably wondering. Okay, but what is blue light anyway?

Blue light is the highest energy visible light on the UV spectrum, and before the advent of technology, the sun was our only significant source of blue light. Problems arise, however, with the amount of blue light to which we are exposing our brains and bodies, potentially causing undue stress to our eyes and even making it hard to sleep at night.

There are a few ways to avoid this strain. First, let us introduce you to one of the best options on the list: blue light blocking lenses.

What are blue light blocking lenses?

Good question. Glasses equipped with lenses with blue light protection are a simple solution to combat the symptoms caused by increased screen time. The technology in these lenses has a subtle tint that softens harsh blue light rays as they pass through, reducing the amount of blue light to which the wearer’s eyes are exposed. They aren’t heavy or thick and can be made without a prescription attached to them. They can be made to fit adults, teens, and children and are safe for all to wear. All blue light blocking glasses aren’t made the same. They can be made to block a certain percentage of blue light. How much you decide to block, well, that is up to you. Give our practice a call and we will gladly talk you through your options!

What else can I do to block blue light?

While you won’t be able to block it without the correct lens as your shield, you can still manage it.

When working at a computer, for example, you’re often looking up and down, from screen to paper, and your eyes are moving around and refocusing time after time. This is where the 20-20-20 rule can come into play. For every 20 minutes you’re in front of a screen, turn your head and look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Just, give your eyes a break.

Another option: simply lower the brightness. The display settings for your screen on your phone or computer allow you to adjust the amount of light seeping from the screen. If your screen looks like a light source, lower the brightness. If your screen looks dull and a bit too dark, it’s okay and probably for the best to brighten it up. A dull screen can also strain your eyes.

Bottom line, protect your eyes the best way you can, and remember that we are here to help! Looking to get a pair of blue light protection glasses that fit your lifestyle and your budget? Here at Eye Care One, we can customize any style of frame and lens prescription with blue light-blocking technology.

When Sweat Stings

People exercising at fitness gym

Do your eyes sting when drops of sweat travel down your forehead and into your eyes? Ouch!

You may have noticed that sometimes your eyes feel irritated, and other times, they feel fine. Whether you start to your eyes sting while you’re getting a workout in or just hanging out under the last few days of warm sun, you are not alone, and there are a few reasons why.

While there is no evidence that your sweat can do any harm to your eyes, it would still be nice to avoid the prickly feeling. What it basically comes down to is how you have prepared for your day. Here are a couple of things to consider:

Hydration

What sweat consists of on its own is water, salt, proteins, ammonia, and other minerals. It is the salty matter that can cause your eyes to become irritated and burn. Luckily, there is a simple way to make sure the salt load is low.

You guessed it. Drink water.

And if not water, a sports drink can also help hydrate you before becoming active or heading out into the sun.

Hair & Skin Care

The sweat that gets into your eyes often makes a couple stops on the way: your scalp, hair, and forehead.

On these pit stops, the sweat picks up some hitchhiker germs and grime like the pomade you added to style your hair or the face cream and sunscreen you massaged into your skin.

Although these products are necessary [#selfcare], they are often formulated with ingredients that your eyes do not particularly care for.

Consider lightening up on the products you apply or pick something a bit more delicate on days when you know you’ll be on the sweatier side.

Block it or Battle it

Some more easy ways to avoid the sting of sweat include using a sweat headband to absorb sweat before it reaches your face, look into a good brand of eyedrops to help relieve any pain, or just close your eyes and splash your face with cool water for a quick fix.

If stinging, burning eyes remain a consistent issue, contact your nearest Eye Care One to set up an informative appointment today!

Getting Back to Learning Requires Healthy Vision

Board 9There is so much uncertainty as our kids, teens and young adults go back to school this fall! But one thing is for sure – our eyes are remarkably important to learning!

Did you know that 80% of the sensory information that reaches our brain comes from our eyes? Not only that – 80% of learning is through our eyes!

Vision and eye health issues are not always obvious.

Children who can “see” well may still struggle with their vision while learning. Eye alignment, eye teaming, eye movement and coordination, eye focus, and dry eyes all influence how we visually perform.

Parents and educators alike often assume that if our child passes a vision screening, they are ok. Vision screenings are definitely not comprehensive eye exams.

Vision is a sense that is not always automatic! It develops in our formative years. Comprehensive eye exams can detect issues that once addressed can have lifelong impacts. For school-aged children, the American Optometric Association recommends annual eye exams begin before 1st grade and each year thereafter.

Let’s give our children the best chance at success! Make sure you get your child’s annual eye health and vision exam checked off your list!

We at Eye Care One provide comprehensive eye exams and vision therapy treatment options to help children’s learning and development.

Request your appointment today!

Essential vs. Non-Essential Eye Care

blog preventative 1024×640 900×600As we navigate new processes and protocols as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, you may be wondering, what’s the difference between Essential and Non-Essential Eye Care.

Essential Eye Care services include treatment for medical conditions, including urgent care needs that keep patients from carrying out their regular daily routines. These include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Broken or lost eyewear
  • Eye trauma
  • Vision loss
  • Contact lens-related pain
  • Flashes or floating objects in the eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Double vision
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Severe or recurring headaches

We are equipped to handle your Essential Eye Care needs so you do not have visit the ER – which may put you at risk of exposure to infection while also potentially taking from patients with critical conditions having no other alternatives.

Non-Essential Eye Care services might also be called “routine,” and not impeding a patient from his/her day-to-day activities, such as:

  • Routine eye exam with no problems
  • First time routine contact lens fittings

As always, our top priority is always your well-being. If you have questions or concerns about any eye health or eye care services – reach out! We are here to help you in any way we can!