Halloween Contact Lenses and Special-Effect Lenses

Want to look like a vampire? Or show your support of your favorite professional sports team by wearing its logo on your eyes? You can do this and more with decorative special-effect contact lenses.

Special-effect contacts — including black contact lenses, Halloween contact lenses and other “crazy” lenses — are soft contact lenses that are available for theatrical and novelty uses.

Just like colored contact lenses, special-effect (FX) or crazy contacts can be used whether or not you normally wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, because most types are available both with and without lens powers to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism<

It’s important to note that all contact lenses, including plano Halloween contacts and any other special-effects contacts, are classified as medical devices by the FDA and require a valid contact lens prescription from a licensed eye care practitioner.

Theatrical or novelty lenses are safe to wear — but only when they are properly prescribed and cared for, and purchased from a legitimate source. Bacterial eye infections from contaminated, poorly fitted or improperly worn special-effect contact lenses can occur rapidly, causing a painful corneal ulcer and even blindness.

Putting the finishing touch to your Halloween costume is not worth a sight-threatening eye infection from improper contact lens use.

How Do Special-Effect Contacts Work?

Special-effect contact lenses have an opaque (non-transparent) tint to completely mask your natural eye color and are available in a wide variety of dramatic colors and designs. The center of the lens, which lies over your pupil, is clear so you can see.

Most novelty or costume contact lenses cover just the colored portion of your eye (iris), but special-effect scleral lenses, like all-black, red, yellow or white contacts, cover both the iris and the “white” (sclera) of your eyes to create a truly haunting look.

Special Effects Contact Lenses: Trends And Designs

Black sclera contact lenses, white contact lenses, wild eyes, cat eyes — whichever you choose, there’s a huge array of Halloween contact lenses to add the ultimate finishing touch to your Halloween costume.

Current trends in theatrical or novelty contact lenses are inspired by movies and cult TV shows.

These include the popular black, white and yellow special-effect scleral contact lenses, as worn on the cult TV show True Blood; red and amber colored contacts like those worn in Twilight, New Moon and Breaking Dawn; and Goth contact lenses in patterns of red, black, white and yellow which channel The Exorcist.

Other movie character special-effect lenses include vivid green “Mad Hatter” colored contacts inspired by the movie Alice in Wonderland, yellow “alien” contacts as featured in Avatar and even yellow cat-eyes like those seen in Harry Potter.

Crazy contact lenses remain popular, too. These include zombie, vampire and other supernatural designs such as spider webs, cat eyes and werewolves — perfect for adding the “wow” factor to your Halloween or special occasion costume.

If you want even scarier looking contact lenses, there are mesh-look contacts and even neon glow-in-the-dark UV lenses!

Contacts in the Movies

Jim Carrey wearing green contact lenses in his Grinch costume.
Jim Carrey wore special-effect contact lenses by Dr. Morton Greenspoon in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

A Colorful History Of Special Effect Lenses

Special-effect contact lenses aren’t a recent fad. Morton Greenspoon, OD, a pioneer of theatrical lenses, has been providing special effects contact lenses to the film industry since the 1950s.

Dr. Greenspoon has changed Elvis Presley’s baby blues to brown for the movie Flaming Star, provided Michael Jackson’s wolf eyes for the “Thriller” music video, and received an Academy Award nomination for his work on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. His most recent film work includes Pirates of the Caribbean and the Twilight Saga.

But you don’t have to walk the red carpet to wear crazy contact lenses. With the array of special-effect lenses available today, you too can get into character and portray your favorite Hollywood star.

Do You Need A Prescription?

Yes — while novelty contacts are designed for fun, they still are considered medical devices and cannot be purchased legally in the United States without a contact lens prescription.

You must see your eye doctor for a contact lens exam to have them properly fitted and prescribed, even if you have perfect eyesight and don’t need corrective eyewear.

Contact lenses — including special-effect lenses — are not a “one size fits all.” A poor lens fit can lead to eye infection, corneal ulcer, decreased vision and even blindness.

Circle Contact Lenses

Girl with pink hair wearing circle lenses and an anime costume.
Many companies sell circle contact lenses illegally, which increases the risk of eye health complications.

Circle lenses are a relatively recent phenomenon. Also called “big eye” lenses, they make your eyes look larger than normal to produce a doll-like appearance, inspired by doe-eyed anime cartoon characters.

Issues concerning the safety of circle lenses have been well-documented in the U.S. media in recent years.

Many companies selling circle lenses in the U.S. do so illegally, either without requesting a prescription or selling unapproved lenses — or both.

To help avoid the risk of developing a serious lens-related eye infection, always ensure you are buying contact lenses from a legitimate source.

Where To Buy Theatrical And Special Effects Contacts

By law, your eye doctor must give you a copy of your contact lens prescription if you request it, which means you have the option of buying contact lenses from any eye care professional (ECP), optical chains and legitimate online retailers.

The cost of contact lenses with special-effect designs is comparable to that of more conventional color contact lenses designed to enhance or change your eye color.

Custom hand-painted designs, however, can cost significantly more.

To ensure a safe wearing experience, always buy your special-effect contact lenses from an authorized source.

Never buy special-effect contacts at any store that doesn’t ask you for a valid contact lens prescription.

Don’t buy contact lenses from a flea market, street vendor, beauty salon, Halloween store or similar setting. Such sales are illegal in the U.S., and for good reasons:

  • You might be getting unsafe products that are not FDA-approved for sale in the U.S. Don’t risk your eyes on products that may have been manufactured improperly or don’t have sterile packaging.
  • Even wearing FDA-approved lenses can be dangerous, if they haven’t been specifically fitted to your eyes. Poor-fitting contact lenses can cause serious vision problems, corneal abrasions and infections. Plus, they probably won’t be comfortable to wear!

Watch this video by the FDA on improper use of decorative contact lenses.

According to a 2015 consumer survey sponsored by the American Optometric Association (AOA), 26 percent of Americans who purchased non-corrective color or special-effect contact lenses did not have a valid prescription for the lenses from an eye doctor.

Also, a study published recently in the professional journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science found that people wearing cosmetic contact lenses (defined as decorative, color and non-corrective lenses, often obtained without a prescription) had more than a 16 times greater risk of developing an eye infection than people wearing standard corrective contact lenses prescribed by an eye doctor.

Safety Checklist

  1. Visit your eye doctor for a contact lens exam, fitting and prescription (regardless of whether you need vision correction).
  2. Buy contact lenses from a licensed ECP or an eyewear retailer that requires you to have a prescription. Never buy contact lenses from an unlicensed source that doesn’t require a prescription. Doing so greatly increases your risk of serious eye problems.
  3. Always follow your ECP’s instructions for wearing and caring for your contact lenses, and visit your eye doctor for follow-up eye exams.
  4. Never share your contact lenses! While it may seem like a fun idea to swap special-effect lenses with your friends, sharing contacts can spread harmful bacteria and may result in serious eye health problems, including loss of vision.
  5. Keep in mind that “crazy” contact lenses generally are designed for daily wear only and are not FDA-approved to be worn overnight.
  6. If you experience any eye redness, swelling or discomfort, immediately remove your contact lenses and contact your eye doctor as soon as possible. This could be the sign of a potentially sight-threatening eye infection.
  7. Wear only hypoallergenic, non-toxic makeup. If makeup is used on a child’s face, it should be applied and removed by an adult. For removal, use eye makeup remover or cold cream, not soap.
  8. Be aware that false eyelashes also can cause eye irritation. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding safe application and removal. And read our safety information on eyelash extensions if you’re considering those, because they too can irritate eyes.

Protect Yourself And Others From Illegal Contact Lenses

Decorative contact lenses sold without a prescription at convenience stores, flea markets and online can cause serious eye infections, impaired vision and even blindness.

In October 2016, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced that ICE, the FDA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) combined efforts to make several hundred seizures totaling around 100,000 pairs of counterfeit, illegal and unapproved contact lenses. The enforcement actions were conducted under the FDA-led initiative dubbed Operation Double Vision, which is an ongoing effort to protect the health and safety of the American public from illegal contact lenses.

Testing of confiscated illegal lenses revealed many had high levels of bacteria that could cause significant eye infections. Also, the coloring of some decorative contact lenses were made of lead-based materials that could leach directly into the eye.

The agency urged consumers that anyone interested in wearing any type of contact lenses should visit an eye doctor, obtain a prescription and purchase them from a licensed provider.

“A valid prescription helps ensure consumers get contact lenses that are determined to be safe and effective by the FDA. Without it, people can risk serious eye injuries or loss of eyesight for one night of fun,” said George M. Karavetsos, Director, FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations in the ICE press release.

To protect yourself and others, if you see Halloween contacts or other contact lenses being sold without a prescription online or elsewhere, report it to the FDA 

Common Eye Injuries and How to Handle Them

Some common eye injuries, such as deep puncture wounds from accidents, could require immediate treatment or surgery to prevent permanent eye damage resulting in vision loss. If you’re worried that you have injured your eye, visit an eye doctor near you.

Minor surface scratches, on the other hand, may need only simple monitoring after an initial visit to the eye doctor to make sure complications such as eye infections don’t occur.

This guide to common eye injuries can help you determine your next step following an accident, especially if you are in an emergency situation. Remember also that common sense safety precautions such as wearing safety goggles or glasses may be your best approach to preventing eye injuries altogether and maintaining healthy vision for a lifetime.

Common conditions associated with eye injury and trauma include:

Scratched Eye (Corneal Abrasion)

Corneal laceration
Eye lacerations usually require emergency care. Don’t hesitate to visit an eye doctor immediately.

Scratched Eye

Common causes of abrasions to the eye’s surface (corneal abrasions) are getting poked in the eye or rubbing the eye when a foreign body is present, such as dust or sand. Corneal abrasions are very uncomfortable and cause eye redness and severe sensitivity to light.

If you know something has scratched your eye, it’s very important to see your eye doctor or an emergency room/urgent care center to seek treatment for your eye injury.

Scratches also can make your eye susceptible to infection from bacteria or a fungus. Certain types of bacteria and fungi can enter the eye through a scratch and cause serious harm in as little as 24 hours. Even blindness can result. This is especially true if whatever scratched your eye is dirty or contaminated.

Remember also that infections from eye injuries such as scratches can originate from unexpected sources such as a baby’s fingernails or tree branches.

If you have a scratched eye, don’t rub it. And don’t patch your eye, either. Bacteria like dark, warm places to grow, and a patch might provide the ideal environment. Simply keep the eye closed or loosely tape a paper cup or eye shield over it. See your doctor as soon as possible to check out this type of eye injury.

 

Penetrating Or Foreign Objects In The Eye

If a foreign object such as metal or a fish hook penetrates your eye, visit the emergency room/urgent care center right away. You could cause even more injury to your eye if you attempt to remove the object yourself or if you rub your eye.

If possible, try loosely taping a paper cup or eye shield over your eye for protection; then seek help.

Your eye also may have corneal foreign bodies that are small, sharp pieces of a substance (usually metal) that have become embedded in the eye’s surface (cornea), but have not penetrated into the interior of the eye.

Metal foreign bodies can quickly form a rust ring and a significant scar. Your eye doctor should remove these foreign bodies as soon as possible.

Caustic Foreign Substance In The Eye (Chemical Burn)

Getting unexpectedly splashed or sprayed in the eye by substances other than clean, harmless water can be scary. Some substances burn or sting but are fairly harmless in the long run, while others can cause serious injury. The basic makeup of the chemical involved can make a lot of difference, such as:

Good, Clean Fun? Not Really

Kids at a foam party

If you or your kids enjoy foam parties, we’re going to have to burst your bubble: After a 2012 foam party held in Florida, at least 56 of the 350 attendees suffered injuries to the eyes and skin.

Eye injury symptoms included irritation, severe pain, pinkness/redness, decreased visual acuity, conjunctivitis, light sensitivity, drainage, abnormal pH, eye surface abrasions, tearing, blurry vision, watery discharge and foreign body sensation.

  • Acid. As a general rule, acids can cause considerable redness and burning but can be washed out fairly easily.
  • Alkali. Substances or chemicals that are basic (alkali) are much more serious but may not seem so because they don’t cause as much immediate eye pain or redness as acids. Some examples of alkali substances are oven cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and even chalk dust.

Chemical exposures and burns are usually caused by a splash of liquid getting in your eye. But they can be caused in other ways as well, such as by rubbing your eyes and transferring a chemical from your hands to your eyes or by getting sprayed in the eye by hair spray or other aerosols.

If you’re splashed in the eye, put your head under a steady stream of barely warm tap water for about 15 minutes. Just let it run into your eye and down your face.

Then call your eye doctor or an emergency room/urgent care center to see what is recommended for your eye injury. Tell the person on the phone exactly what kind of substance got into your eye and what you’ve done about it so far.

If you know your eye is at risk because it’s extraordinarily red or blurry, then just go immediately to your eye doctor or an emergency room or urgent care center after you’ve rinsed it with water. You can put a cool, moist compress or an ice pack on your eye, but don’t rub it.

Depending on the substance, the effects of chemical exposures causing eye injuries can range from minor irritation and red eyes to serious eye damage and even blindness.

Black eye
Black eyes are common eye injuries and often can be treated with an ice pack to reduce swelling.

Eye Swelling

Eye swelling and puffy, swollen eyelids can result from being struck in the eye such as from a baseball moving at a high speed.

The best immediate treatment for this type of eye injury is an ice pack.

You may have a simple black eye (bruising around the eye), but you should see an eye doctor to make sure there’s no internal damage.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhages (Eye Bleeding)

This eye injury usually looks worse than it really is. A subconjunctival hemorrhage involves leakage of blood from one or more breaks in a blood vessel that lies between the white of the eye (sclera) and its clear covering (conjunctiva).

Subconjunctival hemorrhages are quite common and can occur from even minor injury to the eye. They may be limited to a small sector of the eye, or they can extend over the entire eye, making the white sclera appear bright red.

A subconjunctival hemorrhage is painless and does not cause temporary or permanent vision loss. No treatment is required. Over the course of several weeks, the blood will clear and the eye will return to a normal appearance.

Traumatic Iritis

Traumatic iritis is inflammation of the colored part of the eye that surrounds the pupil (iris) and occurs after an eye injury. Traumatic iritis can be caused by a poke in the eye or a blow to the eye from a blunt object, such as a ball or a hand.

Traumatic iritis usually requires treatment. Even with medical treatment, there is a risk of permanent decreased vision.

Hyphemas And Orbital Blowout Fractures

A hyphema (high-FEE-mah) is bleeding in the anterior chamber of the eye, the space between the cornea and the iris. Orbital blowout fractures are cracks or breaks in the facial bones surrounding the eye.

Hyphemas and blowout fractures are serious eye injuries and medical emergencies. They are caused by significant blunt force trauma to the eye and face, such as getting hit by a bat, baseball, hockey stick or puck, or getting kicked in the face.

Steps To Take In Case Of Eye Injury

If you have any eye injury, contact your eye care practitioner immediately for advice.

For any eye injury, call your eye doctor immediately for advice. Most eye doctors have emergency contact numbers for nights and weekends.

Most eye doctors have emergency contact numbers for injuries that occur after normal business hours or on weekends.

In certain extreme situations such as a penetrating eye injury or an eye knocked out of the socket, it may be better to get to the hospital immediately without taking the time to try calling anyone.

Once you are in the care of a doctor, be sure to mention if you wear contact lenses so you can be advised whether to leave them in or remove them.

Depending on the type of eye injury, the doctor may want you to flush your eye with water or saline solution. In more serious situations, you may need surgery.

Treat all eye injuries as potential emergencies, and never hesitate to contact or see an eye doctor immediately. Don’t take risks with your eyesight. Remember, you have only one pair of eyes.

Eye Injury News

Man with a stye.
Styes don’t normally require immediate care, yet some people would visit an emergency room for such a condition. If you have an untreated eye condition or even a mild eye injury, call your eye doctor right away. It may save you from having to spend several hours in a hospital waiting room.

Nearly Half Of All Eye Problems Seen At U.S. Emergency Departments Don’t Require Immediate Medical Attention

February 2016 — It’s usually better to be safe than sorry when you get injured, but when it comes to common eye injuries and conditions, many people may be a little too cautious.

That’s the conclusion of investigators at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Howard University Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, whose research was published online in January by JAMA Ophthalmology.

The researchers set out to determine the causes of visits to hospital emergency departments across the country for eye-related problems, to help policymakers allocate resources more effectively.

Cosmetic Facial Filler Injections Can Cause Severe Vision Loss, Studies Find

Injections of facial fillers to remove wrinkles between the eyebrows and from other areas of the face can cause severe visual side effects in some cases, according to two recent studies.

Woman receiving facial filler injection near her eye.

In both studies, published in 2014, researchers in South Korea evaluated vision problems occurring after these cosmetic procedures.

Facial filler injections often are used to remove wrinkles from the glabella (area between the eyebrows) and/or the nasolabial folds (skin folds on each side of the nose that separate the cheeks from the upper lip — where “smile lines” or “laugh lines” occur).

Both studies revealed that use of cosmetic facial filler injections can sometimes cause painful blindness due to blockage of arteries that nourish the retina (for example, central retinal artery occlusion or branch retinal artery occlusion; sometimes called “eye occlusions“). In some cases, retinal artery occlusion following these injections can be accompanied by brain infarction (stroke).

Patients injected with autologous fat (fat obtained from a different location on the same person’s body) had worse visual outcomes and greater risk of stroke than those who were injected with hyaluronic acid or collagen. (Hyaluronic acid is a viscous fluid naturally present in the human body, particularly in the eyes and joints. Collagen is protein found in connective tissue throughout the body, including in the cornea.)

The study authors concluded that cosmetic filler injections between the eyebrows and for “smile lines” can sometimes cause painful blindness or even stroke, especially when autologous fat is used.

People who experience eye pain after cosmetic facial filler injections should undergo a dilated eye exam and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), they said.

They added that caution should be used during cosmetic facial filler injections, and physicians should be aware of various possible complications afterward. — G.H.

Fall Fashion

Predicting the unpredictable – How to find your fall fashion groove

Fall weather usually is so unpredictable. It can be breezy cool in the morning and Miami hot by afternoon. Or it can be freezing. You just never know. Accordingly, fall fashion often is a matter of mixing, matching and melding layers of varying styles that can be peeled off or added according to the sometimes–crazy fluctuating temperature.

So, as the weather takes on a chillier edge this fall, you’ll find today’s consumers expressing their unique styles, combining fashions that are old (think ’60s and ’70s) with the latest trends, nubby sweaters that are big, with knit pencil skirts that are little, plain comfortable sneakers with alpaca wool socks, worn denim jackets with flowing velvet dresses, overalls (yep, channel the farmer in you) with high–heels.

The key to dressing confidently in the fall is to combine your favorite elements from various styles and layer contrasting textures. For example, Western wear and cowboy boots are popular, but you don’t want to dress from head to toe in denim unless you’re actually going to a rodeo. Instead, pair a denim jacket with a pencil skirt and heels or a little ’60s print dress (think Mad Men) and hiking boots, yes, hiking boots. And don’t forget that ’70s ski lodge look – think Fair Isle sweaters and oversized cardigans for men and women.

“Hiking boots are going to be a thing,” predicts Lucky magazine style editor Laurel Pantin. “A solid leather pair of hiking boots is something I’m personally on the hunt for – solid leather, with a ’70s shape, rounded on the front. I like when the trend is something you can buy the authentic version of – when it’s snowy and nasty, and they’re built for that.”

How about those shoes

Comfortable footwear is a wardrobe staple for people on the move, and no–frills ballet flats and sneakers will be more popular than ever this fall. Zappos, the mega online shoe retailer, offers nearly 4,000 different styles of sneakers, ranging from $1,800 designer styles (wedges, slip–ons, high–tops, glitzy) to $20 plain–Janes.

The Converse Chuck Taylors still are the bestseller for men and women at $45. Not that long ago, ballet flats were worn primarily with tutus when practicing pirouettes, but it now seems that every woman has at least one pair. If you must have a pair (and you must), Zappos offers nearly 1,000 styles to choose from (ranging from $30 to $900).

The need for comfort is reflected in jeans sales as well. Sales of skinny jeans (a style that really seems to look best on emaciated teens) are down, while sales of the easy–to–wear boyfriend jeans are up. Choose a pair that has some wear (and perhaps a tear or two), roll up the cuffs and dress them up with heels or ankle boots, or dress down with ballet flats, sneakers or hiking boots.

For the ultimate in denim comfort, try on a pair of overalls. Trend setting magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Elle all spotlighted the denim duds formerly featured only on farmers. For fall, layer with a sporty jacket (not denim) or nubby sweater and scarf.

Now you see me…

What better way to add to your fall fashion ensemble than with a cool pair of shades. Today, eyewear is becoming a style accessory of choice – a compelling statement maker and fashion staple that helps express individuality.

The offerings this fall are vast. You’ll find eyewear all across the SPECtrum – from classic frames in warm fall colors such as tortoise, burnt orange and fiery red, to oversized geometric shapes in vibrant hues.

Similar to mainstream fashion, this fall’s eyewear trends borrow from the ’60s, fusing classic silhouettes with modern patterns, colorations, and details to create a sporty chic look and immediate panache.

If you need some guidance when shopping for your fall wardrobe, remember the advice of the iconic 1940s era movie star Joan Crawford:

  • Find your own style, and have the courage to stick to it.
  • Choose your clothes for your way of life.
  • Make your wardrobe as versatile as an actress. It should be able to play many roles.
  • Find your happiest colors – the ones that make you feel good.
  • Care for your clothes, like the good friends they are.

Balancing Life and Work

At one time or another, nearly everyone struggles to balance the demands of work and family. Work isn’t necessarily associated with a career – it can be volunteer work, or tasks associated with a hobby or passion. And family can be a spouse, siblings, a much–loved pet or an aging parent.

So, it goes without saying that nearly everyone – including stay–at–home moms and professionals with no children – experiences the frustration and ensuing stress of being tugged at from different directions and feeling like there’s just not enough time in the day.

What’s even more complicated is that these feelings of anxiety, frustration or hopelessness often multiply, says life coach and intuitive teacher Amy Piper.

“Stress is not only created by a response to an external situation or event – a lot of daily stress is created by ongoing attitudes or recurring feelings of agitation, worry, anxiety, anger, judgments, resentment, insecurities and self–doubt,” Piper says. “These emotions are known to drain our emotional energy while we are engaging in everyday life. This leads to more fatigue and an endless cycle of negative emotions.

Piper says that finding balance starts with defining your identity and recognizing your personal mission in life. It means knowing who you are and what matters most, so that you honor your priorities in the way you want and need to honor them rather than adhering to society’s or someone else’s expectations.

“When your mind and emotions are balanced – when you are in heart coherence – your physical systems function more efficiently, resulting in emotional stability, mental clarity and improved cognitive function,” she says.

Here are a few tips Piper says can help balance out your world:

  1. Clearly define who you are and what’s important, and prioritize accordingly. Start the day with a list of priorities that are intimately related to the larger goals of your work, and then give yourself a 6 p.m. deadline to complete them. In the meantime, commit to the larger values in your life – relationships, exercise, spirituality and fun – in a concrete way by putting those activities on your calendar.
  2. Establish routines and habits that support the goals you deem important. Habits (good and bad) become the cornerstones of your lifestyle over time. For example, if long–term health and vitality are important to you, incorporate walking into your daily routine, and plan family time that’s activity–centered. The steps add up over the weeks and years, and can make a huge difference. And don’t forget your vision. Remember to protect your eyes from the sun, take breaks from your electronic devices and schedule regular eye exams.
  3. Eliminate or reduce time suckers (activities or people) that don’t add value to your life and support your long–term goals or mission. You need to know how to recognize and hold honest boundaries in relationships, remaining true to your own needs while being connected to other people.
  4. Delegate tasks that are not important to your goals. This means you must recognize that some things just don’t matter – being an awesome cupcake baker is not essential to being a loving mother. Hire someone else to bake your cupcakes or turn the baking experience into a project you can enjoy with your child.
  5. Be present and experience the fullness of the moment. If you’re off the clock, unplug from work, set your phone aside and immerse yourself in the present situation and company without burdening yourself with guilt, frustration or anxiety. Engage in authentic conversations with your family members and enjoy their company without being distracted or otherwise preoccupied.

Learn to recognize when imbalance is creating stress and be deliberate about honoring your priorities. You’ll be happier and healthier – mentally, spiritually and physically.

Important Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

Whether you’re new to contact lenses, or you’ve been wearing them for years, it’s important to put the following tips into practice.

Putting in and Removing Your Contact Lenses

First, wash and dry your hands thoroughly.

Whatever is on your hands when you touch your contact lenses could end up in your eyes. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly wash your hands with antimicrobial soap. Then dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel before handling your contact lenses.

Also, avoid using cream or oil-based soaps and lotions before touching your contacts, as these can contaminate your lenses or leave an oily film.

Always start with the same eye for contact lens insertion.

When inserting your contacts, start with the same eye every time. You’ll be less likely to switch the lenses by mistake. That’s especially important because your left and right contact lenses can have different prescriptions.

Place your contact lens in your palm.

Hold your contact lens by putting it in the palm of your hand. Pinching the lens between your fingers increases the chance you’ll nick it with your fingernail. Fingernails can harm the surface of the lens, and are also a rich source of bacteria.

Remove Your Contacts if You Experience Pain or Discomfort

If your contact lenses start to hurt or feel uncomfortable, or if people comment on the redness of your eyes, remove your lenses. Then check them for cracks or scratches, and discard any damaged lenses.

If pain or discomfort happen repeatedly when wearing your contact lenses, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We can help diagnose the problem and make sure you have the right lenses for you. In the meantime, it may be best to wear your eyeglasses instead.

Stock up on contact lens solution

Unless you wear daily disposable contact lenses, it’s a hassle to discover you’re out of lens cleaning solution at the end of a long day. Having contact lens solution on hand is especially important because you should use fresh cleaning solution each time you touch and store your contact lenses. Never use tap water to clean your contacts. It can contain impurities and infectious microorganisms.

Keep Your Glasses With You

Having your glasses available, especially during vacations, will come in handy. For example, many contact lens wearers prefer their glasses first thing in the morning before they head out for the day. And if debris or another irritant makes your lenses uncomfortable during the day, you’ll be glad you kept a pair of glasses with you.

Always Wear Sunglasses, Even With UV-protective Contacts

Even UV-protective contact lenses don’t block all of the UV rays that harm your eyes. Wearing UV-protective sunglasses will help reduce the strain and harm to your eyes and vision. Be sure to tell us about the kinds of outdoor activities you do so we can help assess your exposure risk and recommend the right protection for you.

Only Buy Contact Lenses From Legitimate Sources–and With a Valid Prescription

Any contacts you buy need to be prescribed by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist–even lenses without vision correction, such as color contacts or decorative contacts worn for Halloween. In fact, in the U.S., you cannot buy contact lenses without a valid prescription. That’s because contact lenses are considered medical devices. And only a licensed eye care professional can ensure your contacts are medically safe and properly fitted for you.

Remember, taking care of your contacts is essential to taking care of your vision and your eye health.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment to see if contact lenses are right for you, or if you have questions about your current contacts or are experiencing any wearing problems, please give us a call.

The Benefits of Daily Contact Lenses

When we conduct a contact lens evaluation and fitting in our office, your personal preferences and routines help determine which lens replacement schedule we recommend. The most common replacement schedules are every day, every two weeks, or every month. Each schedule has its strong points.

The benefits of daily lenses are:

  • You never have to clean them. No nightly cleaning routine. No parade of lens solution bottles. At the end of a long day, just toss the lenses out and go to bed.
  • An easy–to–remember wear and replacement schedule. No more calendar reminders to replace your contacts. You start every morning with a fresh pair.
  • They may help with eye allergies and protein build–up. With less time for allergens and protein deposits to build up, daily contacts give these irritants less of a chance to cause eye discomfort or other problems. Also, a fresh, smooth lens surface every day is gentler on irritated eyes.
  • A great fit for teenagers. Between school, sports, and social lives, teenagers are apt to forget or ignore cleaning and changing their contacts. And that can lead to problems like lenses that irritate the eyes and eye infections. Dailies make cleaning unnecessary and changing lenses a breeze.

Greater Convenience Also Means You Might Need To Buy More Lenses

Because you use daily lenses only for a day and then throw them away, if you wear your lenses every day, you’ll need to buy more lenses than you would if you used lenses with a two–week or monthly replacement schedule. (Some patients alternate between wearing daily contact lenses and eyeglasses, so their lens supply lasts longer.)

During your appointment, we’ll examine your eyes to find the right contact lens prescription and replacement schedule for you and your needs. If you’d like to find out if daily contact lenses are right for you, give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please contact our office.

Polarizing Lenses – The ABCs

Polarized lenses are used in sunglasses to reduce glare from reflective surfaces such as the surface of a lake or the hood of a car. They accomplish this feat through a process called polarization, much like a Venetian blind controls the amount of light entering a room through a window.

“Polarization” refers to the fact that reflected light rays (glare) are oriented in a plane that is parallel to the surface off which they are reflected. Sunlight itself is not polarized but glare created when sunlight bounces off a highly reflective surface is polarized.

Since there are many more horizontal glare-producing surfaces in the world around us, most glare we encounter will be horizontally polarized. A polarized lens has a laminated surface containing invisible vertical “stripes”. These invisible stripes act like a vertical grating and block horizontally-polarized light from passing through the lens. The illustration below explains how lens orientation affects the transmission of polarized light.

The bulb produces light that is not polarized. The polarizer lens here transmits only vertically-polarized light. The analyzer lens lets the light pass when the “stripes” are vertical but blocks the light when the stripes are horizontal.

If a wearer of polarized sunglasses tilts their head left or right while looking at a source of polarized light (glare off a lake or chrome car bumper), the same effect is seen.

For outdoor use, polarized lenses are an excellent choice. Fishermen and boaters in particular benefit from polarized lenses because they deal almost exclusively with horizontal-surface glare. Fishermen or boaters wearing polarized sunglasses can more easily see below the surface of the water to spot fish or submerged obstacles. Some experts feel that polarized sunglasses are also a good choice for snow skiers but other experts disagree. Polarized sunglasses do cut the polarized glare coming off the surface of snow but they also tend to reduce contrast and make icy patches or bumps (moguls) harder to see. Yellow or amber lenses actually increase contrast and are generally regarded as a better option for snow skiers.

There are some limitations to the use of polarized lenses. In laptop computers, the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) uses polarized light to control both brightness and color. Since they block transmission of some polarized light, polarized lenses can cause distortions when viewing the laptop screen. LCDs are also used in automobiles so clocks and other instrument displays may become temporarily unreadable.

Dry Eye Syndrome: 
Symptoms and Treatment

dry eyes syndromeDry eye syndrome is a common condition that we see most often in older adults. We call it “keratoconjunctivitis sicca.” You can call it DES, or simply dry eye.

For millions of people, dry eye is a condition in which the eyes don’t produce enough tears to adequately lubricate and nourish the surface of the eye (the cornea) and surrounding tissues. Dry eyes can also be caused because the eyes produce poor quality tears that can’t do the job they were intended for.

Why Your Tears are Important?
Tear production directly impacts the health and comfort of your eyes. Your tear glands constantly produce small amounts of tears, creating a smooth surface over the cornea. This constant lubrication is essential so your eyelids can open and close over your eyes without causing irritation or soreness.

Your tears also:

  • Reduce the risk of an eye infection
  • Wash away dirt and debris in your eyes
  • Keep the surface of your eyes smooth and clear

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome
Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:

  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Redness (“bloodshot eyes”)
  • An increased sensitivity to light

dry eyes computer useIf you think, “Hey, that’s how I felt last week,” think back to what you were doing. We’ve all had red, dry eyes at some point. Were you in a hot, windy environment? Working in an office with air constantly blowing onto your face? Or spending too much time staring at a computer, cellphone or TV screen?

A constant breeze can dry out your eyes. And staring intently at digital displays of a TV screen can cause you to not blink as often as you should; when that happens, your eyes don’t get the moisture they need.

If you weren’t trekking across the Sahara Desert (or watching a long movie about it on TV), and you’ve noticed that your eyes feel dry more often than they used to, please let us know. We can schedule an appointment to help determine if you have dry eye and what treatment options are right for you.

Treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome
While common, dry eye syndrome isn’t something you’ll simply “get over,” like the common cold. Instead, we can prescribe one or more treatments for you to help alleviate the symptoms.

Treatments may include:

  • Applying eye drops. If your eyes are chronically dry, then applying moisture by using artificial tears throughout your day may help. Splashing water in your face won’t do the trick. That’s because your tears are more than just water. They also contain other ingredients that help fight infection and lubricate the eye to keep it moist.
  • Ointments and other medications. If you need a little help getting those tears to start flowing, we may be able to prescribe medication to help.
  • Conserving your natural tears. To keep natural tears in your eyes longer, the small ducts that allow tears to drain can be blocked with tiny silicone or gel–like plugs that can later be removed, if needed. A surgical procedure is also available to permanently close the tear ducts.

If you’re concerned about dry eye, or think you or a loved one may have the condition, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help!

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please contact our office.

Glaucoma Test – No Air Puff

We have a new glaucoma (eye pressure) test that is considered much more accurate than the “air puff test”.  There is no sensation, no eye drops, AND it can be used over soft contact lenses.  Now everyone can experience no fear about getting the eye pressure test!