Patient Spotlight

Information, education, recognition: everything about the contact lens and vision industry as it relates to patients.

Diabetic Eye Conditions

Posted by CooperVision on Friday, November 16, 2012

November is American Diabetes Month. A lot of diabetic eye conditions do not have early warning signs, so it helps to be aware of what can affect a diabetic patient. However, with early detection and treatment with an eye doctor, diabetic eye patients can control diabetic eye disease. But what eye conditions can affect diabetic patients? Here is a helpful list that patients can look over and discuss with their eye doctor:

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some patients with diabetic retinopathy, retinal blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In others, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. Both can lead to vision loss or blindness.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of vision. It is sometimes referred to as the "sneak thief of sight" as there are generally no symptoms or warning signals in the early stages of the disease. Annual eye exams are important for adults as they may help detect diseases such as glaucoma and diabetes in the early stages.

Cataracts

A cataract is when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. It typically occurs in aging patients, but cataracts can occur in patients after an eye trauma, eye surgery, or even exposure to some types of radiation. One of the major risk factors is diabetes. Diabetic patients should have an eye exam by an eye doctor if they have symptoms like cloudy or blurry vision, colors that look dull, double vision, glare, or poor night vision.

Why Replacement Schedules Are Important

Posted by CooperVision on Thursday, November 15, 2012

How often do you replace your contact lenses? Your replacement schedule is the length of time your contact lenses can be worn before they need to be replaced with new lenses. Do you know what replacement schedule your eye doctor recommended for you? Typically an eye doctor prescribes a specific contact lens replacement schedule based on lifestyle and vision correction needs. As we have written about in a previous post, there are different replacement schedule options that you can discuss with your eye doctor.

However, no matter that your replacement schedule is, it is important for you to be consistent about replacing your contact lenses. Some of the benefits of being compliant with your replacement schedule include:

  • Comfort: Compliance with a replacement schedule, regardless of modality, is associated with better comfort and vision at the end of the day and at the end of the wear cycle. When you replace your contact lens according to its replacement schedule, you are less likely to encounter discomfort due to build up from lipids, proteins, and microorganisms.
  • Lowers Infection Risks: Poor contact lens hygiene, including not being compliant about contact lens replacement may contribute to infections such as microbial keratitis
  • Better Vision: If a patient sticks to a regular contact lens replacement schedule, there is less likelihood of contact lens build up which can affect visual acuity.

No matter what your replacement schedule is, always follow it to keep your eyes healthy, unless otherwise directed by your eye care practitioner.

Vision and Night Driving

Posted by CooperVision on Wednesday, November 14, 2012

As the days get shorter during these winter months, eye care patients will have to drive in the dark earlier. Driving at night can be a challenge because the human eye’s field of vision is much smaller without the help of natural light. There are also patients such as older patients, patients with dry eye, and patients who have higher order aberrations (optical imperfections that can’t be corrected with contact lenses or glasses) that may have a more challenging time driving when it is dark out. Here are a few important things that patients should know about their vision and night driving:

  • Make Sure Your Prescription Is Up to Date: One way motorists can overcome visual challenges while driving at night safely is making sure their prescription is current. Getting regular eye exams is one way to ensure that. An eye doctor can also check and let patients know if fading night vision could be a problem.
  • Older Patients Should Get Tested More Often: Older patients may struggle to focus on the road at night, where lighting is poor and more complex visual tasks are required. There are also eye conditions that can cause vision loss as patients age. These conditions include: cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. By getting regular eye exams, older patients can check with their eye doctor about the risks of driving at night.
  • Be Prepared: Before patients go for a drive, it can help to check and see if the windshield and mirrors are clear of any debris.
  • Talk To Your Eye Doctor: If a patient notices that his or her vision seems to be worse at night, talking to your eye doctor can help. An eye doctor can recommend tips and steps that a patient can take in order to stay safe on the road at night.

Diabetes and The Eye

Posted by CooperVision on Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Patients with diabetes have an increased risk for glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye problems. While people with diabetes do have a higher risk of blindness than people without diabetes, most patients who have diabetes have nothing more than minor eye conditions. With regular checkups, patients can work with their eye doctor to keep their eyes healthy. And if diabetic patients develop a major problem, there are treatments that often work well if you begin them right away. Here are some tips for patients to keep their eyes healthy:

Get Regular Eye Exams: Diabetic patients should get an annual eye exam by an eye doctor. Patients can even find eye doctors who specifically treat diabetic patients. Eye exams may include dilating the eye so that the eye doctor can see the blood vessels in the entire retina. This will allow an eye doctor to see if there is diabetic retinopathy, a condition where diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina.

Work With A Doctor To Control Blood Sugar: Patients who work with their doctor to control blood sugar levels may lower their risk of having eye problems. According to the American Diabetes Association, having high blood sugar can make your vision blurry temporarily.

Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure: High blood pressure can make eye problems worse.

Quit Smoking: Patients can ask their physician for help if they need it.

Know When To Call An Eye Doctor: If patients have any issues like blurry vision, trouble reading, seeing double, eye pressure, or any other vision problems, they should make sure to see an eye doctor immediately.

What Are My Contact Lens Storage Options?

Posted by CooperVision on Friday, October 19, 2012

Contact lens wearers have more options than ever when it comes to contact lens storage. Patients who prefer a low maintenance routine may want to consider an option like daily disposable contact lenses. Daily disposable contact lenses like CooperVision’s Proclear 1 Day, are contact lenses that don’t require much contact lens maintenance. Patients can simply open a fresh package every day and wear their lenses. Once they are done wearing them for the day, patients simply need to throw the contact lenses away. There is no need for a contact lens case.

For any other contact lens, a contact lens case is necessary for storage. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your contact lens case in tip top shape:

  • Rinse your case with an approved disinfecting solution. Air dry face down to prevent the accumulation of lint or debris.
  • Replace your contact lens case every 3-6 months depending on your eye doctor’s recommendation.
  • Don’t use a cracked or damaged lens case.
  • If you are traveling, make sure to pack extra contact lens cases in case the one you are using gets lost or damaged.

Since contact lens storage needs vary based on factors such as replacement schedules, make sure to ask your eye doctor for the best way to store your contact lenses. If you don’t have an eye doctor, feel free to use our Eye Care Practitioner locator.

Halloween Safety Month

Posted by CooperVision on Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween is almost here, which means that scary costumes and candy are on the minds of many people. While all of this is a lot of fun, be sure to be safe especially with regards to your eyes. Here are some tips to help keep your eyes safe during Halloween:

Always Get Your Contact Lenses From An Eye Doctor

Decorative contact lenses may be tempting to don with a costume for Halloween, but remember to book an appointment with an eye doctor for any contact lenses. Since contact lenses are medical devices regulated by the Food & Drug Administration, obtaining contact lenses from a costume shop, beauty supply chain, or any place other than an eye doctor means that you are putting your eyes at risk for potentially blinding eye infections. Purchase the contact lenses from a licensed eye doctor. This ensures that the contact lenses you use are ordered from a licensed contact lens manufacturer and complies with all FDA regulations.

If blurred vision, redness, discomfort, swelling or discharge occurs, discontinue use of the contact lens immediately and see an eye doctor as soon as possible, as these may be signs of serious eye issues such as corneal abrasion, conjunctivitis, or corneal ulcer.

Avoid Pointed Objects as Costume Props

Costume props such as swords, spears, knives and wands may help make a Halloween costume more dramatic, but it can also be dangerous for your eyes. Should you get poked in the eye with a costume prop, make sure you see an eye doctor immediately.

Only Use FDA Approved Makeup Around the Eyes

Some costumes call for makeup around the eyes. Only use makeup that is approved for use around the eyes. Avoid using any makeup in the waterline (inner rim of the eye) and near the tear ducts. When removing makeup around the eyes, use an eye makeup remover instead of water and soap in order to avoid eye irritation. If the eye is red or irritated for a prolonged period of time, make sure to see an eye doctor.

Have a very safe and happy Halloween!

Ten Tips for Computer Vision Syndrome Relief

Posted by CooperVision on Wednesday, October 3, 2012

With new electronic devices like the iPhone 5, iPad, and others, there may be a rise in patients who suffer from computer vision syndrome. Computer vision syndrome is a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer use. Problems from computer vision syndrome can range from physical fatigue to eye twitching. If you think you are suffering from computer vision syndrome, it is important to see an eye doctor who can assess the best personalized treatment for you.

However, if you are like most people who work on electronic devices all day, there are things that you can do to prevent computer vision syndrome. Here are some tips that you can use:

  • See An Eye Doctor: The first step to preventing computer vision syndrome is seeing your eye doctor for an eye exam. It is one of the only ways to keep track of your eye health. Make sure to tell your eye doctor if you are a heavy user of electronic devices.
  • Embrace the 20/20/20 Rule: If you work on a computer at your desk, make sure to take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and shift your vision to something else 20 feet away.
  • Remember to Blink: When you work at a computer or on other electronic devices, you are less likely to blink. However, blinking is important because it keeps your eyes moist and prevents dry eye. So remember to blink when you are using electronic devices.
  • Take Mini Breaks: Most people only take two 15 minute breaks throughout the work day, but taking shorter more frequent breaks from working on electronic devices like computers are easier on your eyes. Make sure to get up, stretch, and move around during your breaks so that your eyes get a break from looking at a screen.
  • Check Your Monitor: According to the AOA, most people find it easier to view a computer screen at a downward angle. The AOA recommends that the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.
  • Check Your Lighting: Make sure to position your computer screen from overhead fluorescent lights in order to avoid glare. Using curtains on windows can also help prevent glare from outdoor light. Another good trick is to use floor lamps instead of overhead lighting in order to reduce glare.
  • Make Sure To Adjust Your Computer Display Settings: Tweaking the display settings of your computer can help you avoid straining your eyes. Adjust the brightness of your screen so that it matches the light around you. If your screen looks like a light source, it is too bright. If it looks dull or gray, it is too dark. Text size and contrast make a difference too. Typically, looking at dark letter against a light background is easier on the eyes.
  • Check Your Chair: Adjusting your seat can help prevent your eyes from getting too fatigued. Chairs should be comfortably padded and conform to the body. Your feet should rest flat on the floor, so you may need to adjust your chair height. Check your arm rests to ensure that they are providing support while you type.
  • Invest In a Document Holder: If you need to work with reference materials, make sure that you have a document holder that can tilt and display your materials at an angle in front of your computer screen. It should be placed below your monitor but above your key board.
  • Ask About Computer Eyewear: Your eye doctor may be able to prescribe computer eyewear that can help alleviate eye strain.

Contact Lens FAQS

Posted by CooperVision on Wednesday, September 26, 2012

If you are an eyecare patient interested in wearing contact lenses, you may have some questions that you will want to discuss with your eye doctor. Here is a list of commonly asked questions and answers that you can use to start a dialogue with your eye doctor about contact lenses:

  • What are contact lenses?: Contact lenses are a medical device and can be worn to correct vision. Contact lenses are also worn for cosmetic or therapeutic reasons. In the United States, all contact lenses require a prescription. They must be prescribed and properly fitted by an eye doctor such as an optometrist, ophthalmologist, or licensed optician.
  • How do I know if contact lenses are right for me?: Talking to your eye doctor will help. Your eye doctor can assess if contact lenses are a good option for you based on your prescription, your lifestyle, and other factors. There are a wide variety of contact lens options available to correct vision conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.
  • I don’t need contact lenses for vision correction, but I want to wear them for cosmetic reasons. Do I still need a prescription?: Yes, since contact lenses are a medical device, you will need to see your eye doctor to get a prescription for any type of contact lenses. You should not buy or wear cosmetic contact lenses without seeing an eye doctor first. Buying and wearing contact lenses without the guidance of an eye doctor or without a valid prescription can put you at risk for serious eye infections.
  • Where can I get contact lenses? You can purchase contact lenses from your eye doctor. If you need help locating an eye doctor, you can locate one with our Find A Practitioner locator here.

Contact Lens Options While On the Road

Posted by CooperVision on Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A common question that contact lens wearers may ask is: “I travel a lot, what contact lens options are right for me?” While the best resource for this question is your eye doctor, there are more options than ever for contact lens wearers who travel. Here is a rundown of contact lens options that travelers may want to consider discussing with their eye doctor:

  • Daily disposable contact lenses: daily disposable contact lenses like CooperVision’s Proclear 1 Day contact lenses are a convenient option for patients who travel. Daily disposable contact lenses require very little contact lens maintenance so that means patients won’t have to worry about travelling with bottles of contact lens solution or contact lens cases. Patients also get to wear a fresh contact lens every day of their trip. Just make sure to pack extra pairs just in case.
  • 2 week contact lenses: If you happen to already wear 2 week contact lenses like Avaira, then you may prefer to use the contact lenses that you have when you travel. But comfort is still important since you will be traveling in airplanes that can dry out your eyes, long car rides, etc. Avaira contact lenses are the only naturally wettable two-week silicone hydrogel contact lenses. Made from a unique material that attracts and binds water to the lens, Avaira lenses stay moist and comfortable without surface treatments or wetting agents that can wash off as you clean your contacts. Ask your doctor about Avaira if you are interested in wearing 2 week contact lenses.
  • Monthly contact lenses: Some monthly contact lenses that have extended wear approval may be ideal for patients who need to travel because it is convenient to continuously wear contact lenses while you are travelling. CooperVision’s Biofinity contact lenses are FDA approved for extended wear for up to 7 days and 6 nights. Make sure to ask your eye doctor about extended wear if you want to travel with monthly contact lenses.

No matter what contact lens you decide to use while you are travelling, it helps to talk about a contact lens care and replacement schedules with your eye doctor. If you don’t have an eye doctor, you can find one using our Practitioner Locator.

Eye Safety At Home

Posted by CooperVision on Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September is Home Eye Safety Awareness Month. Prevent Blindness America has declared this as a month to make people aware of the dangers around the home that can damage the precious gift of sight. According to Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America, it only takes a moment to lose your eyesight in an accident at home: “All too often, when we’re working around the house and doing chores that we've done a thousand times before without incident, we forget about the risks we take by not protecting our eyes. But all it takes is one split-second accident that could damage your vision for a lifetime."

90% of eye injuries are preventable by wearing the proper eye protection. The AAO and the American Society of Ocular Trauma (ASOT) recommends that every home have at least one pair of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved eyewear in order to prevent eye injuries around the house. The eyewear should have the "Z-87" logo stamped on the frames and can be found at hardware stores and home building centers.

Protective eyewear should be used for tasks such as using power tools, rotary mowers, line lawn trimmers, or hammering on metal, and when using any chemical. Wearing protective eyewear especially during yard and garden work is critical because 40% of all eye injuries sustained at home happen during these chores. Even if you do wear eye protection during such tasks, make sure to be mindful of passersby such as small children. If they approach you, shut off all power tools.

If you, or a loved one does suffer an eye injury at home, make sure to talk to an eye doctor immediately.

About On Eye

On Eye is the contact lens blog from CooperVision. On this site, you will find insights about fitting, technology, and the business of contact lenses. The On Eye blog is designed to meet the needs of both Eye Care Practitioners and consumers. ECP and medical professional-specific portions of the blog will be password protected in order to protect and reserve the privacy of the profession. To read more about our terms of use, please see the Legal tab.

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