Patient Spotlight

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

Children and Contact Lenses

Posted by CooperVision on Monday, August 6, 2012

When can a child safely wear contact lenses? This is a question that many parents may ask an eye doctor before school starts. The surprising answer is that physically, a child's eyes can tolerate contact lenses at a very young age. Even some infants are fitted with contact lenses due to congenital cataracts or other eye conditions present at birth. While this may be true, more than half (51%) of optometrists feel it is appropriate to introduce children to soft contact lenses between the ages of 10 and 12 years old, while nearly one in four (23%) feel 13-14 years old is a suitable age for a child to begin wearing contact lenses.

Exactly when a child patient is ready for contact lenses should be based on the patient’s maturity and ability to handle contact lenses responsibly. If a child is interested in wearing contact lenses, daily disposable contact lenses like Proclear 1 Day may be a great option. In a recent study that involved fitting myopic children of ages 8-11 with one-day disposable contact lenses, 90 percent of the kids had no trouble applying or removing the contacts without assistance from their parents.

Here are some indicators that parents can use to decide if their children are ready for contact lenses:

  • The child has consistent grooming habits and does not need to be reminded to perform tasks such as brushing their teeth.
  • The child is responsible and performs routine chores on his or her own.
  • The child follows through on schoolwork

While these are some possible signs that a child may be ready for contact lenses, the best way to decide if a child is ready is to discuss this option with the child along with an eye doctor. Click here for an eye doctor near you.

August Is Children's Vision and Learning Month

Posted by CooperVision on Friday, August 3, 2012

August is National Children's Vision & Learning Month. The goal of this national observance is to help educate parents and educators about the critical link between vision and learning.Vision problems are the 4th most prevalent class of disability in the United States and one of the most prevalent conditions in childhood. According to All About Vision, experts say that roughly 80 percent of what a child learns in school is information that is presented visually. Seeing is our dominant sense and our primary source for gathering information in learning. Vision problems can have a profound effect on how children learn. Many kids who are struggling in school may have vision problems that are not detected during a typical school vision screening.

Some of the vision conditions commonly found in children are:

  • Amblyopia:is the loss or lack of development of central vision in one eye that is unrelated to any eye health problem and is not correctable with lenses. It can result from a failure to use both eyes together. Lazy eye is often associated with crossed-eyes or a large difference in the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between the two eyes. It usually develops before the age of 6, and it does not affect side vision. Symptoms may include noticeably favoring one eye or a tendency to bump into objects on one side.
  • Strabismus: is a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time. It is commonly known as crossed eyes. It occurs when an eye turns in, out, up or down and is usually caused by poor eye muscle control or a high amount of farsightedness.
  • Refractive Errors: are vision conditions that affect how the eyes bend or “refract” light. Common refractive errors are: astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia).

It is important to know that a vision screening by a child's pediatrician or at his or her school is not the same as a comprehensive eye and vision examination by an optometrist. Vision screenings are a limited process and can't be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather may indicate a potential need for further evaluation. They may miss as many as 60% of children with vision problems. Even if a vision screening does not identify a possible vision problem, a child may still have one. Parents should take their children for a thorough optometric examination to ensure that their children are developing their vision properly.

August Is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month

Posted by CooperVision on Thursday, August 2, 2012

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) only one in three children in America have ever received eye care services before age six, yet more than 12.1 million school aged children have some form of vision problem. August is a month where eye-damaging UV rays are still strong and school is just around the corner – the perfect time for Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month.

An annual comprehensive eye exam is an important part of monitoring eye and the overall health in children, so it is recommended that school-aged children and teens get eye exams annually. Undetected vision problems can affect a child’s physical ability, readiness to learn, and self esteem. For more information on the importance of vision and eye health in children, be sure to check out the National Center For Children’s Vision and Eye Health.

Here is a list of great resources that you and your child can learn from during the month of August

  • Making Every Day A Healthy Vision Day Calendar: is a great way for kids to learn fun eye related facts.
  • Simple Tips For Healthy Eyes: is a list compiled by the National Eye Institute that make maintaining healthy eyes a snap.
  • Kids Quest About Vision Impairment: is an online quest that older kids can take in order to learn more about vision impairment and how it affects children.

How are you planning to talk to children about eye health and safety? Let us know!

Making a Difference: Real Stories from Optometry Giving Sight

Posted by CooperVision on Monday, July 30, 2012

CooperVision is a proud sponsor of the international charity Optometry Giving Sight. We are excited to introduce a monthly series of posts from Optometry Giving Sight called “Making a Difference: Real Stories from Optometry Giving Sight.” This series will be about how patients have been given back a life of opportunity with the help of Optometry Giving Sight.

Here is Adrian’s story as shared to us from Optometry Giving Sight:

Adrian swaggers into Mozambique’s Lúrio University eye clinic and slumps in a chair. He gives off an air of bravado and appears to have a certain attitude. At 14, he is the oldest of five children who struggle to survive, living in a one room 5X4 mud-over-bamboo home in a shanty town in Mozambique. Adrian doesn’t have a dad and his mother tries to make ends meet with whatever work she can find.

Adrian’s favorite subjects at school are math, language and social studies, but he finds study difficult and gets bored quickly as he can’t see the chalkboard. He often misses classes as he has to pick up odd jobs to earn extra money for his family.

As Adrian was progressively refracted his vision became clearer and clearer until he was found to have a significant requirement of -7.50DS and -9.00DS. As the lenses were placed into the trial frame his macho act slipped. He became just a 14-year old boy in need of help– and who was seeing clearly for the very first time.

Adrian hopes his new glasses will help him improve in school and realize his ambition of becoming a teacher.

With his level of vision impairment Adrian’s new glasses will transform his life.

Optometry Giving Sight partnered with Lurio University, The International Centre for Eyecare Education, Brazilian Optometric Association and Irish Aid to implement the Campaign for Quality Vision in Mozambique.

Click here to learn more about Optometry Giving Sight and how CooperVision is working with its patients to help make a difference in the lives of patients like Adrian.

Contact Lens Tips For Patients

Posted by CooperVision on Monday, July 23, 2012

Patients who are interested in contact lenses will be happy to hear that with proper contact lens care and following a contact lens replacement schedule, contact lenses are a very healthy and popular option for correcting vision with little risk of complications. Here is a list of contact lens safety tips that you can go over with your eye doctor when you go for your next eye appointment.

Follow Your Replacement Schedule: Your eye doctor will recommend a contact replacement schedule based on what contact lenses you wear. Make sure that you replace your contact lenses when it is indicated on the schedule. If you don’t, then you can put yourself at risk for issues ranging from lid inflammation to loss of vision from an infection. Since contact lenses are a regulated medical device, the United States Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has strongly advised that it is important to follow the recommended lens wearing and replacement schedules prescribed by your eye doctor.

Wash Hands Before Handling Lenses: Washing your hands with soap and drying your hands before handling your contact lenses will prevent the transfer of germs from hands to lenses during the insertion and removal process, which can help prevent the possibility of infection. Also, make sure to avoid using lotions, oils, or hand creams on your hands before handling your contact lenses so that they don’t coat, soil, or contaminate the lens surface.

Call Your Eye Doctor If You Experience Any Symptoms: If you experience symptoms such as discomfort, excess tearing or other discharge, unusual sensitivity to light, itching, burning, gritty feelings, unusual redness, blurred vision, swelling, and pain. You should remove your lenses immediately and keep them off, and contact your eye care doctor right away. Delaying a visit to your eye doctor can put you at a higher risk of vision loss if your eye is infected.

FAQS about Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

Posted by CooperVision on Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What is a daily disposable contact lens?

A daily disposable contact lens is a contact lens that you wear for one day. A patient puts them in the morning, and then throws them away at night. Each day, the patient starts with a fresh, clean, new pair of contact lenses. CooperVision offers a daily disposable contact lens option with its Proclear 1 Day contact lenses.

Are daily disposable contact lenses easy to care for?

Since daily disposable contact lenses are replaced every day, there is little contact lens maintenance. They are convenient because there are no time-consuming cleaning regimens to remember, and no solutions to buy.

Are daily disposable contact lenses comfortable?

Proclear 1 Day contact lenses are made with a unique lens material, with PC Hydration Technology™, that contains molecules found naturally in human cell membranes. These molecules attract and surround themselves with water, keeping your disposable contact lenses moist and comfortable, even after 12 hours of wear.

I have allergies and avoid wearing contact lenses. Are daily disposable contact lenses are a good option for me?

Proteins and allergens don't have time to build up on your lenses because you will be using a fresh new lens every day. This is especially helpful to those with seasonal ocular allergies.

How do I know what contact lenses are right for me?

Deciding which contact lenses are right for you is something that an eye doctor can help you with. Based on your vision correction needs, lifestyle, and preferences, an eye doctor will be able to guide you to the right contact lens for you. To get started, you can use CooperVision’s Find A Lens quiz. Take this quiz to find out how to choose contact lenses that could help you enjoy the best in vision, health, and comfort. Be sure to print your results and bring them to your next appointment to help start the conversation with your eye doctor.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis and Contact Lenses

Posted by Harvard Sylvan, OD on Monday, July 16, 2012

Acanthamoeba keratitis is a serious infection of the cornea that is caused by certain strains of a particular type of amoeba called acanthamoeba. Acanthamoeba are single cell organisms commonly found in soil, water (swimming pools, hot tubs, showers, etc.) and the air.

Here are some tips that may decrease the risk of developing acanthamoeba keratitis for contact lens wearers.

  • Don’t use tap water when cleaning or rinsing your contact lenses or case
  • Don’t ‘top off’ or reuse disinfection solution
  • Don’t wear contact lenses in a hot tub, swimming pool, freshwater lakes and rivers, or the shower.
  • Wash your hands and dry with a lint free towel prior to inserting or removing your contact lenses
  • ALWAYS replace your lenses according to the schedule given to you by your doctor.
  • FREQUENTLY replace your contact lens case (at a minimum, cases should be replaced whenever a new bottle of disinfecting solution is opened)

Some symptoms of Acanthamoeba keratitis are:

    • Pain – often more pain than would be expected by how the eye looks

    • Redness
    • Tearing
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Decreased vision
    • No improvement or symptoms getting worse if already being treated for a corneal infection (as it is difficult to identify acanthamoeba keratitis in its early stages, it is frequently mistaken for and treated as bacterial keratitis)
    • Should any of the above symptoms be present, stop wearing your contact lenses and see your eye doctor as soon as possible.

    Remember, that by following your doctor’s instructions and properly handling your contact lenses, the risks of acanthamoeba keratitis will be minimal and you can enjoy wearing your contact lenses.

Eye Nutrition Tips

Posted by CooperVision on Thursday, July 12, 2012

Eye nutrition is important. Did you know that there are five essential nutrients that help promote healthy vision and may reduce the risk of eye disease? Certain studies have shown that taking an antioxidant or vitamin supplement can reduce the risk of advanced AMD progression and visual acuity loss. Since not all of these nutrients are created in the body, it is crucial to get these nutrients from diet or supplements. Here is a list of the 5 essential nutrients for healthy eyes and what patients should eat:

Lutein With Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are nutrients that are naturally found together in foods such as leafy spinach, kale, eggs, and corn. These two nutrients act as antioxidants by helping protect and maintain healthy cells in the eye. The amount of lutein and zeaxanthin deposited in the macula can be measured macular pigment potical density (MPOD). Research has shown that higher levels of MPOD can increase levels of visual range and visual performance. Studies have also shown that patients with higher levels of MPOD have a greater tolerance for the intensity of glaring light and a shorter recovery time from glare.

Foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin are: spinach, collard greens, corn, eggs, turnips, green peas, broccoli, and oranges.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is typically found in fruits and vegetables. It helps promote healthy capillaries, cartilage, and iron absorption. It helps support the health of ocular blood vessels too. When taken in combination with other essential nutrients, evidence has shown that vitamin C can slow the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss. Vitamin C can also lowers the risk of developing cataracts.

Good sources of vitamin C are: oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, spinach, bananas, apples, and peaches.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E isn’t just great for your skin, it is a powerful antioxidant for your eyes too. It helps promote the health of cell membranes and DNA repair. It not only helps promote a healthy immune system, it can also slow the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss when taken in combination with other essential nutrients.

Make sure to get your intake of vitamin E by eating the following foods: sweet potatoes, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts and peanut butter.

DHA/EPA

Dietary fats like DHA and EPA are necessary building blocks of fat molecules. They are important for visual development and retinal function. In fact, low levels of DHA and EPA have been linked to dry eye syndrome and associated with eye diseases such as AMD and diabetic retinopathy.

In order to get your share of DHA and EPA, eat: tuna, salmon, mackerel, trout, anchovies or scallops.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential trace mineral that helps your eyes by slowing the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss. It is known as a helper molecule because it helps bring vitamin A from the liver to the retina in order produce melanin. Melanin is a protective pigment in the eyes. This mineral is recommended for individuals who are diagnosed with a high risk for AMD. Deficiencies in zinc has been linked to impaired vision, poor night vision, and cloudy cataracts.

Some zinc rich foods are: lobster, beef, pork, yogurt, salmon, milk and eggs.

For more eye nutrition tips, make sure to speak with an eye doctor. An eye doctor can assess what is best for your eyes and health.

Contacts For Sports

Posted by CooperVision on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Patients who are athletes may be wondering about contacts for sports. This is because having optimum vision while playing sports is essential. However, not all athletes want to wear eyeglasses while playing sports. With the possibility of glasses falling off during play, fogging up, or just being clunky under protective eyewear, a good alternative for athletes is contact lenses. Here are some key advantages to wearing contacts for sports:

  • Wider Field of Peripheral Vision: Wearing contact lenses for sports can help athletes by giving them a wider field of peripheral vision. Most prescription eyeglasses have small, relatively flat lenses and small frames that can obstruct an athlete’s field of vision. With contact lenses, athletes don’t have to worry about a limited field of peripheral vision.
  • Less Vision Distortion:Eyeglass lenses can distort an athlete’s field of vision. With contact lenses, athletes get a more natural vision versus the possible changes in image sizes that eyeglasses sometimes produce.
  • More Vision Stability:Eyeglasses can slip around during sports activities. This can cause a disturbance in vision. There is also the chance that glasses can fall off of an athlete’s face too. With contact lenses, there is less vision disturbance.
  • Less Chance of Injury: If an athlete takes a hit to the face, his/her eyeglasses can break. There is a greater chance of having an eye injury if this happens. With contact lenses, athletes don’t have to worry about eye injuries. In fact, with contact lenses, athletes can wear a broader array of protective eyewear in order to prevent eye injuries from sports.

Even if patients prefer wearing eyeglasses at other times, contact lenses may be a good option for occasional wear during sports activities. There are a variety of different contact lens options for every patient. CooperVision even offers a Find Lens quiz that patients can take so that patients can decide what lens is right for them.

Eye Exams for Contacts: What to Expect

Posted by CooperVision on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Are you a patient interested in contact lenses? There are special tests done during eye exams for contacts that are not done during an eye exam for eyeglasses. If you are interested in contact lenses, you should let your eye doctor know ahead of time so that your eye doctor can perform additional tests for the right contact lens fit and prescription. Here is what a typical eye exam for contacts will look like:

General Lifestyle Questions

Your eye doctor will ask you questions about your daily activities and routine in order to get a better understanding of what contact lens is right for you. CooperVision even offers a quiz called Find A Lens that allows you to print your results and bring them to eye exam to help start the conversation with your eye doctor. Here are some of the possible lifestyle questions that your eye doctor may ask:

  • Are you active in sports?
  • Do you suffer from allergies?
  • How long is your work day? Are you a night owl?
  • Do you want to see clearly right away when you wake up?

Contact Lens Measurements

Your eye doctor will then take your contact lens measurements in order to ensure that the contact lenses fit properly. Your eye doctor will take measurements of your cornea with an instrument called a keratometer. Your eye doctor may also take pupil and iris measurements too.

Tear Film Assessment

Your eye doctor may do a tear film evaluation. There are a few ways that your eye doctor can assess your body’s ability to produce tears. Your eye doctor may drop a fluorescein dye to the tear layer on your eye or with a strip containing the dye and then see how long it takes for your tears to evaporate. Another way your eye doctor can evaluate your tear film is to place a piece of paper underneath your lower eyelid for five minutes and then seeing the length of paper moistened by your tears. If you have an insufficient tear film, you may have dry eye syndrome. Your eye doctor may recommend contact lenses that can help with dry eye symptoms. Proclear contact lenses for example, are the only contact lenses on the market to carry the FDA-approved labeling statement, ‘May provide improved comfort for contact lens wearers who experience mild discomfort or symptoms relating to dryness during lens wear.’

Contact Lens Fit

Your doctor will check the health of your eye surface using an instrument called a slit lamp. This instrument is also used to help your eye doctor see if a trial contact lens fits well on your eye. It typically takes two visits to complete a contact lens fitting. In the follow up visit, your eye doctor will check and ensure that the contact lenses are fitting correctly. Typically, you will be asked to remove your contact lenses for this test. After your eye doctor finds that the contact lenses fit properly, are comfortable, and allow you to see well, your eye doctor will then write you a contact lens prescription. This prescription will indicate the contact lens power, a shape matching the curvature of your eye (base curve), and diameter.

For more information about eye exams for contact lenses, make sure to ask your eye doctor. To locate an eye doctor near you, try CooperVision’s Find A Practitioner Locator.

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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