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New To Contact Lenses? Here Are Our Top 5 Tips!

For an estimated 56 million North Americans, contact lenses are the preferred form of vision correction. So if you’ve just started wearing contact lenses — you’re in good company.

Advice About Contact Lenses from Washington, D.C. Eye Doctor: Dr. Michael Rosenblatt

Here are 5 tips to quickly help you adjust to wearing and caring for your new lenses so you can enjoy the many benefits they offer.

  1. Learn How to Tell if Your Contact Lens Is Inside Out

This is a common mistake many beginners make when inserting soft contacts. Place the lens on  your index fingertip and look carefully at its shape. The edge of the lens should be pointing upwards, like the rim of a teacup. If the edge is flared outward like a blooming flower, the lens is inside out.

Some contact lenses have tiny laser markings of numbers or letters. If the numbers/letters read correctly when you hold the lens on your fingertip, they are properly oriented and the lens is ready to be inserted.

  1. Never Use a Substitute for Contact Lens Solution

Your eye doctor will recommend the appropriate contact lens solution to suit your eyes and lenses. Some people have sensitivities and not all lens solutions are the same. 

Even if you run out of contact lens solution, don’t be tempted to rinse your lenses with water, and never use saliva to moisten or clean them.

Using substances other than the recommended contact lens solution to rinse or rewet your contacts can introduce harmful microbes to the eye and cause a serious infection. That’s why it’s best to remove your contacts before showering, swimming, or any other time they might get wet.

  1. If Your Contact Lenses Feel Uncomfortable, Take Them Out!

Some newcomers mistakenly think that if their contacts feel uncomfortable or gritty, they simply need to “get used to them.” Contact lenses are supposed to be comfortable, so if you are experiencing discomfort there may be something wrong.

With clean fingers, remove your contacts and rinse them, inside and out, with the solution or rewetting drops as recommended by your eye doctor. Dust or dirt could have gotten stuck between the lens and your eye, causing irritation. Flushing the lenses with contact lens solution will help remove the irritant.

If your eyes still feel irritated, don’t place the contact lenses back in your eyes. Instead, wait until they are no longer red or irritated, and try inserting them again. If the problem persists, contact your eye doctor.

  1. Wear Contact Lens-Friendly Makeup

Wearing makeup around the eyes can be a source of irritation and infection whether you wear contact lenses or not. Here’s what we recommend when it comes to eye makeup and contact lenses:

  • Choose hypoallergenic makeup.
  • If using a cream-based product around your eyes, choose a water-based formula instead of an oil-based one. 
  • Keep your eye closed during application to avoid makeup particles entering your eye. 
  • Don’t apply eyeliner or eyeshadow to the inner rims of your eyelids.
  • Replace eye makeup at least once every 3 months to minimize the growth and spread of bacteria.
  • Never share eye makeup with friends or family.
  • Remove your contact lenses before removing your makeup.
  1. Stick to the Hygiene Guidelines

We can’t emphasize this enough — always thoroughly wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses.

Try to avoid washing your hands with oily or heavily scented hand soaps, as they tend to cling to the surface of the lens and could irritate the eye. Additionally, if you touch moisturizers or lotions before handling your contact lenses you run the risk of some residual product adhering to the lens and clouding your vision.

After washing your hands, dry them using a lint-free towel. It’s harder to grasp contact lenses with wet hands, and — as mentioned above — lenses shouldn’t come into contact with tap water.

Bonus Tip: Get an Eye Exam

While all this advice can be very helpful, it doesn’t replace an in-person exam with your eye doctor.  Your eye doctor will advise you when to return for your next contact lens consultation. Following this schedule is the best way to ensure you can enjoy the freedom of contact lens wear.

If you are new to contact lenses (or not!) and have any questions or concerns about your eyes or vision, call 202-335-5032. Washington Eye Doctors will be happy to schedule you for a contact lens exam and fitting.

With the help of Dr. Michael Rosenblatt, you’ll be an expert in contact lens wear and care in no time!

Don’t Do These 11 Things If You Wear Daily Disposable Contacts!

Countless people around the world wear daily disposable contact lenses or dailies. These popular single-use lenses are removed and discarded at the end of each day, and a new, fresh pair is inserted the next morning. Used properly, dailies promote eye health, and they’re comfortable and convenient.

Despite the many advantages associated with wearing daily disposables, there are plenty of ways you can damage your eyes and vision — some you may never have considered.

1. Don’t Touch Contacts with Dirty Hands

Before touching your lenses, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. By touching your contact lenses with dirty hands, you transfer bacteria to your lenses, which can lead to an infection. Preferably dry your hands with a disposable paper towel rather than a cloth towel, and ensure that no remnants of the towel remain on your fingers.

2. Don’t Expose Your Contacts to Water

Any source of water, whether tap, pool, or lake water, can change the shape of your lenses and cause micro-abrasions on your cornea. Plus, the water may contain bacteria that can wreak havoc on your eye health and cause you to experience temporary vision loss or even permanent blindness.

If you must get in the water with your contacts on, make sure to wear waterproof goggles. If you do get water on your contact lenses, dispose of these lenses and insert a new pair. Exposing contact lenses to chemicals like chlorine binds to the lens and cannot be cleaned off. It then leeches onto the cornea and causes irritation.

The next time you’re tempted to swim or shower with your lenses on, think twice before doing so.

3. Don’t Reuse Your Contacts

Daily disposable contacts are designed to be thrown away after every single use, and people who reuse them risk painful and risky outcomes. Dailies are thinner, more fragile, and don’t hold moisture as well as other contacts.

Users sometimes attempt to increase the lifespan of these lenses by cleaning them in a disinfecting solution and wearing them for several days or even weeks at a time. This is problematic, as the lens material doesn’t allow for repeated disinfecting. In fact, the process of cleaning the lenses tends to be not only ineffective but also breaks down the lens itself, increasing the risk of the lens falling apart while in the eye. The risk of complications and infection is not worth the few saved bucks.

4. Don’t Insert a Dropped Contact In Your Eye

One of the perks of daily lenses is that they are less expensive (per lens) than other types of contacts. So if you find yourself dropping a lens into the sink or on the floor, don’t bother placing it back in your eye. Doing so can cost you your eye health.

5. Don’t Ever Put Contacts In Your Mouth

It seems like a funny concept, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t believe the number of people who do this. If you drop a contact lens, avoid rooting around the floor trying to find it, and if you do, definitely don’t put it in your mouth to lubricate it. Your mouth contains bacteria that can infect your eyes once you reinsert your contacts.

Play it safe by carrying around an emergency pair of glasses or an extra pair of daily disposable contacts in your bag, your car, or at work.

6. Don’t Overwear Your Daily Lenses

Wearing your lenses for long periods of time can damage your eyes, even if they’re daily contacts. The maximum recommended daily use for any contact lens is 14-16 hours, though Dr. Michael Rosenblatt will determine the exact number of hours you should wear your lenses. Your eyes, just like any other part of your body, need to rest. Your corneas receive oxygen from the air, not from blood vessels, and while it’s healthy to wear contacts during the day, wearing them for extended periods can significantly reduce the amount of oxygen your eyes receive, which can lead to complications. If you don’t give your eyes the rest they need, your corneas might get swollen, which can lead to corneal abrasion and even bacterial infection.

7. Don’t Sleep With Your Lenses

Daily lenses should never be worn overnight. You’re risking your sight by sleeping in a lens that’s not approved for overnight use, as it can lead to ocular irritation, swelling and corneal ulcers.

8. Don’t Insert Contacts Before Completing Your Morning Routine

Avoid inserting your contacts before you shower or wash your face, since you risk exposing your lenses to tap water and the bacteria that come with it. We also recommend that you insert your lenses after blow-drying and styling your hair, especially if you’re using hairspray or other aerosols, as these products can dry out your contacts. Additionally, the spray can coat the lenses and leave a film that not only irritates the eyes, but can make it difficult to see. If you’re at the hairdresser’s and cannot remove your lenses, shut your eyes when spray is applied.

9. Don’t Get Makeup On Your Contacts

Insert your contacts before applying makeup, because any makeup residue on your hands, such as mascara, can easily transfer to your lenses.

It’s not uncommon for people to get concealer, eyeliner or mascara on their contact lenses. If that happens, immediately remove the lens and clean the makeup with solution (while making sure to dispose of the lens before bed). Otherwise, simply replace with another lens. Avoid wearing waterproof makeup, since it can’t always be removed from your lenses, even when rinsed with solution.

To prevent makeup from getting on your lenses, don’t apply mascara all the way from the base of your lashes up. Instead, apply it from the midway point. It’s also important not to apply eyeliner on the inner lid of your eye, but rather to the skin above your lashes.

10. Don’t Wear Contact Lenses If Your Eyes Are Irritated

As the saying goes, “if in doubt – take them out!” If your eyes feel irritated, uncomfortable, or if you notice any pain or redness, don’t power through. If your symptoms last a while, contact Dr. Michael Rosenblatt at Washington Eye Doctors. You don’t want to let a serious infection go unchecked.

When your eyes feel more rested and are free of discomfort, put in a fresh pair of contacts.

11. Don’t Rub Your Eyes

If your eyes feel itchy or dry, or if a lens feels out of place, you may be tempted to rub your eyes. But rubbing, whether with contacts or without, can lead to long-term ocular issues. This may cause you to experience blurred vision, and may even damage your cornea. Instead, Dr. Michael Rosenblatt can recommend eye drops to relieve any discomfort. Make sure to apply them only when contact lenses are removed.

Above, we have delved into things you should never do with daily contact lenses. Fortunately, if you do make a mistake, you can remove the lens and replace it with a fresh one. The few dollars you might save by not opening a new pack aren’t worth the damage a mistake can cause.

 

If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more about contact lenses, contact Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. today. Dr. Michael Rosenblatt will be happy to explain how to care for your eyes and maintain your vision.

Coronavirus and Your Eyes – What You Should Know

As coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, health professionals are demanding that people limit their personal risk of contracting the virus by thoroughly washing their hands, practicing social distancing, and not touching their nose, mouth, or eyes. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that the eyes play an important role in spreading COVID-19.

Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through droplets that an infected person sneezes or coughs out. These droplets can easily enter your body through the mucous membranes on the face, such as your nose, mouth, and yes — your eyes.

But First, What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, causes mild to severe respiratory illness associated with fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms typically appear within 2 weeks of exposure. Those with acute cases of the virus can develop pneumonia and other life-threatening complications.

Here’s what you should know:

Guard Your Eyes Against COVID-19

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes. Although we all engage in this very normal habit, try to fight the urge to touch your eyes. If you absolutely must, first wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Tears carry the virus. Touching tears or a surface where tears have fallen can spread coronavirus. Make sure to wash your hands after touching your eyes and throughout the day as well.
  • Disinfect surfaces. You can catch COVID-19 by touching an object or surface that has the virus on it, such as a door knob, and then touching your eyes.

Coronavirus and Pink Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, refers to an inflammation of the membrane covering the front of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis is characterized by red, watery, and itchy eyes. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing and sneezing, too.

According to a recent study in China, viral conjunctivitis may be a symptom of COVID-19. The study found conjunctival congestion in 9 of the 1,099 patients (0.8%) who were confirmed to have coronavirus.

If you suspect you have pink eye, call your eye doctor in Washington, D.C. right away. Given the current coronavirus crisis, we ask patients to call prior to presenting themselves at the office of Dr. Michael Rosenblatt, as it will allow the staff to assess your condition and adequately prepare for your visit.

Contact Lenses or Eyeglasses?

Many people who wear contact lenses are thinking about switching to eyeglasses for the time being to lower the threat of being infected with coronavirus.

Wearing glasses may provide an extra layer of protection if someone coughs on you; hopefully that infected droplet will hit the lens and not your eye. However, one must still be cautious, as the virus can reach the eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms around your frames. Unlike specialized safety goggles, glasses are not considered a safe way to prevent coronavirus.

Contact Lenses and COVID-19

If you wear contacts, make sure to properly wash your hands prior to removing or inserting them. Consider ordering a 3 to 6 month supply of contact lenses and solution; some opticals provide home delivery of contact lenses and solutions. At this stage there is no recommendation to wear daily lenses over monthlies.

Don’t switch your contact lens brand or solution, unless approved by your optometrist or optician.

Regularly Disinfect Glasses

Some viruses such as coronavirus, can remain on hard surfaces from several hours to days. This can then be transmitted to the wearer’s fingers and face. People who wear reading glasses for presbyopia should be even more careful, because they usually need to handle their glasses more often throughout the day, and older individuals tend to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications. Gently wash the lenses and frames with warm water and soap, and dry your eyeglasses using a microfiber cloth.

Stock up on Eye Medicine

It’s a good idea to stock up on important medications, including eye meds, in order to get by in case you need to be quarantined or if supplies run short. This may not be possible for everyone due to insurance limitations. If you cannot stock up, make sure to request a refill as soon as you’re due and never wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy.

It is important that you continue to follow your doctor’s instructions for all medications.

Digital Devices and Eyestrain

At times like this, people tend to use digital devices more than usual. Take note of tiredness, sore eyes, blurry vision, double vision or headaches, which are symptoms of computer vision syndrome if they are exacerbated by extensive use of digital devices, and might indicate a need for a new prescription in the near future. This usually isn’t urgent, but if you’re unsure, you can call our eye doctor’s office.

Children and Digital Devices

During this time your children may end up watching TV and using computers, tablets and smartphones more frequently and for more extended periods too. Computer vision syndrome, mentioned above, can affect children as well. We recommend limiting screen time to a maximum of 2 hours per day for children, though it’s understandably difficult to control under the circumstances.

Try to get your child to take a 10 to 15 minute break every hour, and stop all screen time for at least 60 minutes before sleep.

Children and Outdoor Play

Please follow local guidelines and instructions regarding outdoor activities for your children. If possible, it’s actually good for visual development to spend 1-2 hours a day outside.

 

From all of us at Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C., we wish you good health and please stay safe.

Visiting Your Optometrist During COVID-19

Is your eye doctor’s appointment coming up? Are you worried about going to the eye clinic during the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Rest assured, keeping our patients and staff are safe is our top priority.

We anticipate that this outbreak will continue for a while, and do not want our patients to neglect their eye care needs during this critical time. Our optometric clinic is prudent and has adopted specific measures to protect our patients and staff from potential exposure to COVID-19 during this time of uncertainty.

That said, guidelines for slowing the spread of this epidemic are rapidly changing. Please pay close to attention to local regulatory changes to get the most up-to-date information on whether practices can still remain open/ accept non-emergency cases.

Here Are the Precautions Our Eye Clinic Is Taking to Limit COVID-19:

We employ a strict office policy that mandates that all eye doctors, opticians, office staff, and patients not enter if they are feeling unwell or have a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, or have been exposed to a known case of COVID-19 or traveled outside of the country within the last 14 days.

The staff may ask you to wait outside rather than in the waiting area in order to protect yourself and others from any circulating germs. Furthermore, we are trying to schedule our appointments in such a way that our waiting room remains as empty as possible.

During your eye exam:

  • The eye doctor may use a special plastic barrier called a slit-lamp breath shield to block the exchange of breath between patient and doctor.
  • The optometrist may wear a mask with a plastic shield over the eyes.
  • The practitioner will wait for your slit-lamp eye exam to be over before speaking with you or answering any questions you may have.
  • We sanitize all equipment and patient contact surfaces after every use and at the end of the day.
  • We sanitize all surfaces and equipment (front desk counters, telephones, pens, door handles, waiting room chairs) with antibacterial wipes.
  • All staff members wash their hands after contact with each patient and throughout the day.
  • Our office is equipped with several sanitizing stations.
  • We request that patients sanitize their hands prior to and after trying on frames. We also make sure to sanitize frames that have come into contact with patients before returning them to the displays.
  • If we don’t shake hands with our patients during this time, please don’t take it personally.

Please call Washington Eye Doctors at 202-335-5032 with any questions or concerns you may have. If you feel it’s best for you or a member of your family to reschedule your appointment, we encourage you to do so.

To stay abreast of the coronavirus pandemic, please visit the following official health organizations:

  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) at www.CDC.gov
  • World Health Organization (WHO) at www.WHO.int

Thank you and stay safe!

This Contact Lens Can Actually Treat Dry Eye Syndrome!

something in my eyeWearing traditional contact lenses can be a convenient method of correcting vision — unless you are suffering from dry eye. Dry eye symptoms, such as red, itchy eyes, or a feeling of having something in your eye, tend to worsen when wearing traditional contact lenses.

There is, however, one type of lens that isn’t only comfortable to wear, but also improves vision and reduces symptoms — it’s called a scleral lens. This lens differs from a conventional contact lens in several ways, most notably in size. Scleral lenses are large custom-fit contact lenses that offer multiple benefits for people with dry eyes and a variety of other eye conditions.

If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, speak with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt to see whether wearing scleral lenses is the best course of action for your condition.

Dry Eye Symptoms

First things first, what does dry eye mean? If you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms for some time, you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome:

  • Red eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Mucus in or around your eyes
  • A feeling of dust or sand in your eyes
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue

Why Do the Symptoms Occur?

Your eyes are usually covered with a thin film of tears to keep them lubricated and protected. If the lubrication is inadequate, that is, if the quality or quantity of the tears is out of balance, one of the above symptoms may occur.

Dry eye can have many causes, such as certain medical conditions, medications, environmental influences, hormones, and extensive exposure to blue light from digital devices. Long-time contact lens usage may also impact tear quality. Dry eye mostly affects women, particularly upon reaching menopause.

What Are Scleral Lenses?

This gas permeable contact lens is considerably larger than any other contact lens, and due to its size, a scleral lens rests on the sclera—the white part of the eye— without touching the cornea.

As mentioned earlier, when you have dry eye, the cornea is more sensitive than usual, rendering it uncomfortable when a traditional contact lens comes into contact with it. Scleral lenses, on the other hand, cause no friction to the cornea as they do not directly touch it, but rather vault right over it.

Scleral lenses were initially developed for patients who could not wear traditional contact lenses, such as those with high astigmatism, keratoconus, and other corneal irregularities. Over the years, study after study has shown that scleral lenses can improve and even treat dry eye syndrome.

How Does a Scleral Lens Treat Dry Eye?

Standard soft contact lenses absorb moisture from the eye, whereas scleral lenses provide moisture. Furthermore, when inserting a scleral lens into your eye, you first apply a saline solution, which fills the gap between the cornea and the lens. This provides moisture for the irritated eye and promotes healing.

By ensuring consistent hydration of the eye and shielding the cornea from external irritants, scleral lenses provide the eye with the conditions needed to heal. As you can see, scleral lenses can play a therapeutic role in the healing process of dry eye syndrome.

What You Need to Know About Wearing Scleral Lenses With Dry Eye

Most people find that scleral lenses are very comfortable to wear. They do not move around on the eye, and dust particles are less likely to get caught underneath. Caring for, inserting and removing a larger lens, however, involves some practice and calls for a little more caution.

One of the few side effects of dry eye is a higher production of mucus, which can accumulate underneath the lens. As a result, you may have to clean your lenses more frequently to ensure clear vision.

Eye Drops and Scleral Lenses

Artificial tears are a common treatment for dry eye, and you can use them in combination with scleral lenses. However, make sure to consult Dr. Michael Rosenblatt regarding which drops to use for your specific case.

To further reduce symptoms and improve the quality of your tears, consider using lid scrubs regularly. Also, warm compresses can provide relief and contribute to improving the tear film.

Where Can You Get Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses are custom-made for each patient. At The Scleral Lens Center At Washington Eye Doctors, we have made scleral lens fitting one of our primary objectives, which is why our practice is equipped with the latest technology and contact lens modalities. This has enabled us to achieve positive results for our dry eye patients.

This Contact Lens Can Actually Treat Dry Eye Syndrome from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

Contact Dr. Michael Rosenblatt at The Scleral Lens Center At Washington Eye Doctors for a personal consultation and find out whether scleral lenses are a suitable option for your dry eye syndrome.

We serve dry eye patients from Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Arlington, Chevy Chase, and throughout District of Columbia.

Sleeping in Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are fantastic little discs – giving you clear, comfy, and wide vision instead of bulky eyeglasses. However, most people forget that contact lenses are also medical devices, which means they come with a degree of risk to your visual health when not used properly. When we fit patients with contact lenses in our eye care centers in Washington, D.C., , , and , District of Columbia, our staff provides detailed care instructions on how to keep eyes and vision safe! It’s essential to listen to the guidelines for contact lenses provided by your eye doctor.

High Risk of Infection

Sleeping in your contact lenses raises your risk of eye infection considerably.

The recent viral story of a woman from North Carolina who slept in her contact lenses is a frightening example of all that could go wrong! She woke up with eye irritation, redness and swelling, and went to an emergency eye care center for treatment. She was diagnosed with a small pseudomonas ulcer, which is a sore on the cornea caused by bacteria. The doctors prescribed antibiotic treatment, but the next day she woke up and couldn’t see out of that eye. When she returned to the medical center, they detected a much larger ulcer. Ultimately, she was told it may take a half-year to regain vision in that eye, and some visual impairment may remain.

Dried Out Contact Lenses

If you’ve ever fallen asleep while wearing contact lenses, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of dried out lenses stuck on your eyeballs. It can take multiple applications of lubricating eye drops until they’re moist enough to remove from your eyes. While they’re stuck, blinking can be painful and vision is typically blurred. Also, dried out contact lenses can cause abrasions on the lining of your eyelid that hurt.

Eyes Need to Breathe

Even if you don’t get a full-fledged eye infection from sleeping with contacts, you can still irritate your cornea, the surface of your eye. That’s because even oxygen-permeable lenses block your eyes from “breathing” normally.

Prevent the Pain – Don’t Sleep in Your Contacts!

Even if you’ve done it before and had no problems, that doesn’t mean sleeping with contact lenses is safe. It just means you’re gambling with the odds of eye infection and damage to your vision – which is a risky game!

If you experience any eye irritation, inflammation, redness, or blurry vision with contact lenses, schedule an eye exam in one of our conveniently located optometry practices in Washington, D.C., , , and , District of Columbia.

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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How Safe Are Overnight Contact Lenses?

cboy in yellow zip up jacket 3771646Your optometrist recommended orthokeratology (ortho-k) treatment for your child — that is, wearing corrective lenses overnight. However, the idea of having your child wear contact lenses while they sleep may be worrisome. Can it lead to an eye infection, or scratch/ squeeze the cornea?

A closer look into the research done on overnight ortho-k lens wear reveals the extent of any actual risk factors and how they compare to other contact lens options.

What Are Overnight Ortho-K Lenses?

Ortho-k lenses are custom-made contact lenses that are worn overnight to gently reshape the cornea, thus enabling clear vision the following day. Research shows that overnight ortho-k not only effectively removes the need to wear any glasses or daytime contact lenses, but can slow down the progression of myopia. Optometrists, such as Dr. Michael Rosenblatt, are therefore increasingly using ortho-k for myopia management as well as for patients who no longer want to wear any optical correction during the day.

Is Your Child at a Higher Risk of Eye Infection With Ortho-K?

An extensive study involving 1300 people at Ohio State University concluded that overnight ortho-k carries no more risk than any other type of contact lens modality.

Hygiene plays a vital role in preventing infections with all contact lenses. During the lens fitting process, your eye care professional will provide you and your child with detailed information and guidance on how to clean and store the lenses, as well as what precautions to take. Make sure to carefully follow the instructions regarding the cleaning schedule and use only the appropriate solutions provided for the overnight lenses.

Other Potential Risks With Orthokeratology

Can an Ortho-k Lens Squeeze or Scratch the Cornea?

An ortho-k lens floats on a tear film covering the eye. The reshaping is achieved by hydraulic force that is applied to the thin central part of the cornea without any tissue being squeezed or crushed.

A corneal abrasion can occasionally occur and is usually the result of a fingernail or lens edge scratching the cornea. That said, the risk isn’t any higher with overnight lenses than with other rigid lenses.

Do Overnight Lenses Involve a Higher Risk of Hypoxia?

The cornea needs a regular oxygen supply. This supply is typically reduced when covered by a contact lens. Extended uninterrupted contact lens wear can cause hypoxia and swell the cornea — this applies to all contact lens modalities when worn longer than recommended.

What is Corneal Staining?

This is likely the most common of all contact lens complications. Corneal staining refers to the appearance of tissue disruption and other changes on the corneal surface. This may be due to a variety of causes, such as improper lens fit, foreign bodies, tear film disruption or irregularities at the edges of a contact lens.

A corneal stain can also occur when a specific contact lens solution comes into direct contact with the cornea and the patient has a reaction to the chemicals in that solution. Research shows that children who wear ortho-k lenses are at no greater risk of corneal staining than those who wear soft contact lenses.

What You Need to Remember When Handling Ortho-K Lenses

  • Always wash hands before inserting or removing contact lenses.
  • Make sure to strictly adhere to the cleaning and disinfection routine as instructed by your optometrist.
  • Provide your child with all the necessary assistance and support regarding the care of the lenses. Young children should not handle the lenses on their own.
  • Only use the solutions recommended by Dr. Michael Rosenblatt. If you feel your child has an issue with any of them, please contact us.
  • Frequently replace the lens case to avoid microbial contamination and make sure you or your child do not touch the tip of the solution bottle.
  • Do not use tap water to rinse your lenses, always use saline solution.
  • Never use a soft contact lens solution for a rigid lens. These solutions are made of different liquids, each with their own guidelines and protocols.
  • If your child feels discomfort or experiences redness of the eye, contact Dr. Michael Rosenblatt.

How Safe Are Overnight Contact Lenses? from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

Overnight Ortho-K Lenses are Safe

Orthokeratology is a safe and effective method of providing clear daytime vision and of slowing down the progression of myopia in children.

As long as they carefully follow the instructions regarding hygiene and the handling of the lenses, there should be no reason to worry. Children mature enough to understand the importance of these instructions will also be responsible enough to adhere to them.

Get more information regarding overnight ortho-k lenses at The Myopia Management Center At Washington Eye Doctors. Dr. Michael Rosenblatt will carry out an eye exam and will happily answer any questions you may have.

What Is the Shape of a Healthy Eye and How Does It Affect Vision?

eyes eye care 640x350The human eye is a biological piece of functional art, capable of producing colorful moving three-dimensional images with high precision. At the same time, one can marvel at the aesthetic beauty of the human eye and its shape.

The Shape of a Healthy Eye

In a healthy and perfectly shaped eye, light passes through the cornea and crystalline lens, and is accurately focused onto the retina, located at the back of the gel-filled eyeball. This process enables an image to be passed onto the optic nerve and then the visual cortex of the brain. Accurate focus and convergence depend on the proper shape of each part of the eye. However, eyeballs can be either shortened (hyperopia) or elongated (myopia).

Unhealthy Eye Shapes That Impact Vision

The Myopic Eye

In an elongated myopic eyeball, the distance between the lens and retina is too long, leading the image to come into focus before reaching the retina. As a result, the photosensitive cells of the retina pick up a blurry image.

The Hyperopic Eye

In hyperopia or farsightedness, the opposite is the case. The eyeball is too short, as is the distance that light travels from lens to retina. Therefore, the image comes into focus behind the retina, causing distant objects to appear clear, whereas close ones do not come into proper focus.

The Cornea

While the crystalline lens is flexible and auto-adjusts its shape for proper focus, the cornea is static. A healthy cornea maintains its smooth dome shape. However, if the cornea is weak, the structure of the cornea cannot hold this round shape, causing the cornea to bulge outward and downward like a cone. Perfect curvature of the cornea ensures the correct bending of incoming light onto the lens, whereas inadequate curvature results in a refractive error.

An uneven or irregularly shaped cornea also distorts the image that forms at the retina. Common corneal irregularities include astigmatism and keratoconus.

Keratocoonus Labelled

Scleral Lenses for a Smooth Eye Shape

Scleral lenses are large contact lenses that rest on the sclera — the white part of the eye. The lenses span over the cornea, making them ideal for a deformed cornea as they even out the irregularity to create a perfectly shaped eye.

Contact Dr. Michael Rosenblatt at The Scleral Lens Center At Washington Eye Doctors to learn more about how your eye shape affects your vision. We’ll be happy to discuss the different correction methods available that offer you sharp, comfortable and clear vision all day, every day.

We receive clients from Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Arlington, Chevy Chase, and throughout District of Columbia.

 

Resources:

https://www.lasikmd.com/blog/eye-shapes-affect-vision

https://www.everydayhealth.com/vision-center/the-healthy-eye/how-the-eye-works.aspx

https://www.nvisioncenters.com/eye-shapes/

https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/refractive-errors

Use Your Benefits in 2020 for Ortho-K

something in my eyeDid your new year resolutions include any vision-related intentions? After all, it is the year 2020 — a year for perfect vision. This could be the right time to consider a more effective and worthwhile way to correct your or your child’s nearsightedness.

Consider ortho-k (orthokeratology), a way to correct myopia that could give you or your child clear 20/20 vision. What’s more, it comes with certain financial advantages, as Ortho-k can be eligible for reimbursement with most health-related savings accounts.

Why Use Your Benefits on Orthokeratology?

Whether you have funds that rolled over from the previous year or you just started your new health savings account this year, now is the time to plan how to allocate your benefits in 2020.

Remember, vision-related issues should never be taken lightly. An investment in vision correction pays off in numerous ways. Ortho-k provides a safe, non-surgical, non-invasive, and comfortable corrective option and lets you take advantage of your benefits.

What is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology, also known as corneal reshaping therapy, are custom-fit overnight lenses that gently mold your cornea into a shape that bends light correctly onto the retina. This allows you to have perfect vision without wearing glasses or contact lenses throughout the day.

Ortho-k Advantages for Adults

There are advantages to Ortho-k besides the convenience of not wearing glasses or contacts during the day. Glasses or contact lenses often don’t provide clear peripheral vision, something you will have with ortho-k. Moreover, unlike LASIK surgery, which creates a permanent change to the corneal shape and involves the risk of complications, the ortho-k treatment is safe and reversible.

Ortho-k Advantages for Children

For children, there is an additional benefit. Myopia usually worsens until around the age of 21, sometimes at an alarming speed. High levels of myopia, generally above -3.00 dioptres, can pose a higher risk of serious eye diseases later on in life that can lead to loss of vision.

Research has revealed that orthokeratology can slow down the progression of myopia, thus lowering the risks of developing macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and cataracts.

Which Savings Accounts Cover Orthokeratology?

You may not have to pay entirely for orthokeratology out of your own pocket, as many Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) can reimburse this kind of program. A Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) may at times also refund the ortho-k costs. Just make sure to check your specific plan, as not all plans are exactly the same.

Use Your Benefits in 2020 to Correct Myopia With Ortho-K from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

Use Benefits for Family Members

It gets even better! You can use these funds either for yourself or for someone in your family. If you have a child with progressing nearsightedness, use the benefits to help him/her get the best vision ever.

Many parents settle for glasses or regular contact lenses as they are less expensive than special ortho-k lenses. However, with a savings account, there is no need to compromise because you get a refund. Give yourself the opportunity to make the year 2020 a year of 20/20 vision for yourself or your child.

At The Myopia Management Center At Washington Eye Doctors, we prescribe and fit orthokeratology lenses and provide all associated services. Contact Dr. Michael Rosenblatt today to schedule an appointment for an eye evaluation.

We treat patients from Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Arlington, Chevy Chase, and throughout District of Columbia.

Here’s Why Hydrogen Peroxide is an Excellent Contact Lens Solution

Once you and your doctor have decided on the type of contact lenses you’ll need, it’s time to choose the most suitable contact lens solution for your eyes and contacts. 

There exist 2 different types of solution for contact lenses: Multipurpose and Hydrogen Peroxide-based. While both remove debris and build-up, and disinfect lenses, only hydrogen peroxide is capable of penetrating the microbial biofilms for a deeper clean. As an added benefit, hydrogen peroxide does not contain preservatives — which can be particularly beneficial for those with allergies or eye sensitivities. 

Multipurpose Solution

Multipurpose solutions are straightforward and easy to use; only one solution is needed to rinse, clean, disinfect and store your contacts (as seen in the image). Their convenience and low cost make them a popular choice. 

Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

Hydrogen peroxide solutions, such as Clear Care® by Alcon or Refine One Step™ by CooperVision, contain no preservatives or allergens. This solution thoroughly breaks up the proteins and removes deposits on the lenses during the disinfection process, which can be beneficial for people who tend to accumulate large amounts of build-up on their lenses. Moreover, hydrogen peroxide is more effective at battling acanthamoeba keratitis (an eye infection that may lead to blindness) than all other types of contact lens solutions.

Since hydrogen peroxide is a chemical that causes stinging and burning when it touches the eye, after the contacts have been disinfected the solution must be neutralized to be healthy for your eyes. Included with every solution bottle is an upright contact lens case containing a platinum-coated disk that chemically reacts with hydrogen peroxide to decompose it into a safe, non-irritating, sterile saline solution. This chemical reaction produces bubbles inside the case as it undergoes the transformative process over a period of several hours. Since the neutralizing disk loses its effectiveness over time, it is critical to regularly replace it. 

If your eyes do make contact with hydrogen peroxide, make sure to immediately flush it out with sterile saline. If saline is not available, wash your eyes with water or artificial tear drops and make sure to see Dr. Michael Rosenblatt as soon as possible. Though painful, it doesn’t cause permanent eye or vision damage.

How does it work? 

To clean your lenses, place them in the designated case that is freshly filled with the hydrogen peroxide solution and soak them for 6-8 hours. This can be a one-step or two-step process, depending on the product. The one-step products contain a built-in neutralizer in the contact lens case, while the two-step products require you to add a neutralizing tablet to the solution after cleaning.

Make sure not to reuse or top off hydrogen peroxide solution after it has been neutralized, as it will have lost its disinfecting power. 

Be sure to dry your case thoroughly between uses and to replace your case every 2-3 months to prevent infection.

It is important to note that hydrogen peroxide solutions will change into unpreserved saline. Therefore, if contact lenses are stored for extensive periods of time (e.g. more than a couple days), it is safer to consider multiple-purpose solutions for long term. 

Hydrogen peroxide-based solutions are known for their exceptional disinfecting ability. At Washington Eye Doctors, in Washington, D.C., our patients are extremely satisfied with the cleanliness and comfort they experience when using hydrogen peroxide-based solutions for their contact lenses. Speak with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt to find out whether this solution is right for you.

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