Category Archives: contacts

Vision and Pregnancy

A common question that many women come across during their pregnancy is: can my vision change during pregnancy?

During pregnancy a decrease in tear production can be expected, which leads to dryness in eyes, irritation and discomfort. Hormones can also cause fluid buildup in your eyes, similar to how your feet and ankles swell up. Changes such as hormones, blood circulation, metabolism and fluid retention can each affect your eyes and eyesight during your pregnancy. For example, even if it’s a small change, water retention can cause thickness and curvature of the cornea of your eye to slightly increase. It can still affect how well your contacts or glasses correct your vision. If you wear glasses, although it’s unlikely you’ll need to change your prescription, it can still be possible.

Some vision changes can lead to a more serious problem such as Preeclampsia, which is marked by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ. Symptoms can include: light sensitivity, blurry vision or seeing flashing lights. If any of these symptoms occur call your doctor ASAP, or go to the ER.

As mentioned before, many women who experience vision changes, will report that they were minor changes. If any of this happens, here are some tips on what you can do to help:

  • If your eyes get dry, ask your eye doctor to recommend lubricating drops.
  • If you normally use contacts, give your eyes a rest. Consider wearing glasses until after delivery. Or check the label to ensure the drops can be used with the contacts, some contacts contain preservatives that can harm soft lenses. To be more safe, talk to your doctor first to check if the ingredients are safe for pregnant women.
  • Don’t switch to a new prescription. Unless the changes are very pronounced, wait until after delivery when your vision will go back to normal.

Luckily, many of these changes are temporary and will reverse themselves several months after delivery.

What Your Prescription Means

If you are one of the estimated 11 million Americans that has a common vision problem such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, then you probably have a prescription for corrective eyewear such as glasses or contact lenses. Do you understand what your script is for and what it means about your vision?

The common eye disorders mentioned above are known as refractive errors and they occur when the eye doesn’t correctly bend, or refract, light as it enters the eye. Let’s take a look at each of these and what it means about your prescription.

The first step to understanding your eyeglass prescription is knowing what “OD” and OS” mean. They are abbreviations for oculus dexter and oculus sinister, which are Latin terms for right eye and left eye. Your eyeglass prescription also may have a column labeled “OU.” This is the abbreviation for the Latin term oculus uterque, which means “both eyes.”

  • Nearsightedness or myopia is when light enters the cornea and is refracted, or “sent” to a spot in the eye before reaching the retina. For people who are nearsighted, the light waves are sent to the wrong place on the retina. Nearsighted is a condition where objects up close appear clearly, while objects far away appear blurry. The extent or amount that a patient is will be denoted in the number on the prescription. If the number appearing under the heading sphere has a minus sign (–), you are nearsighted.
  • Farsightedness or hyperopia means that the light is refracted to a place beyond the retina. Farsightedness means that items far away are clear, but activities like reading and knitting are difficult, because nearby objects appear fuzzy or unfocused. Some people may not notice any problems with their vision, especially when they are young. If the number appearing under the heading sphere on your prescription has a plus sign, you are farsighted.
  • Astigmatism is another refractive error, distorting objects both near and far, so that everything appears out of focus and skewed.

Call Independent Eye Care to have your annual exam and find out more about your prescription.

Choices for Contact Lenses

Italian Architect, Mathematician and Inventor Leonardo daVinci (1452-1519) produced the first known sketches that suggested the optics of the human eye could be altered by placing the cornea directly in contact with water. More than 350 years later those ideas were researched and studied to examine how the production of corrective lenses could conform to the front surface of the eye. In 2016, contact lenses are a common choice for people who would like clear vision without the bother of glasses to tote around all day. Since the inception of contact lenses to the vision field, they have come a long way. Let’s examine the types of contact lenses available and what might be right for you.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology there are two general types of contact lenses: hard and soft.

  • Hard Lenses – The hard lenses most commonly used today are rigid, gas-permeable lenses (RGP for short). They are made of plastics and other materials such as silicone or fluoropolymers. Hard lenses hold their shape, yet allow the free flow of oxygen through the lenses to the cornea. RGP lenses may be the best choice when the cornea has enough astigmatism (is shaped like an egg instead of an orange); a soft lens will not provide sharp vision. They may also be preferable when a person has allergies or tends to form protein deposits on his or her contacts.
  • Soft Lenses – Soft lenses are the choice of most contact lens wearers. These lenses are comfortable and come in many versions.

In addition there are sub-types of contact lenses that can be chosen based upon your lifestyle of preference for care. For example there are daily wear lenses, which are removed nightly and are replaced on an individualized schedule, and then there are extended wear lenses, which are worn overnight but are removed at least weekly for thorough cleaning and disinfection. Disposable-wear lenses are more expensive, but convenient. They are removed nightly and replaced on a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. Talk to your eye doctor about the style that would be right for your life.


Contact Lens Care

If you are one of the millions of Americans who wear contact lenses, then you know the overwhelming feeling of figuring out the hundreds of products displayed in the lens care aisle in the supermarket or drugstore.  To avoid eye infections, you know that you need to care for your lenses properly.  Following a careful and clean regime with your contacts is extremely important for the health of your eyes.  Let’s review some guidelines for the safe handling of contact lenses.

  1. Always wash your hands with soap and water before putting in or taking out your contacts.  Dry your hands on a clean, lint-free towel.
  2. Avoid wetting lenses with tap water or saliva from your mouth.  Saliva is not a sterile environment.
  3. The FDA recommends that you rub the lens in the palm of your hand with a few drops of solution, even if you are using a “no-rub” product.
  4. Following the recommendations of your eye doctor, use a solution to remove loosened debris.
  5. Place the lenses in a care case and fill with fresh solution.  Do not top off with old solution.
  6. Do not touch the tip of your solution bottle to any surface to avoid contamination.
  7. Do not transfer solution to travel size cases to avoid contamination as well.
  8. If you use hair spray, use it before you put in your contacts. It’s also a good idea to keep your fingernails short and smooth to avoid damaging your lenses or scratching the eye.
  9. Put on make up after you put in contacts so you don’t get any on your lenses. Take out contact lenses before you remove makeup for the same reason.
  10. Clean you contact case with either sterile cleaning solution or hot tap water.
  11. Follow the regimen that your eye doctor set out for your specific type of contact lenses.  Do not change the regimen without approval to avoid getting infections.