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Don’t Be Too Cool To Wear Shades: Tips For Choosing The Right Sunglasses

80% of our memories are determined by what we see.

Your eyes are very sensitive instruments that require care similar to the way you would protect and nourish your skin. Like your skin, your eyes are negatively affected by too much exposure to the sun and toxins. In addition, both your eyes and skin require vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy and happy.

Protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is the most important step when it comes to maintaining healthy eye sight. In fact, sunglasses are just as important for eye protection as sunscreen is for the skin. While the danger of over-exposure to sunlight on the skin receives a lot of attention, the risks of eye damage and other resulting vision problems are often overlooked.

Fortunately, the right sunglasses are all you need to protect your eyes from UV-related damage. A good pair does not necessarily mean the most expensive glasses in the store. Instead, pay close attention to the level of UV protection that your prospective lenses provide.

When you shop for sunglasses, make sure they have a label indicating 99-100% UV Protection or UV 400. If there isn’t a label like this, it’s best to keep shopping. Sunglasses that are identified as “cosmetic” should definitely be avoided.

In addition, be aware that the tint or color of the lens has nothing to do with the level of UV protection. Dark lenses may look safer but this isn’t always the case. Glasses with light lenses designed for the best UV protection will keep your eyes healthy while ones with dark lenses and low UV protection won’t help to protect your eyes.

The shape of your sunglasses is also essential for the best eye protection. Choose a pair with a shape that covers your entire eye and doesn’t allow UV light to get in through the sides.

Even if your contact lenses offer UV protection, you should still wear sunglasses since the a contact lens don’t protect the entire surface of the eye. Putting on your sunglasses before you go out will eventually become automatic if you work on developing this habit and your eyes will thank you for it.

Your eyes actually risk exposure to dangerous UV rays whenever you’re outdoors, even on overcast days. While clouds provide shade, they don’t serve as a barrier to UV light. For additional protection, you might want to consider wearing a hat, especially one with a broad brim. Why not look stylish and protect your eyes at the same time?

Nowadays, most people have become diligent about covering their children in sunscreen before going to the park or beach. The same care should be extended to your little one’s eyes by making sure they wear sunglasses at the beach or whenever they will be exposed to the sun for long periods of time.

This resource is only a guide and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on a website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call a doctor, dial 911 or go directly to a hospital Emergency Room (ER).

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

All About Vision

American Optometric Association

Glaucoma Research Foundation

WebMD

Virtual Medical Centre

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Understanding The Important Role Of Your Eye Doctor For Eye Health

The human eye is made up of over 2 million working parts. 

It’s easy to take our eyes for granted. Many people think that as long as you can see fine, everything must be in working order. As with any part of your body, proactive and preventative health measures are important to the long-term health of your eyes.

Go See Your Eye Doctor. It’s recommended that you visit an eye care professional every two years. Even those lucky individuals with perfect vision should have their eyes examined at least once every two years to make sure there aren’t any underlying health issues that may not be obvious to the average person.

Since changes in your vision may occur in a very subtle manner over a long period of time, you might not recognize that your vision has declined or that you’ve developed other eye problems. When left untreated, any change in the condition of your eyes can worsen or cause unnecessary strain on your eyes. Vision can change quickly and unexpectedly as you get older, so individuals over the age of 40 should have their eyes checked even more frequently. People with diabetes should also schedule regular visits to their eye doctor since they’re at increased risk of eye problems.

If you experience any eye discomfort or changes in vision, it’s best to make an appointment to visit your doctor, even if the condition seems mild. It isn’t worth it to risk causing further damage by waiting or assuming that problems will go away by themselves.

Keep an Eye Out for Warning Signs. Here are some signs that you should try and have an eye exam as soon as possible:

  • Frequent eyestrain – If your eyes occasionally get tired, it’s probably not an issue. But frequent eyestrain or extended periods of fatigue may signal a problem with the health of your eyes.
  • Excessive Tears – Believe it or not, overly watery eyes may actually be associated with dry eyes. Your body creates tears to help protect and keep your eyes lubricated, so excessive tears may be in response to an underlying issues associated with dryness in your eye.
  • Regular Headaches – If you suddenly start experiencing headaches on a regular basis, it could be linked to an issue with your eyes or your vision.
  • Squinting – It may take some time to realize that you’re doing it, but squinting is a definite sign that you need to schedule a routine eye exam and get your eyes checked. Look at pictures of yourself, or ask someone else if they ever see you squinting, especially when you’re looking at a screen or trying to read text.
  • Trouble Seeing at Night or Sensitivity to Light – Light sensitivity and “night blindness” are usually related. Both can be caused by a few different conditions such as vitamin deficiency or even a sign of diabetes. Your doctor can give you a specific diagnosis for these light level problems.

The above signs aren’t usually symptoms of emergencies and are often resolved with glasses, contact lenses or eye drops, but you should still try to see your doctor as soon possible. If you experience any of the signs below, you should see your doctor immediately as they might mean something more serious.

  • Spots and Floaters – The sudden appearance of spots and floaters, which may look like tiny shadows, may signal a serious issue such as a detachment of the retina that can cause loss of eyesight.
  • Narrowing of Field of Vision – If you can only see directly in front of you, you may have developed glaucoma. If it isn’t treated, vision loss will continue.
  • Blurred Eyesight and Loss of Bright Colors – If things aren’t as clear or colors don’t look the same way they used to, it may be a sign of cataracts, which can lead to blindness over time unless you undergo surgery.

There are many other signs of both minor and major problems with your eyes, including redness, trouble focusing, red eyes and general eye pain. You should visit your eye care professional as soon as any symptoms appear. It’s a lot better to schedule an appointment for a false alarm than to wait until a particular eye condition becomes more severe and the health of your eyes deteriorates further.

Note: In the case of sudden vision loss, you should immediately contact your eye professional or visit the emergency room.

This resource is only a guide and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on a website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call a doctor, dial 911 or go directly to a hospital Emergency Room (ER).

References

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Health Guidance

All About Vision

American Academy of Family Physicians

Prevent Blindness America

Web MD

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What’s Causing Your Tired Eyes?

What’s causing your perky eyes to feel sluggish? In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, there are plenty of reasons.

But the good news is there are simple steps you can take to relieve tired eyes.

Symptoms of tired eyes

When you feel tired, you’re not at the top of your game. The same idea applies to your eyes. The term “tired eyes” is also synonymous with eyestrain. When your eyes are feeling fatigued, they may be red, watery, burning, sore, heavy or irritated.

Device & computer overload

Your eyes use various muscle groups to do everything from reading a book to watching the sunset. But your eyes work harder when you’re doing concentrated work like reading or using devices to scan social media, text, check email or watch videos. All of the work you do on your laptop counts too. As far as your eyes are concerned, it’s exhausting!

Look away

Give the muscle groups in your eyes a break from close work by focusing on distant images. As soon as you look up from your laptop or your phone, pick an object further away to look at. This quick exercise can provide immediate relief, because it relaxes your eye muscles.

Don’t forget to blink 

Concentrated work isn’t just hard on your eyes because it requires more effort. In fact, studies have shown close work also causes you to blink less frequently. Since blinking is your eye’s natural way of resting and staying lubricated, if you don’t blink enough, it can cause symptoms of fatigue and dry eye.

Proper screen positioning

Digital technology isn’t going anywhere; so when you use it, use it wisely.  According to optimal ergonomics, make sure your screen is 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes.  You also want it to be placed just below your line of sight, which is 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes. This helps to prevent awkward head/neck positioning that can further aggravate eyestrain.

Excessive lighting 

Working on a computer in less than ideal lighting can cause tired eyes. Too much light coming through windows or bright room light is common in an office environment, but there are ways to improve it. If the lighting is harsh, don’t turn on overhead fluorescent lights. Control natural light by using blinds or shades, and try to position your computer so windows are to the side of it.

Easy on the eyes

Today computer monitors are being designed with smart technology that eases eye strain. Flicker-free images and reduced blue light emissions are just a few features that make newer monitors, smart phones and other screens less taxing on your eyes. Familiarize yourself with your settings too, because optimal text size, screen brightness, contrast and color can all help to prevent eye fatigue.

See for yourself! In comparison to your surrounding workstation, does your monitor glow like a light source or blend in? If it glows, it’s too bright.

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8 Tips Your Eyes Will Thank You For

Eyes use about 65% of your brainpower. That’s more than any other part of the body!

Our eyes are amazing! They’re such an important part of our daily function and do so much for us every day. We often unknowingly place our eyes under unnecessary stress and leave them susceptible to injury. We can’t always avoid putting stress on our eyes or dodge every incident that may hurt them. Fortunately, there are a few adjustments that may help protect and nourish this complex part of our body. Below are some simple changes that can benefit the health of your eyes.

20/20/20 Rule. Between work and home, we’re increasing the hours we spend in front of television, computer and phone screens. Our eyes are forced to constantly adjust to different colors and sizes of objects between all the texts and funny cat videos we view on the daily. When looking at a screen, you actually blink less often, which can leave your eyes feeling tired, dry, and irritated.

After 20 minutes of staring at a screen (about the time it takes to stream your favorite episode on Netflix) take a break from the screen for at least 20 seconds and look at something that is about 20 feet away. Letting your eyes focus on something that is at a more comfortable distance than the phone in your hand or the TV screen in front of you allows your eyes to relax and reset. There are even apps and software programs to help remind you when it’s time to put the screen down and give your eyes a vacation.

Bliiiiiink. All of those i’s aren’t a typo, it’s a way to remind you to take a long blink for your eyes. Close your eyes, keep them closed for a few seconds and then open them slowly. Blinking is a part of your natural body function and it keeps your eyes healthy. Consciously thinking about blinking will help your eyelids do their job and give your eyes a well-needed break, even if it’s just for a few seconds. There’s a lot of content lately about how good mindfulness is for our overall well-being, so consider mindful blinking a great way to help your eyes too.

Adjust Your Screens. Ways to reduce the strain on your eyes while working on the computer include having anti-glare screens put in and ensuring that images are clear and don’t flicker, increasing the font size on your screen, making sure the screen is at eye level, and using a larger monitor. In some cases, people need different glasses for computer work, so ask your eye care professional if you notice any difficulty or discomfort when looking at the computer screen.

See the Right Light. Lighting should be adjusted so that it is neither too bright nor too dim. If lighting is too bright a glare can appear on you television, computer, and phone screens and this glare can cause your eyes to strain. If lighting is too dim, reading printed text may also cause eyestrain or dry eyes. A soft desk light on the side can help reduce stress on the eyes. In addition, there are several awesome phone and computer applications that adapt the color of your screen to ease eyestrain depending on the time of day and natural light in the given area.

D-eye-Y Protection. Do-It-Yourself projects at home can lead to a great sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, they can also cause eye injuries if you aren’t properly equipped. Before mowing your lawn, inspect it for any debris. You might even want to wear goggles or sunglasses to be on the safe side. Eye protection should be worn when sawing, sanding, and drilling. Fine particles can cause irritation, while large particles may cause serious damage. If something ever does become caught in your eye, don’t rub your eye because this can cause further harm. If you can’t wash it out, seek professional assistance. When handling paints and chemicals, make sure you read the instructions beforehand to know if you need eye protection. If these products come in contact with your eyes you should flush your eyes out right away for about 15 minutes and consult a medical professional if irritation persists.

Give Your Eyes a Sporting Chance. Make having the right eye protection when participating in sports part of your equipment check. There are specific goggles for skiing and swimming. Any racquet sport where a small ball is used also poses a particular danger of eye injury. If you’ve had any eye problems in the past, especially problems that required surgery, you should consult an eye professional before participating in any contact sport.

Another Reason to Quit Smoking. Smoke often irritates eyes and prolonged smoking can lead to more serious problems including chronic dry eyes. Smoking also significantly raises the risk of developing cataracts. These cataracts can eventually lead to blindness. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of several health problems including those that cause vision loss.

Watch What You Eat. While taking the appropriate steps to protect your eyes, you might also want to consider making changes towards a healthier diet. Studies show that Vitamins C, Vitamin A, folic acid, selenium and zinc help slow down age-related eye conditions. Because they’re packed with nutrients, eating fruits and vegetables can be especially beneficial to your eyes as well as to you overall health. Carrots are great, because they are high in Beta Carotene, a type of Vitamin that is good for your eyes. Did you know that blueberries are one of the healthiest foods for your eyes? Add them to smoothies or your breakfast batter so you can have your (pan)cake and eat it, too.

As people become more and more health-conscious, it’s important to remember the importance of your eyes and consider how they help you function throughout the day. By taking simple steps to protect your eyes and provide them with essential nutrients, you can help improve your chances of having good eyesight far into your later years.

This resource is only a guide and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on a website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call a doctor, or go directly to a hospital Emergency Room (ER).

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Health Hub

All About Vision

American Optometric Association

Virtual Medical Centre

Eye Doctor Guide

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Contact Lens Care: How To Keep Your Contacts In Tip Top Shape

Several million people in the world wear contact lenses.

While some people wear contact lenses due to eye conditions that glasses can’t fix, the majority of people wear them for reasons including convenience, appearance and the wider range of vision they offer. Regardless of your reason for choosing contact lenses, it’s important to handle your lenses carefully so you can avoid infections and other eye problems.

Cleanse Your Lenses. You work to protect and keep things out of your eyes, but when you wear contact lenses, you’re putting something in your eye intentionally. Before inserting or removing your contact lenses, always wash your hands well with soap and water and dry them with a clean towel so no bacteria or germs hitch a ride. Try to avoid perfumed or oily soaps that may stick to the lens’ surface because they can cause irritation. Getting into the habit of inserting and removing the same lens first will help you avoid mixing up the lenses for the left and right eye.

When you store your lenses, clean and disinfect them according to the instructions on the label. Always rinse them using the recommended lens solution since not all solutions can be used for all types of contact lenses. You shouldn’t substitute your lens solution with water since it won’t properly disinfect your lenses and could contaminate them. This can lead to serious eye infections.

Fresh solution is important when you store your lenses. In order to avoid contamination, make sure the tip of the solution bottle doesn’t touch any surfaces. Your case should also be cleaned on a regular basis, allowed to air dry, and preferably replaced with a new one every month or two. It’s best to leave your lenses in their case for at least four hours between uses to make sure they are totally disinfected.

“I Finally Got My Lenses In, Now I Need to Take Them Out!?” How often you replace your lenses can range from daily to monthly depending on the type your eye care professional prescribes you. Since wearing guidelines for contact lenses vary depending on the type of lens and wearer, you should follow the schedule suggested by your eye care professional. Daily wear contact lenses have to be removed nightly and extended wear lenses can be kept in overnight – usually for up to a week without needing to be taken out.

You might find it annoying or difficult to take your lenses out each time but your eyes will benefit from periods of rest from your contacts. Wearing your glasses for a couple of days a week gives your eyes a chance to breathe and rest. This will let enough oxygen reach your corneas to keep them healthy. There are some other times when you may want to temporarily remove your contact lenses. Unless you have goggles with a very firm seal, it’s best to take out your contacts before going swimming. In addition to the discomfort you may experience from the chlorine in pools, you’ll also risk infection from bacteria and other microorganisms in any water you swim in.

If you suffer from allergies it helps to remove your contacts when your allergies are especially strong. Allergens can stick to the lenses making allergy symptoms even worse. If you really don’t want to wear glasses, make sure you clean your contacts more often during the allergy season.

Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to wear contact lenses when traveling on airplanes. This is because of the low humidity in aircraft cabins, which contributes to dry eye and lens discomfort. Removing your lenses and applying eye drops in your eyes before and during the flight may help, especially if you plan on taking a nap during your plane ride. If the symptoms become severe, you should probably just switch to eyeglasses when flying.

Getting the Most Out of Your Lenses

Most people who begin using contact lenses start to prefer them and don’t want to go back to wearing glasses. With careful handling of your lenses and good hygiene habits, you can avoid most of the negative effects associated with lenses like infections.

Contacts have improved over the years and many now offer a built-in UV-blocking agent. It’s still important to remember these lenses are not intended to replace sunglasses since they only cover the cornea, not the entire eye.

Make sure you always keep eye drops handy at home, work and while traveling. It’s also important to use drops that are appropriate for your lenses, such as Clear Eyes Contact Lens Relief. When using other types of eye drops be sure to take your lenses out before putting the drops in your eyes. Dry lenses are uncomfortable, affect your vision, and can potentially scratch your eyes. In addition, dry lenses rip more easily and will have to be replaced more often. You can also maximize the performance of your lenses by keeping your appointments with your eye doctor. This will help to make sure your prescription is up-to-date and you’re wearing the lenses that are best for your needs.

This resource is only a guide and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on a website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call a doctor, or go directly to a hospital Emergency Room (ER).

References

WebMD

American Academy of Ophthalmology

All About Vision

American Optometric Association

Eye Contact Guide

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Best Ways To Prevent Dry Eyes This Winter

Wintertime is all about brisk afternoons, chilly evenings, bundling up for snowy excursions or relaxing with hot cocoa by the fireplace.  Your eyes need to be in tip-top shape to soak it in – the twinkling holiday lights, delicate snowflakes and scenic views.

But cold winter temperatures, dry air, biting wind and even indoor heat can make your eyes dry, red, and irritated, and can put a damper on wintertime enjoyment. So how can you prevent symptoms of dry eyes this winter?

We’ve got helpful tips to keep your eyes healthy, cheery and bright.

Understanding dry eyes

Simply put, it’s all about the quality and quantity of your tears. Your eyelids protect, clean and lubricate your eyeballs every time you blink. Your natural tears are actually a combination of fatty oils, mucus and water.  These amazing liquids work together to keep your eyes in excellent working condition.

When your eyes get dry, that’s an indication that one of the three essential layers is off balance and either your tears are evaporating too quickly, or your eyes aren’t producing enough tears. Since environmental factors especially during the winter months can zap the air of moisture, dry eyes are more common during cold weather.

Close your eyes more often

It may sound too good to be true, but closing your eyes more often for longer periods of time can prevent symptoms of dry eyes. This is helpful if you’re in high altitudes or dry air. Closing your eyes for a few minutes throughout the day can keep them moist and prevent tears from evaporating too quickly. Just don’t blame us if your boss thinks you’re taking a nap.

Use Clear Eyes® eye drops

Even if your eyes feel fine, using artificial tears like Preservative Free Clear Eyes Pure Relief® for Dry Eyes can help them stay that way. If your eyes are well lubricated, you can stay ahead of dry eye symptoms. Lubricating drops, also known as artificial tears, augment your natural tears for daily moisturizing comfort, and Clear Eyes Pure Relief® for Dry Eyes has the added benefit of being Preservative Free, ideal for already sensitive eyes.

Bump up moisture in the air

Even when you’re indoors, the lack of humidity outside can still make your eyes extremely dry. You can add moisture by using a humidifier. Humidifiers add tiny droplets of water into the air that can make a big difference to your sensitive eyes.  In higher altitudes like skiing destinations in the mountains, it’s not uncommon to find a humidifier in every room!

Water consumption & fatty acids

You should already know staying hydrated by drinking lots of water helps your eyes produce tears, but did you know your diet helps too? According to the American Optometric Association, essential fatty acids like omega-3s are beneficial for retinal function and overall eye health. These acids can be found in a variety of cooked fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, scallops and snapper and there are a variety of supplement options available for these key nutrients.

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Travel & Malaria

Malaria is a major killer, a mosquito borne infectious disease caused by parasitic protozoans belonging to the plasmodium type.

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented

According to the World Health Organisation there were 207 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2012 and 627,000 deaths. The risk of disease can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites by using insect repellents, Mosquito treated net or use of insecticides and draining of stagnant water.

For expert advice on artemisinin based treatment and prophylaxis, contact us:

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