FDA Issues Contact Lens Guide for Children & Teens

Some kids have vision correction needs from a very young age, such as 6 or even younger. Fortunately at-school vision tests are detecting myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism at younger ages than ever, but once vision needs are detected, parents have to make a decision about what type of correction their child should have.

Many children are content with glasses, and may even like the chance to wear stylish frames, but other children will want to wear contact lenses. If your child is asking to get contact lenses, the FDA has created a page that can help you make the decision about whether your child should have contact lenses.

What’s the Right Age?

So, when is your child old enough for contact lenses? That is a difficult question, but most eye doctors don’t recommend contacts for children less than 12. Most of the benefits of contacts, such as improvement in sports and self-perception, increase after this age, and the risk tends to go down.

However, you also need to make sure your child is mature enough for contact lenses. This means they have to be good at following directions and capable of maintaining a contact lens cleaning routine. To determine whether your child is mature enough, look at how well your child does many basic hygiene activities. Do they tend to thoroughly clean their hands and face? Do they brush and floss their teeth regularly? Can they keep their hair neat if they choose to?

Potential Dangers of Contact Lenses

According to a recent study, contact lenses account for about a fourth of children who go to the emergency room for complications of medical devices. The most common complications of contact lenses are infections and eye abrasions. To avoid these risks, it’s important to make sure your child is following good hygiene practices like:

  • Always wash hands and thoroughly dry before touching contact lenses
  • Clean your contact lenses only with materials recommended by your eye doctor
  • Don’t wear lenses for too long
  • Don’t wear someone else’s lenses
  • Don’t wear lenses not prescribed by y our eye doctor
  • Never put lenses in a red eye
  • Always report itching, burning, and irritation

Complications associated with contact lenses are potentially serious and can threaten a child’s vision, so take the time to evaluate your child’s maturity before allowing them to wear contact lenses.  And keep watch to make sure they’re following proper hygiene. You should also watch for red eyes and inflammation in your child, and if you see it, recommend your child stop wearing contact lenses until you see your eye doctor.

For more information on appropriate vision correction at any age, please contact a local eye doctor.

Accutane and Eye Infections

The once-popular acne medication known as Accutane has been linked to several serious side effects including liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and more when the drug is taken over a long period of time. Several lawsuits have been filed and won due to these side effects. Another side effect linked to Accutane is that of eye infections.

Research published in Israel by an Atlanta LASIK surgeon points to a study involving 15,000 patients gathered over time. The study split the patients into three groups: those without acne who did not take Accutane; those who had acne and did not take Accutane; those with acne who took Accutane. It was found that the group who took Accutane had a much higher risk of developing conjunctivitis.

Although eye irritation is noted as a common severe side effect, the incidence of eye infections is not as well known. The reason conjunctivitis may be so high among those who take Accutane may be due to wearing contact lenses while on the drug. If Accutane is known for drying out the eyes and leading to irritation, it isn’t much of a leap to realize the drug is the reason some of these patients have a high incidence of eye infection.

According to the LASIK surgeon, people who take Accutane should not wear contact lenses. He says, “LASIK is dangerous while on this medication and not something I recommend.”

When you speak to your ophthalmologist or optometrist, you should disclose all medications you are taking. This helps them either recommend alternatives for your eyesight, or narrow down the reason you are getting eye infections. As the LASIK surgeon stated, you should not be taking Accutane if you are interested in this procedure. Chronic dry eyes is not a good indicator for a successful LASIK surgery.

If you have an eye infection and wear contact lenses, find an eye doctor in your area who can help to diagnose what the problem may be.

Google Glasses: The Wave of the Future?

It may sound like a joke, but it isn’t: Google, the heavyweight champion of the Internet, is developing a device called “Project Glass” that is designed to integrate Internet access with glasses lenses. The project is still in experimental stages and may not see the light of day for many years down the road, but Google has released a video showcasing how they hope people might use this Internet eyewear in the future. Ideally, you would be able to:

  • Map a route
  • Listen to music
  • Check the weather
  • Communicate with friends
  • Schedule events

Google says the development team has been looking for ways to seamlessly integrate the technology with prescription glasses, but they admit that this aspect of the project has met more than a few roadblocks. If you don’t need a glasses prescription (or if you wear contacts) this probably wouldn’t be an issue, but it would limit the amount of people who would be able to make daily use of Google Glasses – unless those people took advantage of LASIK eye surgery to correct their vision.

If you are looking for an experienced ophthalmologist in your area, please contact eyes.com today.

Pentagon Orders Prototypes of Advanced Optic Contact Lenses

The US military is the first customer for an advanced optic contact lens designed to give soldiers a much better view of the battlefield while using heads up display (HUD) units. The two-part system is designed to replace the current HUD units which are bulky and are limited in effectiveness by the soldiers’ limited field of vision.

These advanced optic contact lenses, designed by Innovega, a Washington, DC technology company, are multifocal lenses, like the advanced IOLs ReZoom, ReStor, and Tecnis. But the IOLs work by bringing a plurality of images to the retina, only one of which will be focused and therefore seen by the user. The contact lenses, on the other hand, work by bringing a plurality of focused images to the retina, allowing the user to focus on multiple objects at different distances all at once. For this specific application, the lens allows a soldier to focus on the HUD as well as on the rest of the battlefield.

How It Works

These multifocal lenses are divided into two zones. The internal zone sends light from the HUD toward the middle of the pupil where it can be conveyed to the macula, the zone on the retina responsible for detailed vision. The outer filter focuses light from the surrounding environment to the pupil’s rim.

This dual-focus display allows people to focus on multiple things at once, something human beings are not normally able to do.

The Frontiers of Augmented Reality

In addition to the military application, executives at Innovega hope to begin marketing the lens to the public, potentially as soon as 2014. The lenses have a number of potential applications, such as allowing 3-D interfaces by allowing different images to be projected onto each lens. This could be used for movies, or for immersive gaming.

The lenses could also be a solution to distracted driving, allowing drivers to focus simultaneously on the road as well as their car’s instrument panels, allowing them to perform a wide variety of tasks without taking their eyes off the road.

The Innovega display system is also seen as a potential competitor to Google’s Project Glass, which would allow people to view personal HUDs while walking around city streets and automatically see information about businesses and other local services.

This could also be utilized by law enforcement and security if integrated with the new Ex-Eye system being implemented in Spain. The Ex-Eye system uses advanced facial recognition to scan up to 100,000 faces per second, flagging known criminals and suspected terrorists to stop them before they are able to execute their plans. This security technology will be implemented at the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil, and it may be able to be significantly more effective if combined with Innovega’s advanced contact lenses.

Cautious Optimism

Although Innovega is justifiably excited about their display units, we should be a little more skeptical. Previous experience with trying to impose multiple viewpoints has met with mixed success. LASIK monovision and multifocal lenses give good results for some people, but others experience disorientation, motion sickness, and a significant fraction of users are unable to adapt to their plural visual system.

To learn more about advanced lenses that may be able to help your vision today, please contact a local ophthalmologist today.

Preventing Eye Strain

Eye strain – technically referred to as “asthenopia” – is becoming increasingly common in recent years as we continue to rely on countless forms of screen-based technology. Eye strain can occur in one or both of your eyes, and it often leads to chronic headaches, blurred vision, dry or burning eyes, and sore neck muscles.

While eye strain usually goes away with sleep and rest, it is sometimes a symptom of a larger underlying problem, such as eye muscle imbalance or a refractive error. If you frequently suffer from eye strain, you should visit your eye doctor to be tested for additional problems.

The number one cause of eye strain today is computer vision syndrome (CVS), but eye strain is also often caused by:

  • Reading
  • Failure to blink
  • Visual tasks performed in dim lighting

The pain associated with eye strain can be significantly reduced if you take the time to perform eye exercises whenever you are sitting at a computer or performing visually intensive work. It is best to take frequent breaks from your computer throughout the day. Try to perform eye exercises every 20 minutes. Closing your eyes for a bit and blinking frequently can also help reduce your symptoms.  If your eye strain is caused by an underlying problem, your ophthalmologist may prescribe eye drops, glasses, or contacts to help you.

If you are suffering from symptoms of eye strain, contact an experienced ophthalmologist in your area today to schedule an initial consultation.

Presbyopia

Having 20/20 vision is nice. It’s the way your vision should be. Millions of people need corrective lenses to see 20/20 because of myopia. However, these individuals, as well as those who have natural 20/20 vision may find when they hit their early 40s that things that were once so crystal clear up close have begun to get fuzzy. This blurred vision may be more than a passing thing, it may be presbyopia.

Presbyopia is part of aging, and unavoidable for nearly everyone after they’ve reached 40. It’s the reason your grandparents all wear reading glasses, and it’s the reason your parents hold their books and magazines as far away from them as they can.  Presbyopia is, for all intents and purposes, age-related farsightedness.

Why people develop presbyopia is not fully understood, and there are a couple theories. One is that the lens begins to become hard due to proteins. This makes the lens less flexible to focal changes. Another theory is that the ciliary muscle begins to weaken. This makes it harder for the lens curvature to steepen to see things near. A third, and newest, theory is that the lens continues to grow, and by age 40 it has grown so much that the ciliary muscle does not have enough space to contract and steepen the lens. However, this last theory is not held by many eye doctors right now.

Whatever causes presbyopia can only be fixed by the old standbys: corrective lenses, LASIK, and conductive keratoplasty (CK).

If you are 40 or older and have noticed your near vision beginning to blur, find an experienced eye doctor in your area to test you for presbyopia today.

Study Reveals Improper Contact Lens Care is Common

According to a recent study appearing in the journal Optometry and Vision Science, only 2 percent of contact lens users are compliant in contact lens hygiene, while more than 80 percent of contact users believe they are compliant.

Poor Care of Contact Lenses

There are actually quite a few guidelines for proper contact lens use and care. Some of the most common ways people deviate from these guidelines include:

  • Not removing your contact lenses before going to bed.
  • Wearing your contact lenses while you are swimming.
  • Showering while wearing your contact lenses.
  • Using your contact lenses longer than you should before switching to a new pair.
  • Failing to use fresh cleaning solution every day.

In some cases, failing to care for contact lenses properly can lead to serious ocular consequences. Improper care can cause harmful debris, bacteria and other things to come into contact with your eye.

Consequences of Improper Contact Lens Care

In the study, 72 percent of contact lens wearers reported they had experienced discomfort while wearing their lenses. Forty-seven percent said they had gotten an infection from their contact lenses.

Improper contact lens hygiene can cause a number of eye infections, including pink eye and E. coli infections. The most serious cases of eye infection can lead to blindness or even damage the eye itself.

Proper care and hygiene for contact lenses includes:

  • Always wash your hands before handling your contact lenses.
  • Throw away old lenses and switch to a new pair as instructed.
  • Use your lens solution to rinse your contact lenses, not water.
  • Do not store your lenses in water only.
  • Replace the case you keep your contacts in every three months.
  • Follow cleaning and storing directions for your contact lenses.

You should also discuss additional care instructions with your eye doctor. Your eye doctor can provide you with detailed instructions regarding how to care for your specific contact lenses.

For more information about contact lenses and contact lens alternatives, please find an experienced eye doctor in your area.

Contact Lens Risks – Lens Solution

There can be several contact lens riskscaused by prolonged usage and improper cleaning. However, even proper cleaning may not protect you from the potential risks of contact lens usage.

According to the FDA, Complete MoisturePlus Multipurpose Contact Lens Solution was recalled in May due to a potential contamination of a deadly infectionknown as acanthamoeba keratitis. Over 20 cases of infection linked to this lens solution have been reported to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, but the FDA fears many consumers may be unaware of the recall. If you have a bottle of Complete MoisturePlus Multipurpose Contact Lens Solution, discontinue using it immediately.

Avoiding Contact Lens Risks

The best way to avoid the risks of contact lenses is through a refractive surgical procedure such as LASIK. With a LASIK procedure, you can free yourself both from the hassles and risks associated with contact lenses. Talk to your ophthalmologist today about your many options for LASIK surgery and get on your way to preventing these types of unnecessary risks.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of LASIK, please use the doctor locator at eyes.com to find an experienced ophthalmologist in your area today.

Happy Halloween; Don’t Go Blind

Once again, ophthalmologists are warning people who are deciding to dress up for Halloween this year to be careful with decorative contact lenses. All of these lenses may look great with scary costumes (vampires are a very popular choice with these lenses), but it’s what might happen to your eyes as a result of wearing them that’s truly frightening.

Contact lenses are prescription only, fitted by a trained ophthalmologist. Sticking ill fitting, over-the-counter lenses into your eyes may cause pain and inflammation. Redness, tearing, and serious pain are not uncommon. These risks can lead to corneal abrasions and blindness.

Goopy, pus-filled eyes, and deep red around the pupils is truly a terrifying site to behold. For you, those around you, and your eye doctor eye infections can be very difficult to deal with. Prescription eye drops, sitting in the dark to avoid light sensitivity (sort of like vampires), and more is not worth it.

Although some of these lenses have been banned for several years, and contacts in general have been classified as medical devices by the FDA since 2005, it is still very easy to get them from costume shops, pop-up Halloween stores, and even beauty supply stores. Know that you risk blindness for one or two days of looking scary.

Eye health is important to remember all year long. When Halloween comes around, if your perfect costume requires you to put these decorative lenses into your eyes, you may want to speak with an eye doctor before, and not after, the big Halloween party.

If you are suffering any of the side effects of placing decorative contacts into your eyes, please find an experienced eye doctor in your area immediately to avoid serious injury or blindness.