This blog post could alternatively be named “How to make your optometrist REALLY REALLY mad”. I had an emergency patient yesterday who had a bloody looking eye after having her makeup done for a family wedding. The makeup artist applied fake eyelashes onto my patients lashes and instead of pre-trimming them before application, she trimmed them with a scissor once the lashes were already glued on. It seems that somehow the scissors made some kind of contact with my patients eye ??!! which immediately caused some discomfort as well as popping some surface blood vessels. My patient had a sore ugly eye which aside from causing her some mild pain for the duration of the wedding will also require some heavy-duty Photoshopping skills by the photographer. I am not a fan of fake eyelashes as I have had many patients come to me for treatment after developing an allergy to the glue that bonds the fake lashes to the real lashes. Other common mishaps involving false lashes include the possibility of bacteria getting trapped between the fake and real lashes causing infection, as well as corneal damage from fake lashes or glue falling into the eye. And of course there is always the danger of a “whoopsie” on the part of the makeup artist and having a scissor end up waaaaay too close to your eyeball. My advice for long lashes? Apply a mascara primer first and two coats of mascara – your eyes and your eye doctor will thank you.
Eating just one orange a day can slash your risk of developing macular degeneration by 60%. A recent study in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition followed 2,000 patients over the age of 50 for 15 years and found that the patients who ate an orange a day had a significantly decreased risk of AMD (age related macular degeneration) compared to those patients who ate no oranges at all. Usually research involving oranges concentrates on the effects of the vitamin C, E, and A the oranges contain, but this study put an emphasis on theflavonoids found in oranges. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that have immune and anti-inflammatory effects and are found in most fruits and vegetables. The study examined other foods that have flavonoids such as tea, apples and red wine (yes please) but for some reason oranges were the only food that aided in the prevention of AMD. The authors of the study acknowledge that more research has to be done before doctors can definitely prescribe an orange a day to keep AMD away.
As a dry eye patient myself I empathize with my fellow dry eye sufferers. For many of us, dry eye is a chronic condition that waxes and wanes for myriads of reasons. Dry eye sounds innocuous but anyone who has experienced it knows it can severely affect the ability to see both clearly and comfortably. Dry eye is a condition in which a person does not have enough “quality” tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. I give the example of driving with a dirty windshield – in order to see clearly to drive you need the wipers and the washer fluid in tandem to make the window clear and allow you to see well. So too if the tears and the eyelids are not working well together the vision will be impaired – like driving with a filthy windshield.
One reason for having dry eye is inadequate production of tears. This can be caused by age, gender (females), medications (such as antihistamines) and certain medical conditions. A dry and windy climate will also contribute to dry eye. Winter in New Jersey is tough on dry eye – the low humidity combined with artificial heating systems, especially the forced air types, wreak havoc on an already dry eye. Another reason for dry eye can be poor quality tears. I will address this more in length in another blog.
So how do we treat dry eye once it is diagnosed? Treatments are tailored specifically for each patient depending on the underlying cause for the dry eye. Ocular lubricants (fancy term for eye drops) are the mainstay of treatment and there are both over the counter and prescription options. If blepharitis (inflamed and irritated eyelids) is the culprit then lid hygiene is initiated as well.
In future blogs we will talk about more specific dry eye situations such as dry eye in contact lens wearers, dry eye in patients with underlying autoimmune diseases, and even dry eye in children.
Who doesn’t love sunglasses? After all, how many fashion accessories can also claim to be important medical devices? Whether you prefer glamorous or sporty, classic or trendy, sunglasses are a fashion statement that never goes out of style. In honor of National Sunglasses Day which takes place on June 27, here are a few facts about sunglasses that might be new to you.
Size matters. This season has seen a trend in “micro” sunglasses both on celebs and on the catwalk. Don’t be lured into this fad – not only do the eyes themselves need UV protection, so does the whole lid area and all the skin around the eyes in order to prevent melanoma. Also, do you really want to revisit nineties fashion?
Kids need sunglasses too. Because children have naturally larger pupils (pupil = that dark hole in the center of the eye that lets light in) more harmful UV rays reach their retinas and can cause future damage. Also interesting is the fact that kids are short and tend to look up more to see the world which causes them to look into the sun more often than adults. Parents are reluctant to spend money on kids sunglasses because kids lose stuff. A lot. One easy way around this is to make sure that kids who wear prescription glasses get photochromic lenses – the ones that magically morph into sunglasses when exposed to sunlight – no keeping track of a second pair. Kids that don’t wear prescription glasses will be excited to wear a cool grown up accessory and wearing them on a strap is a sporty way to make sure they don’t get lost.
Just because sunglasses are dark does not mean they have UV protection! In fact many of those cheap sunglasses you buy off street vendors are tinted but have no UV and are even more dangerous than not wearing anything at all. If the glasses are dark your pupil will open up even wider to let more light in, but since there is no UV in the lens, it allows more dangerous light into the eye. Sunglasses don’t need to be expensive but they do need to have UVA and UVB protection which should be indicated by a sticker on the sunglasses.
No matter what your motivation is, be it hiding from the paparazzi or just sporting a posh headband, quality sunglasses are a fun investment in your eye health.
For more information on National Sunglass Day visit
For many allergy sufferers mere avoidance of the offending allergens is not enough to prevent symptoms. The first line of treatment is to use high quality over the counter artificial tears which help to lubricate irritated eyes as well as to wash out and dilute the pollen that reaches the eye. Cool compresses are another natural way to relieve symptoms. Although there are a myriad of over the counter topical allergy drops on the market, it is hard to figure out which ones might be right for you, don’t hesitate to make an appointment so we can figure it out. Prescription antihistamine and mast cell inhibitor drops are very effective, and if these are still not enough we can prescribe a pulsed dose of topical steroids to get things under control. In some instances a consult with an allergist may be necessary if there are other systemic symptoms such as asthma, coughing and rashes that are not being addressed. Oral medications or immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be helpful as a more long term solution.
Many other eye conditions can mimic allergy, so it is important not to self-diagnose. Dry eyes can also cause itching, and using an antihistamine, either orally or topically, can make dry eye worse by drying out the ocular surface. Very often contact lens wearers will have to temporarily discontinue contact lens use during allergy season or switch to daily disposables. Putting a fresh contact lens in the eye every day goes a long way in preventing further exposure to pollen and irritants.
Spring and summer should be a fun and enjoyable time of year – don’t let allergies get in the way. Make an appointment with any of our skilled doctors who will tailor an allergy attack plan specifically for your lifestyle.