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How to Take the Best Care of your Eyeglasses

reading glasses on wooden background

Tips on getting the longest mileage out of your spectacles or sunglasses.

If you’re like me, some of the best moments you can have with a new pair of spectacles or sunglasses is when they’re new. On top of the excitement of adding a gorgeous new piece to your eyewear wardrobe, the feeling of wearing a frame that’s perfectly adjusted for maximum comfort and so pristinely clean is a precious pleasure.

But then, the everyday takes its toll and smudges, dust and grease start appearing on the lenses… the frame gets bent a bit (or a lot!) out of shape… and suddenly, they’re not so fun any more. You could swing by your optician and get them cleaned in an ultra-sonic cleaner or even buy one for home use, but it won’t solve any misshapen issues. Follow our guide to taking the best care of your glasses, and you’ll find that the little TLC things add up to helping them—and you!—feel great for the long haul.

Always Use a Lens Cloth
Your optician will always provide a micro-fiber lens cloth in your spectacle case with your glasses (big-name and high quality collections usually provide a branded one)—use it! Lens surfaces are very sensitive, and materials of rougher textures are liable to scratch them, and scratches add up to blur your vision.

To take even better care of your lenses, pre-moistened lens cleaning tissues also provide anti-fog and anti-static protection, come in packages that make them easy to bring on the go and don’t cost very much. These lens-cleaning liquids are also available in spray form, which you’ll then dry with the lens cloth after squirting onto your lenses, but they are not as convenient as the tissues.

Give Your Glasses a Bath
A little bowl of warm, soapy water, a few swirls, wipe dry with your lens cloth, and voila! You’ve washed the dust, grease and (for the ladies) make-up that have accumulated on your glasses (for more expensive frames, consider buying a lens cleaner. Do this whenever necessary or about once a week, and a gentle soap like regular dish detergent or hand soap will be kinder on your frame. A few drops of vinegar will help remove stubborn stains. This will also prevent rusting, corrosion and any general wear-and-tear if your spectacles aren’t constructed to withstand these as well.

If you don’t have to wear your now-clean glasses right away, let them dry off on their own, and if there are any water stains on the lenses, wipe them off easily with your lens cloth.

Handle With T.L.C.
Untie the laces before taking your sports shoes off. Get a regular oil change. These are little things we know we should do to save inconvenience in the long run and extend the life span of things we use daily, but also the easiest to forget! But once you’ve made it a habit, it becomes automatic—remember, once it was not second nature to click on seat-belts while in a car.

Most of us take our glasses on and off off with one hand in one easy swoop, but each time we do that, we’re slightly tweaking the fit of the frame, and these add up to an eventual loosening of the screws or its entire shape. Use both hands to wear or remove your glasses, holding the frame at its strongest parts—its front or its temples.

It may seem like silly advice, but judging by how many patients we get needing repairs because of these oversights, we’ll have to share it again: always leave your glasses somewhere, well… visible! Placing eyewear on chairs or a busy spot like a kitchen counter is an invitation for them to be sat on or be involved in some kind of accident. Also, always leave them out of the sun, like in the garden or on a vehicle dashboard, as high temperatures can inspire your frame to get more flexible than you bargained for and melt or lose its shape.

Rest In Peace
Always rest your glasses folded up and flat, or open and standing stably. Lots of wearers need to replace their lenses more often than necessary because of scratching from placing their spectacles face down.

And yes, we know how comfy and easy it is to push your glasses up on your forehead or head, and yes, we know sometimes you do it because it looks really cool. However, this stretches the temples out of shape and changes the fitting of your frame, not to mention invites all sorts of grease from your hair and oil from your skin to smudge on your lenses and spectacles. No offense—we’re sure you keep your personal hygiene at a very high level, but your eyewear would be much happier to be put where they belong. Consider accessories such as eyeglass chains or spectacle cases that can be slipped onto a bag strap or your belt if you like your spectacles easily accessible.

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12 Things You Should Never, Ever Do With Your Contacts

Conceptual image of applying correctly contact lenses.

Like “cleaning them” in your mouth. No, no, no, no, no.

Once you get over the rather horrifying prospect of putting a piece of plastic onto the surface of your eyeball, it can be easy to feel like you, contact lens wearer, are invincible. Now that you can see without glasses on, you can basically fly, so you get pretty brazen about the way you treat your contacts.

But not taking care of these micro petri dishes can lead to all kinds of problems, both minor (irritation) and frightening (vision loss), so heed these tips from Scott MacRae, M.D., professor of opthalmology and visual science at the University of Rochester, before you think about touching your contacts again.

Here’s what you should never do if you wear contact lenses:

1. Handle your contacts without washing your hands first. If you touch your contacts without washing your hands, you transfer bacteria to the lens. “Bacteria are really smart and they move all around,” says Dr. MacRae. Always wash your hands before putting your contacts on and again before removing them.

2. Reuse contact solution or leave used cleaning solution in your contact case. Contact lens solution, as a disinfectant, is pretty effective — until you leave it sitting around, pooling, for days at a time. Bacteria can then overwhelm the disinfectant. The same goes for reusing the same solution, which causes bacteria to proliferate and the solution to stop being sterile. If that bacteria gets onto your lens and onto your eyeball, you could risk contracting something called a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.

3. Not dry out your contacts case. “Bacteria love moisture,” Dr. MacRae says. He adds that at least half the medical cases he sees are due to people not drying out their contact lens cases. So, to prevent ending up in the hospital with a corneal ulcer, make sure to air dry your contact lens case daily.

4. Not clean your contact lenses daily. Bacteria, debris, and protein accumulate on contact lenses, and those deposits can cause immune reactions such as giant papillary conjunctivitis (graphic image), where your eyelids get a million little bumps on them. After that, you could eventually become intolerant to contact lenses altogether. Don’t let this happen! Clean your contacts every day with cleaning solution, gently rubbing the lens with your finger to remove debris.

5. Not clean your contacts case. Even with regular air-drying, your contact lens case needs to be cleaned. Wash it with gentle soap and water once a week. Rinse the case thoroughly and let it air dry.

6. Put your contact lenses in your mouth. “I know this happens,” says Dr. MacRae, but “your mouth has a lot more bacteria than your eye.” If you don’t clean the lens off after putting it in your mouth, that could lead to an infection in your eye.

7. Overwear your lenses. “Have a regular schedule where you take your lenses out and let your eyes rest,” says Dr. MacRae. If your eyeballs don’t get enough oxygen, then the corneas can swell, leading to a corneal abrasion and eventually an infection if bacteria gets in there. In general, your eyes need periods of quiet and rest, so make sure you give them that break.

8. Sleep with your contacts on. This is related to overwearing your contacts, which you already know you shouldn’t do. But if you notice after taking a nap or sleeping overnight with your contacts on that your eyes are irritated, then your eyes are getting swollen and you want to avoid that. Or, bacteria could get in your eye, like it did with this man, and you could end up going blind.

9. Leave makeup on your contacts. You’ve probably been there: You’re putting on your eyeliner and a bit of that pencil smudges onto your contact. If that happens, don’t leave it there. Take out your contact lens, then clean and disinfect it. ?

10. Keep your lenses on when your eyes are irritated. When your eyes are red and bothering you, remove your contacts. Your eyes are irritated for a reason — they could be infected or there might be a tear in your contact lens. Whatever the case, your body is rejecting the contact lens, so take it out. If you don’t have a contact lens case handy, put your contact(s) into a glass with water. Do not put the contacts into your eyes again without disinfecting them thoroughly.

11. Go into water with your contacts on. The shower, hot tub, swimming pool, or other body of water can have bacteria and amoebae that can devastate your eyes if you don’t disinfect your contact lenses properly. An especially terrifying disease called Acanthamoeba keratitis (notorious for showing up in hot tubs) could get you and lead to vision loss and even blindness. If you have to shower with your contacts on, try to keep your eyes closed as much as possible. And if you do end up getting water on your contacts, remember to clean them, clean them, clean them afterward.

12. Rub your eyes. If you’re a chronic eye rubber, whether or not you wear contacts, you could be putting yourself as risk of developing a condition called keratoconus, where your cornea goes from rounded to cone-like (sort of like a super pointy nipple). That could eventually lead to blurred vision or the need for a corneal transplant. Consider some over-the-counter anti-itching drops to help quiet your eye.

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Winter Eye Safety: Get to Know UV Radiation

winter, leisure, sport and people concept - happy young man in ski goggles outdoors

The Hidden Risk for Skiers and Snowboarders.

Most of us remember to wear eye protection and sunscreen in the summer, but we probably don’t think about it as much during the winter months, even though studies show that sun exposure — regardless of season — may increase the risk of developing cataracts, snow blindness and growths on the eye, including cancer.

Do you take the necessary precautions before you enjoy beautiful winter days? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t do so consistently.

In a recent study published in Archives of Dermatology, researchers took multiple readings of UV radiation at 32 high-altitude ski areas in western North America and interviewed thousands of skiers and snowboarders to find out whether they took precautions against the sun, such as wearing hats, sunscreen and goggles. The study found that most skiers and snowboarders took only occasional precautions against the sun.

However, sun reflecting off the snow can be very harsh. Exposure to UV radiation can even be high on cloudy days; in the northern hemisphere, the highest exposure is at midday. This extends through late winter and into early spring. Exposure also increases with elevation: the highest UV rating from the Archives of Dermatology study was taken at Mammoth Mountain in California.

Excessive exposure to UV light reflected off snow can damage the eyes’ front surface. In addition to cataracts, sun exposure can lead to lesions and tumors that may be cosmetically unappealing and require surgical removal. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people be especially careful to protect their eyes in the winter months and only wear goggles or sunglasses with UV protection.

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6 Surprising Ways to Protect Your Eyes This Winter

Beautiful girl with perfect skin posing in the park.

Protect Your Peepers

During the winter months, you bundle up under scarves and sweaters and switch to a richer moisturizer, but how much attention do you pay to your eyes? Dry air and harsh winds are among the irritants that can lead to burning eyes, itchiness, and blurry vision, says Anne Sumers, MD, an ophthalmologist in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Luckily, there are some easy habits you can adopt to protect yourself. Follow these six simple steps to keep your eyes healthy this winter.

Wear Sunglasses

Wearing polarized sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection is critical for your winter eye health, Dr. Sumers says. “Sunlight reflected off the snow can actually sunburn the cornea in the winter,” she explains. In fact, snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV light, so you’re being exposed to the same harmful rays twice, reports the Skin Cancer Foundation. And you need to be particularly careful if you are skiing, snowboarding, or engaging in any winter activity at high altitudes. That’s because UV radiation exposure increases 4 to 5 percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level.

Use a Humidifier or Lubricating Drops

Cold, dry air can irritate eyes, and indoor heaters also eliminate moisture from the air, which can lead to burning and blurry vision, notes Sumers. You may also feel like something gritty is in your eye. “People mistake this for an allergy or infection, but it’s just natural tears drying out,” she explains. Sumers recommends cracking open your window at night or using a humidifier. While driving, aim heating vents at your feet, not your face. Over-the-counter preservative-free artificial tears may also provide immediate relief, Sumers says.

Drink Plenty of Water

You know to drink plenty of fluids when it’s hot outside, but it’s just as important to stay hydrated in the winter to help prevent dry eyes, says Trennda L. Rittenbach, OD, a doctor of optometry with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Minneapolis and a member of the American Optometric Association’s Evidenced-Based Optometry Committee. “People forget to hydrate from within,” she says. “Getting enough water daily can make a huge difference, particularly if you are going to be outside in dry and windy conditions.”

Eat More Fish

Research suggests that what you put into your body also affects your eyes, Dr. Rittenbach notes. “Eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids could help alleviate dry eyes,” she says. Omega-3 fatty acids are an effective treatment for dry eye syndrome, according to a recent review of seven studies published in the Medical Science Monitor. Mackerel, tuna, salmon, anchovies, and trout are all good sources of these beneficial oils. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, you should aim for about 3.5 ounces of these fatty fish to get about 1 gram of omega-3s.

Keep Your Hands Off

The itching, burning, and irritation associated with dry eyes may tempt you to rub your eyes, but that’s a no-no — no matter what time of year it is. Although you may think this will offer some relief, resist the temptation, Sumers cautions. “Rubbing your eyes is like itching a mosquito bite,” she says. “It only makes things worse and causes more irritation.” It could also lead to infection, Rittenbach notes. “There is a lot of bacteria on your hands, and it could get into your eyes,” she explains.

Take Breaks From the Computer

If watching hours of Netflix on your laptop while it snows outside sounds like your ideal day, make sure to take regular breaks: Increased time spent in front of the computer can make your eyes become increasingly dry and irritated. “It’s always a good idea to take a break and do something else for a few minutes,” Sumers advises. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes from the computer to something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Rittenbach also recommends making an effort to blink more often. “You blink a lot less when staring at a computer screen,” she explains.

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Old Wives Tales and How to Debunk these Eyecare Myths!

Fact Myth Signpost Meaning Correct Or Incorrect Information

There are hundreds of myths and misconceptions about eyesight. Some old wives’ tales have a grain of truth in them: most are myths that need busting.

Myth: Reading in the dark or dim light will damage your eyes
Reading in dim light or in the dark is highly unlikely to cause any permanent damage to your eyes, but it could cause eye strain which can be uncomfortable. Your eyes adjust to the light around them and your pupils enlarge in order to collect the most light. We are designed to see detail better in the light so although you will not harm yourself by reading in the dark, it is more difficult to see and may cause a headache.

Myth: Contact lenses can get lost behind your eyes
The membrane that covers the white of your eye (the conjunctiva) also lines your eyelids, so it is impossible for a contact lens to get lost behind your eyes.

Myth: Wearing someone else’s glasses may damage your eyes
Although you may not be able to see very well with them and may get a headache or double vision, you won’t come to any harm from wearing glasses that are not your prescription (unless you’re driving a motor vehicle).

Myth: Watching TV too much or too closely will damage your eyes
Watching too much TV or sitting very close to it may make your eyes tired or give you a headache – particularly if you are watching TV in the dark – but won’t cause any serious permanent damage.

Myth: Masturbation makes you go blind
The only correlation between the two is that semen contains a large amount of zinc and a deficiency in zinc will cause a decline in a person’s vision. This is virtually impossible to achieve solely by masturbating.

Myth: Exercising the eye muscles can allow you to ‘throw away your glasses’
People normally need glasses because of the shape and size of their eye. Exercises won’t help this.

Myth: By looking at the patterns, colours and other characteristics of the iris you can tell a person’s health problems
There is no scientific proof for this. However, when optometrists carry out eye examinations they will not only test your sight, but also check the health of your eyes and look for signs of some general health problems.

Myth: Using your eyes too much can wear them out
Your eyes will last for your whole life if they are healthy or have conditions that are treatable. The health of your eyes has nothing to do with the number of hours you use them.

Myth: Holding books up close will damage a child’s eyes
Where or how your child holds a book has no effect on the health of the eyes or the need for glasses. Sometimes children find it more comfortable to read close-up and their very good focusing ability makes it easy for them to do so.

Some truth: Eating carrots will improve your eyesight
Carrots are a source of vitamin A, which is important for the eyes. However, before you embark on an all-carrot diet to improve your vision, note that it is more important for eye health to have a good balanced diet that supports your all-round health. Poor nutrition has been implicated in diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Some truth: You can sleep in your contact lenses
Unless you have been told specifically by your optometrist that you can sleep in your contact lenses, you should avoid this. Your eyes need to breathe whilst wearing contact lenses, and this is more difficult when your eyes are closed.

This – and the fact that when you are not blinking your contact lenses will not move on your eyes as much as when you are awake – can mean that you are at more risk of infection if you sleep in contact lenses. Always follow the guidelines given to you by your optometrist. If in doubt, take them out.

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Moreland EyeCare
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Anna, IL  62906
Phone: (618) 833-9208

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