Optometry Do’s and Don’ts

Hey guys – it’s Fun Post Friday!

Fun posts are probably my favorite way of rounding out the work week, and what better topic than some simple optometry do’s and don’ts!  Let’s get started!

Do’s

  • Wear your sunglasses! UV-blocking sunglasses help protect your skin and eyes from potentially damaging ultraviolet light, promoting better ocular health with age! 
  • Have a dilated eye exam every 1-2 years! You can read an in-depth discussion of this in my first post of my “Why Does My Eye Doctor…” series.  In summary though, dilated eye exams are vital – not only for monitoring potentially asymptomatic ocular conditions, but also in diagnosing and managing systemic conditions.
  • Ask questions! If you’re ever unsure of something that your eye doctor has told you, or have questions about something that you’re experiencing, let them know!
  • Wash your hands before touching your eyes!  This sounds like a no-brainer, but good hygiene is important for optimal ocular health (even when we’re not in the middle of a global pandemic)!
  • Wear safety glasses! While taking out foreign bodies (ie anything that is stuck in/on your eye that isn’t supposed to be there) can be exciting as an optometrist, it isn’t fun for you! Plus, some foreign bodies can be visually devastating.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
  • Eat a healthy diet! I know, I know… why am I, as an optometrist, talking about food?!  Because it matters for your eyes! For the sake of time, I won’t dive into specifics today, just know that the same foods that are important for keeping your body strong are vital in eye health!  If you’re interested in learning more, keep your eyes peeled (pun intended) for an upcoming post in which I talk about diet and eyes!

Don’ts 

  • Sleep in your contacts!*  This is one that I remember being told the first day that I was fit in contacts – like hopefully all of you who wear contacts were.  Why not?  Because sleeping in contacts significantly increases your risk of eye infection.  Sleeping (without contacts) naturally decreases the amount of oxygen and hydration to the cornea (clear surface of the eye).  However, when you add a contact lens to the mix, the oxygen and tear-layer are further decreased, reducing your eye’s ability to fight off potential infections!
    • For those of you who may argue that you’ve slept in contacts before and never had problems – great! I’m glad you’ve been lucky so far.  However, just because it hasn’t happened to you, doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t, and the visual results of such ocular infections can be devastating.  Don’t believe me? Google it.
  • Use Vizine or other “red remover” drops! I get it, no one likes red eyes.  However, redness is often an indicator of an underlying problem! Trying to get rid of the red may make your eye look better, but it doesn’t address what’s really going on.
    • Why is your eye red? That would be a great…25ish part series? For a quick list of some options though, it could be dry eye, allergies, a bacterial infection, a viral infection, a burst blood vessel, or inflammation of the eye of a number of different causes.
    • If you’ve been to the eye doctor and had all infectious/inflammatory causes of red eyes ruled out, but you still have some redness, still don’t reach for Vizine.  This specific product decreases the red by causing the blood vessels to shrink or constrict. However, after the initial constriction, the blood vessels actually expand or dilate, causing “rebound redness”!
    • The good news though is that there is a drop that decreases the redness without rebound effects!  It’s called Lumify** and it literally decreases the redness in under a minute.  However, just like before, this drop should only be used after the cause of your red eye has been determined!
  • Go to the ER for eye problems!*  Even though I’ve only been around the optometric field for something like 6 years at this point, I’m thoroughly convinced this is the greatest pet peeve of every eye doctor.  If you or your child have an eye problem, please do not go to the ER or your primary care provider – they are generally NOT qualified to treat your condition.  I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a viral infection being given an antibiotic (which does no good), an internal inflammatory condition being given an antibiotic (which also does no good), or a foreign body being diagnosed as anything except a foreign body.   Long story shorter, if you have an eye problem, talk to your EYE CARE PROVIDER!

 

Well, I think that’s enough writing for a Friday evening!

If you learned something from this post, please share it with a friend or family member!  If you liked it, please subscribe, or like my page on Facebook! And as always, if you have any questions or comments, please contact meI’d love to hear from you!

*Unless otherwise instructed by your optometrist

**I am in no way sponsored by Bausch and Lomb or any other corporate entities (currently) – this is just one of my favorite products.

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