How to Apply your eye drops correctly

It’s no secret that severely dry or irritated eyes can be very uncomfortable. In many cases, an eye doctor will prescribe eye drops to help soothe a patient’s eyes and relieve any pain or discomfort. Before your eyes can heal, however, you must know the proper way to apply these drops.  The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following steps:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly.
  2. Remove the cap without touching the dropper tip.
  3. Tilting your head back slightly, use your index finger to gently pull your lower eye lid away from your eye to form a pocket.
  4. With your other hand, tilt the dropper over the pocket.
  5. While glancing upward, squeeze the bottle and release the correct number of drops into the pocket. Do not allow the bottle to touch either your eye or eyelid to avoid contamination.
  6. Once drops are in place, close your eyes without blinking.
  7. Apply pressure to “the point where your lids meet your nose” and hold for approximately two to three minutes, or as instructed by your eye doctor.
  8. Before opening your eyes, wipe any extraneous drops from your eye lid with a tissue.
  9. Open your eyes. If using more than one prescription, wait at least five minutes before applying the second dose.

The most important thing to remember is to follow your eye doctor’s instructions precisely. Ask an ophthalmologist on your discount vision plan if you have any questions regarding your use of eye drops or their possible side effects.

Have you heard?

People aren’t the only ones with interesting hearing mechanisms and facts. Check out these random tidbits about animal hearing from the Better Hearing Institute, Teachers Domain, and the University of Washington:

• Snakes do not have ears, but their tongues are sensitive to sound vibrations.
• Owls distinguish sound directions partly by measuring the difference in time it takes the sound to reach each ear. This difference is typically less than 200 millionths of a second!
• Cicadas have hearing organs in their stomachs
• Crickets have hearing organs in their knees; sound waves cause a thin membrane on the cricket’s legs to vibrate
• It is thought that owls can create an image of the world around them based only on sound, much like humans do with their eyes
• Although fish do not have ears, they can hear pressure changes through ridges on their bodies
• Dolphins can hear frequencies up to at least 100,000 Hz.  Compare this to a dog’s ability to hear up to 40,000 Hz and a person’s 20,000 Hz
• During World War I, the military kept parrots on France’s Eiffel Tower because their extra-sensitive hearing allowed them to warn of incoming enemy aircraft before any person could hear it
• All mammals have external ears, but many can move them to help pinpoint the direction of sounds. Some animals, like elephants, can even use their ears to stay cool by waving them like fans.

And you thought you could twitch your ears!

Measuring prescription medication for your child

Nearly all small children are prescribed liquid medication until they are old enough to swallow capsules. As a result, it’s important that adults be informed about the proper way to dispense the medication and protect their children’s health. According to the FDA, some of the most common types of dosing instruments include:

Dosage cups: These cups are designed for children who are old enough to drink from a cup without spilling. Adults should be sure to look carefully at the small numbers printed on the side of the cup to determine the correct fill level. Medicine should then be poured to that exact level when the cup is sitting on a flat surface.
Droppers: These are geared toward children who cannot drink from a cup, and require the adult to squeeze the proper amount of medication into the child’s mouth. Like the dosage cups, medicine must be brought to the exact line on the side of the dropper that was recommended by a doctor. Adults should squeeze the liquid quickly out of the dropper so it cannot fall on the floor before it gets into the child’s mouth.
Cylindrical dosage spoons: These spoons look like a large straw with a spoon at one end and are used for children who can drink from a cup, but are likely to spill. In this case, adults should again fill the liquid to the appropriate marked line and be sure it is even at eye level. Children then drink the medicine from the spoon.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about your child’s prescription medication. It’s important to be educated so you can protect the health of your young child.

Hearing hazards at work

We’ve all heard that it’s dangerous to listen to extremely loud music, but lots of people are exposed to dangerous decibel levels every day at work. According to the Better Hearing Institute, the most risky professions for hearing loss include firefighting, farming, construction, military, entertainment, and factory work. All of these jobs require frequent exposure to loud noise or music, often in close proximity. For instance, many factory workers are positioned next to loud machinery for hours at a time.

This kind of exposure, over long periods of time, has been proven to cause hearing loss or even deafness. To prevent damage to your hearing, it is wise to always wear ear plugs when exposed to high noise levels. A good way to determine dangerous levels is to try to carry a conversation through the noise. If you cannot easily talk to someone without shouting, then the noise is too loud and can potentially cause hearing loss. If you work in a profession that could compromise your hearing, talk to your doctor about prevention techniques. Steps taken now could result in many more years of good hearing down the road.

Preventing and recognizing a lazy eye

Childhood is a time of rapid growth and change for the entire body, particularly for the eyes. A person’s sight undergoes critical developments in the early years, meaning parents must be extra-vigilant about their child’s eyesight during this time. One issue that can arise in young children is known as amblyopia – or “lazy eye.” In this case, one eye is strong while the other is weak, creating a harmful imbalance. EyeCare America recommends that parents get their child’s eyes checked by age four because early treatment is the most effective.

Children who are treated before the age of nine are generally able to have better-restored vision than those who wait until their teenage years. It’s important to get the opinion of an ophthalmologist because it’s hard to detect a lazy eye (even the child may be unaware she has a problem). If an imbalance is detected, the eye doctor may recommend one of several treatments, most of which are geared toward building strength in the weak eye. This may be done by having the child wear an eye patch over her good eye or even using drops to blur vision in her good eye. Both of these methods force the child to use her weak eye in order to regain strength and balance.

While perhaps difficult at first, the payoff will be a lifetime of good vision. If you suspect your child may have a lazy eye, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your eye doctor. It’s always a good idea to get regular check-ups, and in case of a problem, your doctor can begin treatments early and effectively.