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.

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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.

Did you know? Interesting facts about the eye

The human eye is one of the most fascinating and complex parts of the entire body. From its reversed way of seeing the world to its connection with the brain, the eye can amaze even the most brilliant of scientists. Here are some of the most interesting things about your eyes that you likely never knew:

  • • According to the Midland Eye Institute, the retina contains 120 million rods that are used specifically for “night vision.”
  • Unlike many other organs, the eye cannot be transplanted. Boulder Eye Surgeons attribute this phenomenon to the optic nerve, which can never be repaired once its connection to the brain is severed.
  • Most Caucasian babies are born with blue eyes because melanin – a pigment molecule that produces color – hasn’t yet been deposited in a baby’s iris. Also, people’s eyes tend to darken after being exposed to light when they are born.
  • Only about 1/6 of the eye is visible; the rest is hidden within a person’s eye socket.
  • The little spots of light you see when you shut your eyes tightly are called “phosphenes.” These are typically caused when pressure is put on the eye (such as when you rub your eyes). This pressure stimulates the retina, causing a person to “see” light patterns, even though no light can get into the eye.
  • The eye has the equivalent of 576 megapixels. However, the eye acts more like a video stream than a single camera shot. Together with the brain, eyes produce extremely high-resolution images.
  • The images on a person’s retina are upside down, but our brain allows us to see things right-side up. Similarly, the brain coordinates the images taken in from both eyes in order to produce one cohesive visual field. Many scientists theorize that babies see everything upside down for the first few days of their lives until they grow accustomed to vision.

Floaters in your vision

A lot of people joke about seeing stars, but many people actually do see shapes run across their field of vision. These shapes are technically called “floaters” and can vary in appearance from specks and dots to clouds and cobwebs. EyeCare America explains this phenomenon as “clumps and strands within the gel of the eye” that create shadows on a person’s retina. These shadows account for the varying shapes and are typically cast when a person is looking at a large, solid-colored object (like a wall).

Unfortunately, although some are harmless, floaters can occasionally indicate a serious problem with the eye, such as a torn retina. People who are middle-aged are especially prone to floaters, so be alert and talk to your doctor if you notice any changes in your vision. It’s important to get your eyes examined on a regular basis to treat and prevent conditions like floaters.

Should you wear contacts at work?

Certain professions may be more hazardous to your vision health than others. To help protect people involved in these environments, particularly industry jobs, the American Optometric Association released a statement in 1998 to provoke questions about vision hazards at work. The Association mandates that contact lenses themselves cannot and should not be used as protective eyewear. Other types of protection must be used (like goggles) to protect the eyes, whether a person wears contacts or not. In determining whether contact lenses present a risk in the workplace, the Association advises that people ask questions like, “Is the risk different for various contact lens materials and designs?” and “Do contact lenses decrease the efficacy of other safety strategies?

Doctors who prescribe contact lenses to patients involved in hazardous fields should also keep in mind certain factors, the Association says. For instance, a doctor should take into account what hygiene facilities are available, what raw materials are involved, whether protective equipment is provided and used, and what kinds of toxic chemicals/agents could be encountered on the job. In all, the Association found that “contact lenses may be worn safely under a variety of environmental situations including those which, from a superficial evaluation, might appear hazardous.”

Also, because there is no evidence to suggest that contact lenses negate the protection of safety equipment, the Association recommends that there be no ban on contact lenses in the workplace. This means you can feel confident about wearing your contact lenses to work, but be sensible when in hazardous environments, and never think of your contacts as protective eyewear.