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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Vision after 40

Even if you never wore glasses as a child or young adult, it’s important to be aware of changes in your vision once you reach age 40. According to the American Optometric Association, there are five common vision changes you may experience in middle age, including:

  • Changes in color perception: The lens within your eye, which is normally clear, may start to discolor and make it difficult for you to differentiate between shades of colors.
  • Problems with glare: Driving may become more difficult as glare from headlights or the sun becomes more noticeable. This increase in glare is a result of light being scattered on the retina instead of being properly focused.
  • Reduced tears: Tear glands tend to produce fewer tears as you age. Post-menopausal women may notice that their eyes are especially dry and should talk to their True Care Advantage optometrist about solutions like medicated eye drops.
  • Needing more light: You may have noticed it is not as easy to read in dim lighting as it once was. Solve this issue by using bright lamps while reading or working.
  • Difficulty reading or working up close: The lens in the eye starts to become more flexible as you age, making it harder for your eyes to focus on nearby objects. This can cause books or documents to appear blurry at close distances, so ask your True Dental Discounts eye doctor about getting reading glasses as well as an overall vision exam.

What can I expect during an eye exam?

Before going in for an eye exam, it’s important to know what you (or your child) can expect during the appointment. First and foremost, the purpose of an eye exam is to check a person’s vision for any changes or imperfections. Eye doctors also use this opportunity to look for any diseases of the eye. During the appointment, a variety of tests and tools are used. Each one of these procedures analyzes a separate aspect of a person’s vision. At the beginning of the exam, your doctor will ask about your medical history and any problems you might be experiencing with your vision or eyes. Next, the doctor will use a light to evaluate the exterior parts of the eye. He or she will also measure the patient’s visual acuity and determine whether the person needs corrective lenses.

In addition, the doctor will check the health of the eye itself and look for signs of disease. A thorough exam will cover the appearance, function, acuity and health of a person’s vision and eyes. Common tests performed during an exam include the eye muscle test, the visual acuity test, the visual field test, color vision testing and glaucoma testing. Other tests may be performed according to your specific needs, age, and pre-existing conditions. If you’re going to a new eye doctor, or you’ve never experienced an exam, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about your precise needs. A good relationship with your practitioner, in combination with your True Care discount vision plan, will get you on your way to a lifetime of great vision.

Discount Retinal Examinations

Eye exams can include many different vision tests that measure the health and functioning of your eyes. One of these tests is a retinal examination, which looks at the retina, optic disk, and blood vessels in the back of your eye. According to the Mayo Clinic, eye doctors may use one of three techniques to look at the back of your eye. First, however, he will likely need to dilate your pupils with eye drops that may give you a slight stinging sensation. After the drops are in place, he may conduct a direct examination, an indirect examination, or a slit-lamp examination. In a direct examination, a beam of light is shined through the pupil so that the doctor can view the back of the eye with an ophthalmoscope.

This exam may cause you to temporarily see afterimages once the light is gone. For an indirect examination, the patient usually lies down on a chair while the doctor shines a light strapped to his head into the patient’s eye. This technique allows the doctor to see the eye in three dimensions and is also likely to result in temporary afterimages. Finally, the slit-lamp examination has the ability to show the doctor the most detail about the back of the eye. In this exam, the doctor uses the slit lamp as well as a condensing or contact lens. Each of these three exams takes only about five to 10 minutes, but depending on the use of eye drops, your vision will likely be blurry for several hours. Before your appointment at your vision plan doctor, ask someone to drive you home and make any necessary arrangements at work.

Diabetes and your vision

Diabetes can have serious effects on people’s wellness, and the health of their vision is no exception. People who have uncontrolled type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at greatest risk for a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. This condition causes damage to the blood vessels inside the retina at the back of the eye, and the damage often results in scar tissues that make images sent from the retina blurry. To reduce people’s risk of getting diabetic retinopathy, the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests that everyone with type 2 diabetes should schedule a yearly checkup with an ophthalmologist from the time of the diagnosis.

People with type 1 diabetes should also visit an ophthalmologist every year; however, their first visit doesn’t need to be until five years after the diagnosis. Checkups with an ophthalmologist are very important, as they can often help prevent or manage diabetes retinopathy before it causes irreversible damage. Talk to your True Dental Discounts, ophthalmologist about your level of risk; he or she can conduct an individual examination and determine what steps you need to take next. By staying in close contact with your eye doctor, maintaining strict control of your blood sugar, and eating a healthy diet, you can help protect your vision from the negative effects of diabetes.