Our eyes are extremely delicate, yet they can be subjected to harsh conditions and other environmental factors that affect their health. One of the problems that can affect our eyes is an accumulation of dirt, debris and bacteria on the eyelids. This can cause a range of issues, including stopping tear film from reaching the eyes and being properly dispersed over their surface – which is necessary to keep them healthy and comfortable. Fortunately, a new solution called BlephexÔ can help.
BlephexÔ is a handheld electro-mechanical device that is applied to the margins of the eyelids with the purpose of cleaning them and improving the effectiveness with which tear film flows onto the surface of the eyes.
BlephexÔ has a disposable, surgical-grade sponge tip which rapidly oscillates to create a cleaning action. Before the sponge tip is placed onto the eyes, it is soaked in a gentle exfoliating solution. This solution provides soft abrasion to help remove dead skin cells and debris that could be irritating the eyes and interrupting tear film progression. The BlephexÔ device is manually applied to the eyes and moved gently across the eyelids, with the entire, painless process taking approximately 6 to 8 minutes per eye. A different sponge is used on each eye, ensuring that no bacteria is passed between them. After the procedure, patients are given instructions on how to maintain the cleanliness of their eyelids with daily/nightly eyelid hygiene at home.
Most patients experience a significant improvement in tear film production and dispersal, and a reduction in unpleasant symptoms that they may have been experiencing within 48 hours of their treatment. While a single treatment is normally enough to produce excellent results, many patients are advised to have BlephexÔ every 4-6 months.
BlephexÔ can be used to clean the eyelids at any time, and people who suffer from dry eyes or eye allergies may find it is particularly beneficial for helping to reduce the symptoms that they experience. It can also be combined with Lipiflow – another technological solution – to help counteract the effects of dry eyes.
Unsurprisingly, BlephexÔ is particularly recommended as a treatment for an eye condition called blepharitis. Blepharitis is characterized by the inflammation of the eyelids, which causes them to become red, swollen and itchy. Although the condition is not usually serious, it can lead to further problems if it isn’t treated.
Symptoms of blepharitis include:
A gritty, irritated feeling affecting the eyes
Flakes or crustiness around the roots of the eyelashes
Eyelids that stick together when you wake up in the morning
If you are suffering from the symptoms of blepharitis, dry eyes or eye allergies and feel that you would benefit from BlephexÔ treatment, please contact our team to schedule a consultation appointment.
Visual field testing is an important part of most standard comprehensive eye exams. Also sometimes known as perimetry testing, Visual field testing is a method to measure the entire scope of vision of an individual, including their peripheral/side vision.
Visual field testing is one of the most effective diagnostic treatments in the detection of glaucoma. This is because when patients are affected by glaucoma, it is usually the peripheral vision that is affected by their condition first. However, it can also be used to detect central or peripheral retinal diseases, eyelid conditions such as drooping, optic nerve damage and conditions that affect the visual pathways from the optic nerve to the area of the brain where this information is processed into vision.
Visual field testing is also an important part of monitoring for people who are considered to be at risk for vision loss from disease and other problems, including those who have been diagnosed with the following:
Pituitary gland disorders
Central nervous system problems (such as a tumor that may be pressing on the brain)
High blood pressure
There are a variety of methods that can be used to perform visual field testing, including:
Static automated perimetry. This is where a machine is used to quantify how well the patient is able to detect flashing lights of varying size and brightness in different areas of their visual field, while they concentrate on a central point. The patient responds by pushing a button when they see the light.
Kinetic perimetry. This involves points of light that are fixed in size and intensity and are presented along the patient’s peripheral vision, before being gradually moved inwards to determine their field of vision.
Visual field testing is non-invasive, painless and doesn’t require patients to have their eyes dilated. The results, which are usually presented in a series of charts, are digital and sent directly to your eye doctor for interpretation. Depending on the outcome of your results, you may be recommended for further diagnostic testing which could include blood tests. If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, you will probably be recommended to have several visual field tests each year, which will help your eye doctor to monitor the progression of your condition and recommend treatments to slow it.
If you would like more information about visual field testing, or if you have concerns about your peripheral vision, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our experienced and knowledgeable eyecare team today.
Wearing contact lenses gives patients the flexibility and freedom to live life to the fullest, without some of the difficulties presented by wearing glasses. Many people who choose contact lenses do so because they don’t like the way that glasses look or feel, or because wearing glasses compromises their ability to perform certain tasks or activities, such as sports or jobs that require the use of safety goggles.
There are lots of different contact lenses to choose from, with two of the most popular being daily disposables and toric lenses.
As their name suggests, these daily contact lenses are disposable. This means that they can and should be discarded at the end of each day rather than re-worn. Disposable lenses do tend to be a little more expensive than some repeat-wear varieties, but the benefits usually outweigh the cost.
Some of the advantages of choosing daily disposable contact lenses include:
You don’t have to clean them, which saves patients a great deal of time and hassle. It also helps save money in terms of the ongoing cost of cleaning solution.
Disposable lenses are also great for people with eye allergies. This is because with ordinary lenses, there’s an opportunity for deposits and microorganisms to build up. With daily disposables, allergens have less chance to attach themselves to the lenses and cause irritation and other allergy symptoms.
You don’t need to schedule regular replacements either, which makes wearing contact lenses easier on your schedule.
Disposable contact lenses are particularly good for people who have busy lives and are likely to cut corners when it comes to caring for their eyes or contacts since there is no cleaning or maintenance required.
Daily disposable contact lenses are available in a wide range of prescriptions, including those for patients with nearsightedness and farsightedness. Your eye doctor will be able to advise you if you are a candidate for disposable contact lenses.
Toric contact lenses are recommended for patients who have a refractive eye problem called astigmatism. Patients with astigmatism have corneal abnormalities that cause the refraction of the eye to be different between the vertical and horizontal planes, causing blurred vision and difficulty seeing fine details. Toric contact lenses are shaped in a particular way that creates the different focusing powers needed in each part of the lens to correct your vision. For this reason, it’s essential that Toric lenses are placed into the eyes in the correct position.
Fortunately, manufacturers design Toric lenses with features that help them to stay in place, including:
Creating areas of the lens that are thicker or heavier which helps secure it in position
An area where the bottom of the lens is slightly cut off
To keep them stable, Toric lenses are a little firmer than conventional soft lenses. This means that some patients can find them a little less comfortable, but the superior vision they obtain outweighs this. Your eye doctor will be able to advise you if you are a good candidate for Toric contact lenses and which variety would best suit you.
To find out more about daily contact lenses, speak to our friendly and knowledgeable team.
Optical Coherence Tomography is a non-invasive imaging test that may be performed as a standard part of your regular, comprehensive exams, or you may be able to request this test as an addition to your usual exam.
Optical Coherence Tomography uses light waves to take cross-section images of your retina, which is the area of light-sensitive cells at the back of your eye that is responsible for receiving light and transmitting it into messages that are sent up to the brain. The technology behind OCT enables your eye doctor to see each of the different layers that make up the retina. By being able to see these and measure them, they can obtain a much clearer picture of the overall health and condition of your eyes.
When you choose to have an OCT scan at fairly regular intervals, such as during your normal comprehensive eye exams, your eye doctor can compare newer results to previous ones. This helps them to build up a picture of the health of your eyes, and spot any changes which may be concerning, early, before they cause symptoms or have a permanent effect on your vision.
Anyone can have an OCT scan, but they are particularly recommended for patients over the age of 25 who are concerned about the health of their eyes, or who are at risk of or already have diabetes, glaucoma or a family history of eye disease. This is because they can be used to spot the early signs of a range of eye diseases, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, disorders of the optic nerve and more – even before you realize that you are affected.
An OCT scan is a quick, painless experience. To prepare you, your eye doctor may require you to have eyedrops that will dilate your pupils and make it easier to see your retina. This means that the scanner will get clearer, more concise images. You’ll be asked to sit in front of the OCT machine where you will rest your head against a support to help you sit perfectly still. As you stare ahead, the equipment will perform the scan of your eyes. There is no contact with your eyes whatsoever, you will just need to sit still, with your eyes open as much as possible during the process, which usually takes less than 10 minutes. The images will be sent digitally to your eye doctor for them to assess immediately and stored digitally on your personal record.
There’s no downtime after an OCT scan, but if you have had your eyes dilated you may find that you are particularly sensitive to light for a few hours afterwards. This occurs because the pupils remain wider and therefore able to let more light in that usual.
If you would like to find out more about Optical Coherence Tomography, don’t hesitate to speak to our professional eyecare team.
Eye care professionals use Optikam’s technology to capture more than 3 million eyewear measurements every year. The OptikamPad iPad app is a total dispensing solution that enables eye care professionals to successfully assist patients at all stages of the eyewear dispensing process, providing them with a unique and custom patient experience.
You may be surprised to learn that wearing glasses can and likely will affect your posture. Glasses lenses are most accurate when you look directly through their center. This means if your glasses are sitting too low or have slipped down your nose, you may find that you are subconsciously tilting your head back and this can affect your overall posture.
Optikam’s OPD measurement device is a cutting-edge tool that obtains eyewear measurements that take into account how the frame will be worn by patients, enabling the fit to be customized to their individual parameters. The ten measurements taken into account when determining each patient’s position of wear include:
Monocular pupillary distance
Multifocal seg heights
Rear vertex distance
Wrap (face form tilt)
Near pupillary distance
This results in frames that not only look fantastic, but that also fit perfectly, remaining both comfortable and stable on the face without you needing to adopt an unnatural posture. The measurements obtained by the Optikam OPD measurement tool are immediately visible on your eye doctor’s tablet so that they can recommend which alterations to the frames are needed to ensure that the frames fit with precision and gives you the best visual experience.
Traditionally, the process of a comprehensive eye exam, choosing frames and fitting glasses requires fairly close contact with your eye doctor or other eye care professionals. However, with social distancing being a new process variable, many patients are looking for more virtual options. Fortunately, OptikamPad makes it possible for optical stores to dispense eyeglasses with minimal human contact. This is because the OptikamPad can take measurements from a further distance or even through plexiglass screens. It can even be placed on a stand and the app operated using a Bluetooth mouse, putting even greater distance between your eye care professional and you.
If you would like to find out more about Optikam OPD and OptikamPad, our knowledgeable team would be delighted to help. Please contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.
Dry eyes are one of the most common conditions that can affect our eyes and is estimated to affect millions of Americans. As you’ve probably guessed, dry eyes occur when tears fail to provide enough natural lubrication for the eyes to be comfortable and healthy. Exactly what causes dry eyes can vary significantly, from side effects from medications to prolonged computer use. What is clear is that while the condition isn’t sight-threatening, it can make day to day life much harder than it needs to be. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help, and arguably one of the most effective is Lipiflow.
What is Lipiflow?
Lipiflow is a new technological solution that addresses the underlying cause of your dry eyes, rather than simply treating the symptoms. It is most effective at helping patients whose dry eyes are caused by meibomian gland dysfunction – a condition characterized by problems with the way that the meibomian glands produce the oil that forms an essential part of our tear film. The meibomian glands can become less productive, or in some cases, even blocked by hardened oil deposits. This prevents the oil from reaching your tear film, making it less effective. Lipiflow targets the meibomian glands, warming them to break down oily blockages and massaging your eyes to make sure that the oil, and then the tear film, is evenly dispersed. This helps to combat the symptoms associated with dry eyes, which can include:
Dry, scratchy and uncomfortable eyes
Sensitivity to light
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Your eye doctor will be able to advise you if Lipiflow has the potential to be a suitable solution for your dry eyes.
Lipiflow treatment is a simple, painless process that is performed in the comfort of your eye doctor’s office. There is no need for anesthetic. Once you are settled in your chair, your eye doctor will open the sterile, single-use applicators which are placed over your eyes. These are connected to a machine that causes the inner eyelids to heat to approximately 42.5°C to, while simultaneously placing gentle pressure on the outer eyelid surfaces. Lipiflow takes around 12 minutes per eye, during which time you can relax. You can even listen to music if you’d like to. There is no downtime, and patients can return to their usual activities right away. It takes around 3 days for patients to begin to see an improvement in their dry eye symptoms, although they may require further treatment in the future to maintain them. Optimal results are usually achieved around 6 to 8 weeks following your Lipiflow treatment.
For more information about Lipiflow, or to schedule a consultation to talk about this treatment for dry eyes, please contact our office.
A tonometer refers to the equipment that is used in tonometry – a test that measures the pressure inside your eyes, also known as intraocular pressure or IOP for short. Tonometry is rarely performed at your average comprehensive eye exam unless you are at high risk of or have been already diagnosed with glaucoma. Fortunately, tonometry can be used to detect changes in eye pressure before they cause any symptoms, enabling prompt action to be taken before your vision is affected.
Glaucoma is a common eye condition that occurs when the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. It’s normally caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which causes the pressure inside the eyes to build. As the pressure increases, the optic nerve becomes increasingly damaged, and this prevents messages from being transmitted between your eyes and brain effectively. As a result, the patient’s vision becomes compromised. Without treatment, the level of vision loss will continue to increase. Unfortunately, any vision that has been lost as a result of glaucoma cannot be restored.
Most of the time, glaucoma develops very slowly which means that many people don’t realize that they are affected until some damage to their vision has already occurred. However, occasionally glaucoma can develop quickly, and symptoms do occur.
These can include:
Tenderness around the eyes
Seeing rings/halos around lights
Nausea and vomiting
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important that you make an appointment with your eye doctor right away so that you can be assessed. You are likely to have a tonometry test as part of this assessment.
There are various methods of tonometry testing, but many eye doctors use either Goldmann tonometry, which is the conventional technique to measure eye pressure, or electronic tonometry.
Goldmann tonometry testing is carried out using the Goldmann applanation tonometer, which is attached to a slit lamp microscope. This requires anesthetic eye drops to be used which numb your eyes, before a small probe is pressed gently against the eye, indenting the cornea. The pressure that the cornea pushes back onto the tonometer is what is measured to give your IOP reading. Electronic tonometry is where a handheld, mobile device is gently and quickly applied to the cornea to check the pressure, providing an accurate reading. Some eye doctors also offer non-contact tonometry which is where a puff of air is used to flatten the cornea, although this is reported to be less accurate than the Goldmann technique.
If you would like to find out more about Tonometry testing, please call our office to speak with our dedicated eyecare professionals.
If you find it difficult to tell colors apart, you may be color blind. Color blindness, or color deficiency, is estimated to affect around 8% of men and about 1% of women, but for those affected, it can significantly impact the quality of their day-to-day life. Contrary to popular belief, being color blind doesn’t mean that you can’t see any color at all. Instead, patients simply struggle to differentiate between certain colors. The vast majority of people who are color blind find it impossible to tell the difference between varying shades of red and green. You may hear this referred to as red-green color deficiency. However, this doesn’t only mean that they mix up red and green. They can also mix up colors that have some green or red light as part of their whole colors, for example purple and blue. This is because they are unable to see the red light that forms part of the color purple.
As you can probably imagine, this type of visual impairment can be a problem for things like traffic lights, taking medications and even looking at signs and directions. For example, someone who is color blind may find that the green on a traffic light may appear white or even blue.
EnChroma lens technology is specifically designed to counteract red-green color deficiency and enable patients to better identify the difference in these colors or shades. They do this by selectively filtering out the red and green wavelengths of light at the exact point where the color sensitivities overlap before hitting the retina, creating far greater contrast between the colors so that the patient can distinguish between them successfully. Most cases of color blindness respond well to EnChroma’s innovative spectral lens technology, giving patients the ability to experience life in bright, vibrant technicolor.
EnChroma lenses are made from leading edge, Trivex material, and this helps to give them the best possible quality and clarity of vision. These lenses are also extremely light, strong and offer patients 100% protection against UV light, helping to keep your eyes healthy as well as improving your vision.
If you or someone you know is color blind or color deficient and could benefit from EnChroma lenses, contact us today to learn more about how they can help!
Optomap is an innovative new technology that gives eye doctors the ability to perform ultra-wide retinal imaging that is far superior to what can currently be achieved using conventional retinal imaging options. In contrast to conventional retinal imaging, Optomap captures at least 50% more of the retina in a single capture, and with Optomap’s multi-capture function, up to 97% of the retina can be viewed. This gives eye care professionals greater opportunity to monitor the health and condition of patient vision.
Optomap is another great preventative eyecare technology tool. By allowing your eye doctor to have a comprehensive view of your retina, they will be able to detect any developing eye diseases early on, before they have a detrimental impact on your vision and day to day life. Not only can Optomap detect eye conditions such as retinal holes, retinal detachment, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, but it can also be used to identify some general health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer.
Optomap is a fast, painless and non-invasive procedure that is suitable for patients of all ages, even children and pregnant women. Many patients require their eyes to be dilated ahead of the scan and will be given eyedrops which will widen their pupils and make it easier for the camera to see the structures inside the eye. Pupil dilation is painless, but patients may feel more sensitive to light both during their Optomap scan and afterwards for up to 24 hours. You may also have slightly blurred vision for a few hours. Once your eyes are dilated, you’ll be sat down and asked to look into a small device that will take the pictures of your retina. A short flash of light will let you know that the image has been taken, and the entire imaging is over in just a few seconds. The results will be sent digitally to your eye doctor who will then evaluate them. The results will also be stored on your personal optical record for future information.
If you would like more information about what is involved in Optomap, or to schedule an appointment for this effective screening technology, please contact our eyecare team.
Every patient is different and so are their eyes. This means that there need to be different types of contact lenses to suit each individual. Some patients have corneal abnormalities which mean that conventional lenses won’t sit comfortably on the surface of their eyes, while others suffer from eye conditions that mean normal contact lenses won’t be comfortable or could irritate their eyes.
As you may have guessed from the name, specialty contact lenses are unconventional contacts that are designed for patients that regular contacts might not be suitable. Here are some of the main types of speciality contact lenses and who they are recommended for.
Some of the patients that might benefit from specialty contact lenses include those who:
have been diagnosed with dry eye syndrome
have corneal scarring
have been diagnosed with keratoconus, a condition characterized by the bulging of the cornea
suffer from strabismus, a condition where the patient has an eye that turns in or out relative to the other
have suffered an injury to the eye
suffer from a peripheral corneal thinning disorder
are intolerant to other types of lenses
Your eye doctor or contact lens provider will be able to tell you if you need specialty contact lenses and if so, which lenses would be best based on your individual requirements.
Also known as RGP lenses, these are made from a special material that allows oxygen to pass through them and reach the surface of the eyes. This helps to keep the eyes hydrated and comfortable, making these lenses easier to wear, especially for patients who suffer from dry eyes. Dry eyes aren’t just a symptom, but a very real condition, characterized by dry, stiff, and uncomfortable eyes, blurred vision, and eye fatigue. RGP lenses are more rigid than soft lenses, and this helps to keep them stable and secure on the eyes so that patients can enjoy sharper vision. They also help the cornea to maintain its shape, which helps to minimize the effects of some corneal abnormalities.
Scleral contact lenses are very different to standard contact lenses. This is because scleral lenses are much larger in diameter, with three different sizes available depending on your specific needs. This size difference means that the edges of the contact lens fall on a white part of the eye, called the sclera rather than the cornea. Scleral lenses are also different in that they vault over the surface of the cornea rather than touching it, leaving a space between the front surface of the eye and the back of the contact lens. This makes scleral lenses a good choice for patients with dry eyes and corneal abnormalities. Space can trap tear film which keeps the eyes hydrated, while space also accommodates many corneal abnormalities, such as the bulge associated with keratoconus.
Limbal contact lenses are another type of specialty lens that falls between rigid gas-permeable lenses and scleral varieties in terms of their size. Their larger overall diameter helps to increase their stability on the surface of your eyes. They also offer minimal interference with the eyelids, which helps to ensure comfort and clarity of your vision.
Hybrid contact lenses are a combination of both soft and gas-permeable contact lenses, giving patients the opportunity to enjoy the best parts of both designs. The middle part of hybrid lenses is made from gas-permeable material that lets oxygen pass through to the eyes. However, the gas-permeable part of the lens is more rigid, and this firmer center gives the lens greater stability and the patient enhanced clarity. The RGP portion of the lens also helps to trap a tear film between the cornea and the lens so that the eye remains hydrated. Meanwhile, the outer edge of hybrid lenses is a soft lens skirt. This means that patients don’t have to deal with the hard edges associated with RGP lenses that may be uncomfortable. Instead, the comfort levels that patients experience are more like wearing fully soft lenses.
For more information about specialty contact lenses, don’t hesitate to speak to our dedicated eye care team.