Alamo Optometry Blog

April 7, 2010

Allergies and Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

Filed under: Contact Lenses,Uncategorized — Tags: , — gkblog @ 9:33 pm

Allergies and Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

As appeared in Alamo Today, April 2010, pg. 24

             Just about this time of year, seasonal allergies are in full swing.  Speaking from a personal point of view, I know dealing with the running nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and tearing are no fun.  I am already having patients come into the office with complaints similar to my own.  The treatment plan for each person is different, but the drugs, drops, and contact lens modalities we use are similar.

            Most of us take either a prescription or over-the-counter antihistamine.  These usually help alleviate some of the systemic symptoms of runny nose, congestion, etc.  In some patients, it also helps with some of the ocular issues of tearing, itching, and redness.  However, the main side effect of these medications is dryness.  If the eyes are dry, it can actually worsen some of the ocular symptoms because there are fewer tears to wash away the allergens in your eye. 

            For this reason, I also recommend topical drops to help in the fight against allergies.  These drops do not solve the problems, but generally enable the patient to function in the spring months.  There are several types of drops that can be used depending on the severity of the symptoms.  For a mild case, I usually recommend artificial tears and a drop like Patanol.  The tears are used to help lubricate the eye and flush out the allergens that are sitting on your eye causing the itching and redness.  Patanol is used to counteract the effect of the allergens on and around your eye while also helping to prevent further episodes.  For the more advanced case, I recommend a short-term use of a topical steroid, which will calm the eye down quicker than Patanol.  Because of the potential side effects, a drop of this kind should only be used for a relatively short period of time.  I usually instruct my patients to use the drop for about a week, and then use Patanol to keep the allergic reaction at bay.  I believe the use of steroids should only be used when indicated, but is a wise treatment choice in those patients that are really suffering.

            For those contact lens wearers, this is the time of year that leads to decreased wear time, build-up on the lenses, and overall intolerance of wear.  Most patients wear their lenses for less time, and/or dispose of them more often.  For all of my potential contact lens patients including those with allergy issues, I recommend daily disposable contacts.  These lenses are thin, easy to adapt to, do not require any cleaning or solutions, and are always comfortable because you put a fresh lens on every day.  Whether you are a recreational wearer for sports or weekends or wear them every day, these lenses are best for convenience, lens hygiene, and lens comfort.  A new lens leads to better vision and eye health because of no lens build up and a decreased risk for infection.  Even though wearing contact lenses during the spring months might be difficult, having a fresh lens every day provides the possibility of longer and comfortable wear.  Lastly, when combined with a rebate for a year supply and not having to purchase solutions and cases, cost is very similar to a year supply of 2-week or 1-month disposable lenses. 

            Obviously, every patient and situation is different.  Some patients don’t like taking drops and some patients are in love with their current lenses so daily disposables might not be an option.  At your visit, you will be evaluated on your particular signs and symptoms and be given the appropriate treatment plan.  The issues and treatments discussed have generally worked well for my patients in the past.  Most of the time, it will be a combination of these that will work best.

Dr. K. at Alamo Optometry is your hometown eye doctor for outstanding service, vision care, and designer eyewear.  He can be reached at 820-6622 or visit his office at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 165 in Alamo.  Visit our website at: www.alamooptometry.com  and become a fan on our Alamo Optometry Facebook page.

July 1, 2008

Contact Lenses

Filed under: Contact Lenses — Tags: — admin @ 11:08 pm

(As appeared in Alamo Today July 2008 edition, pg.24)

Recent advancements in contact lens technology and manufacturing have made contact lens comfort and vision easier than ever. Depending on your prescription, eye health, and how often you want to wear contacts, there is likely a contact lens for you. Soft daily disposable contacts are gaining popularity because they are convenient and healthy for your eyes. These lenses are very thin, and therefore easy to adapt to. From an eye health perspective, these are the best lenses for you because there is no build-up on the lenses, which can lead to decreased wearing time and possible infections. In addition, these are very convenient because you don’t have to worry about cleaning and storing your lenses, or having to buy solution. The other advantage is you can wear these lenses as much or as little as you like. If you want to wear them just for sports, recreation, vacation, or just going out to dinner, these lenses are the choice for you. However, even if you want to wear them every day, dailies are still the most convenient and healthy lenses on the market.

If you need heavy contact lens wear including extended wear (sleeping in your lenses), you might want to try silicone hydrogel lenses. Some of these lenses are now FDA approved for up to 30 days of continuous wear. This new material makes the lenses firmer, and allows for an average of a 4 to 6 fold increase in oxygen flow to the eye. Obviously, there are some potential health issues with the eyes that come along with sleeping in your lenses, so it is not for everybody; that can be determined at your exam and at follow-up visits. Most people enjoy the freedom these lenses give you and the increased end of day comfort. If your eye receives more oxygen, it will be less fatigued and red at the end of the day.

Toric contact lenses are now better than ever. If you have astigmatism, that means the front part of your eye (the cornea) is more oblong-shaped, similar to an egg. Because the eye is not equally curved, a toric lens is needed to help you see well. These lenses are still soft and you care for them the same as any other lens. Toric contacts are now available in daily disposable and in the silicone hydrogel material.

For those of you who love your contacts but need some reading help, multi-focal contacts and monovision are your options. Multifocal lenses allow you to see both distance and near out of each eye, while maintaining binocular vision. Being able to see the same out of each eye enables the brain to use your eyes as a team, as compared to monovision, which corrects one eye for distance and the other for near. With monovision, you wear a single vision distance contact on one eye and a near lens on the other eye. Both modes of correction are popular and both have their attributes and drawbacks. Whether multi-focals or monovision would work best for you would depend on prescription and what your visual demands are at work and for leisure.

Lastly, color contacts are available in daily disposable, toric, and regular 2 or 4-week disposable lenses. The colors vary across the spectrum and will give you either a subtle change in color or a profound one. Some patients use these lenses full-time, and some wear clear contacts, but have a small supply of color lenses for special occasions. The nice thing is you can try on some of the colors in the office to see if they are a good fit for the change you are looking for.
Finally, it is important to remember that contact lenses are medical devices, and can cause eye health consequences if not worn and cared for properly. That is why annual exams are mandatory to ensure good vision and eye health. We will patiently work with you to determine which prescription and type of lenses would be best for you. Our goal is that your vision and comfort with your lenses is the best that it can be.

Dr. K. at Alamo Optometry is your hometown eye doctor for outstanding service, vision care, and designer eyewear. He can be reached at 925-820-6622 or visit his office at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 165 in Alamo.

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