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Podcast #10: NaturalVue Contact Lenses with Dr. Douglas Benoit

Welcome to The Bright Eyes Podcast: Advice for Healthy Vision for All Ages. Your hosts are Dr. Nate Bonilla-Warford & Dr. Beth Knighton, residency-trained optometrist that provide eye exams for glasses and contacts, and specialty services including vision therapy, myopia control, orthokeratology, and sports vision training. Their mission to empower patients by providing the best in friendly, professional, and individualized eye care.

In this episode, Dr. Nate talks with Dr. Douglas Benoit about contact lenses and NaturalVue spherical and multifocal lenses from Visioneering Technologies, Inc.

 

The Full transcript:

Intro: 00:11 Welcome to the bright eyes podcast, advice for healthy vision for all ages. Your hosts are Dr. Nate Bonilla Warford and Dr. Beth Knighton, residency trained optometrist providing eye care to all ages with exams for glasses and contacts, and specialty services, including vision therapy, Myopia control, orthokeratology, and sports vision training. Their mission is to empower patients by providing the best in friendly, professional, and individualized eye care.

Dr. Nate: 00:42 Not far from Clearwater beach, the number one beach in the nation, It is the Bright Eyes Podcast. This is episode number 10. I am Dr Nate Bonilla- Warford, and I have a special guest with me. Dr. Douglas Benoit.

speaker benoit 300×300

Douglas Benoit, OD

Dr. Benoit: 00:42 Hi Nate.

Dr. Nate: 00:42 Hi, how are you?

Dr. Benoit: 00:55 Doing well, how about yourself?

Dr. Nate: 00:56 I’m great. I’m doing really, really well and I’m excited that you are here with us. We’re going to talk about contact lenses, which you have many years of experience with. Before we get into that, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself. I’ll give the basics. You’re an optometrist. You’re a fellow of the American Academy of optometry. You’re the director of professional affairs at Visioneering Technologies, Inc, otherwise known as “VTI”.

Dr. Benoit: 01:21 That is correct. I practiced for 34 years in OD, MD group, we were all sub specialty folks. I had the pleasure of working primarily with contact lens patients, generally the type that had special needs such as GP wearers, people that needed scleral lenses, et Cetera, and I had the opportunity to work with a lot of bifocal patients, which was really a passion of mine. I also, over that period of time did a number of clinical studies, which is actually how I became involved with VTI.

Dr. Nate: 01:53 And you’re originally from New Hampshire, but I gather you get around the country quite a bit these days.

Dr. Benoit: 01:58 Yes. As part of the job I do have to travel quite a bit and with some changes that have occurred recently I’m traveling more much to the chagrin of my wife.

Dr. Nate: 02:08 My Dad actually, he does consulting and speaking in the education field and and he’s on the road a lot, but he’s narrowed down his primary gigs to Hawaii and California.

Dr. Benoit: 02:21 Well that would be a nice goal. My wife would like to travel back to California, I’m sure as it is, sometimes she gets to go with me depending on where it is and how much time I’ll actually get to spend with her.

Dr. Nate: 02:32 Right. Absolutely. So. OK, so for our listeners who are patients, we know that there are many contact lens options, uh, for patients, but a lot of times patients don’t really know what their options are or why they should be interested in them. If you’re like me, you’re probably somewhere, a family gathering or a barbecue or almost anywhere and they find out that you’re an optometrist and they always want to say, oh, you, I was told I cannot wear contacts or uh, you know, I tried contacts 15 years ago, you know, and they didn’t work. Do you feel like things have changed a lot since your, you know, your early days with context?

Dr. Benoit: 03:11 Well, yes, they have changed a large, large amount. When I was first in training a 30 some odd years ago, they had pma lenses and they were just coming out with soft materials. Those were two radically different types of contact lenses and it really took a different approach. Over the years, the old hard lenses have changed slightly, the materials now breathe so that they’re much gentler on the tissue of the eye, but the soft lens is really where the large changes have occurred. In the beginning, these lenses were produced in a vial, they were autoclave for sterility and the lenses were very expensive and you tried to keep them for a year or more using very heroic cleaning methods. Over the intervening years we have gotten smarter about the care, so that has become easier. But in the last 15 or so years, the move has been towards daily disposable lenses so that we can eliminate the problem of solution reactions or just poor cleaning. Anybody that has a question about poor cleaning with a contact lens, just think about your teenage son and his room

Dr. Nate: 04:19 Exactly. That’s something I actually mentioned in the, uh, in the exam chair here at Bright Eyes Kids pretty regularly. What are some reasons that patients might want to consider contacts over glasses

Dr. Benoit: 04:32 Well contact lenses do give you the opportunity to do active things such as working out, riding a bike, golf, things of that nature where glasses sometimes could get in the way either by slipping off or steaming up. So contact lenses are really, really nice in that regard. There are some folks that are into theatrical and in certain situations they might not want to be wearing glasses if they’re doing a period piece. So a contact lens there would give them the opportunity to blend in with their surroundings, so to speak.

Dr. Nate: 05:03 And who is a good candidate for contact lenses?

Dr. Benoit: 05:06 Well, I think anyone that’s motivated and has a healthy eye is a good candidate for contact lenses. At, you know, one point they used to tell folks that they had astigmatism, that they really couldn’t wear a contact lens. Uh, thank goodness that actually is not the case. The original contact lenses which were commercially available in the United States back in 1887 were for severely deformed corneas, primarily a very severe form of astigmatism. So that has evolved over the years. We now have many, many ways to correct both astigmatism and the need for a bifocal in a contact lens and there are some instances where we might actually use a contact lens in youngsters to try and prevent changes in their vision.

Dr. Nate: 05:46 Yes. That’s something that we talk about here a lot at Bright Eyes Kids. Now, you know, you mentioned kids, a lot of parents are very surprised to find that we can do contact lenses at all. A lot of people feel like until children are teenagers contact lenses are just not an option. Do you think that that was true previously that we initially started it at teenagers or do you think that was just a myth that sort of came out of nowhere?

Dr. Benoit: 06:17 I think it’s probably a combination. I think it was the comfort level of the doctor and or the parent as far as getting a contact lens on that particular youngster. What I have found over the years is that it really isn’t an age thing so much so maturity level thing. Some youngsters are ready to wear a contact lens at six years old and some won’t ever be ready again think about that teenage boy.

Dr. Nate: 06:41 I agree completely. I think that a motivation is absolutely everything. The worst case scenario in my opinion is when the parent really wants their kids to wear contacts and the kid really does not because if he doesn’t want the lens in his eye, he’s not going to get it in his eyes. There’s just no way, no way around it, but if there’s, if there’s sports, if it’s cosmetic, if there’s some other motivation than kids who can be very successful at wearing contact lenses. Pretty much independent of the age. That’s my experience for sure.

Dr. Benoit: 07:15 I would agree with that.

Dr. Nate: 07:16 What about people who were either bifocals or reading glasses are contact lenses a good option for them?

Dr. Benoit: 07:23 Yes, they are and there are a number of ways that that can be approached. I mean, one of the simplest ways would be to have contact lenses for distance and then put on a pair of reading glasses when you need it to do something on the computer or to read your cell phone, let’s say. But a lot of folks that are interested in contact lenses really don’t want to be bothered wearing glasses at all. And luckily for them, since about 1949, we have had bifocal contact lens is available and the designs that we have currently are really very, very good at correcting most patients needs as I used to, like to tell my patients if they’re motivated and willing to put up with the adaptation to these different optics in these contact lenses, about eighty percent of the time they’ll be able to function very, very normally and not have to rely on glasses at all.

Dr. Nate: 08:12 Yeah. Some of the happiest patients are ones that are so irritated with their reading glasses, misplacing them, having one in every room in the house except for the room that they’re in. And uh, you know, getting those patients into contacts is extremely rewarding.

Dr. Nate: 08:27 Now, when I first got my first pair of contacts, I was in high school, I got one pair, one for each eye. The pair had to last the entire year and I told all my friends, I’m like, Hey, I’m coming to school tomorrow and I’m going to be in my contacts. I’m not going to be wearing my glasses. And the very first morning I let one go down the drain and that was, I don’t know, $80 worth, you know, or something. Nowadays, you know, it, the idea of a fitting a child in an annual lens is just completely unheard of. I definitely have seen in my practice going to the, uh, the daily disposable or single use lenses has dramatically increased the comfort. Um, but most importantly, the health and safety of lenses. You travel around and talk to docs from, from all over. Do you think that that’s something that every doctor’s reporting?

Dr. Benoit: 09:25 I agree with that, yes, the advent of daily disposables of single use lenses has really improved the health of all patients. It makes it a lot easier for travel. If you do have one go down the drain, which you shouldn’t because the water shouldn’t ever be running when you’re doing your contact lenses, but if you should happen to lose a lens in that fashion, you can just open up another lens and put it in your eye. I don’t have to refer it to wearing glasses until you can order a new lens.

vti differenceDr. Nate: 09:50 One of the things that we see as doctors is companies are, you know, they come out with contact lenses on a very regular basis. Sometimes it’s a little bit overwhelming for doctors because there’s just, there’s so many products. However, um, I was very excited when Brian, our rep from, from VTI, from Visioneering Technologies came in, uh, because I had been trying to get my hands on the natural view of Lens set for patients because I’d heard so many good things about it. So why don’t you tell us just a little bit about what sets Natural View apart from some of the other lenses that are out there.

Dr. Benoit: 10:30 Well, the natural view multi-focal contact lens is a one day Lens. It has a center distance design where the majority of multi-focal soft daily disposable lenses are currently center near designs, a the center distance design also uses what we call an extended depth of focus mechanism to actually create the power for reading, so folks that have the need for a bifocal that are say 42 or someone like myself that is 63 can wear the same lens and not have to worry about having a different add power as we call it. So it’s very, very nice for the doctor because you have one shape, one size and this universal add and you don’t have to worry about trying to pick too many parameters at once. So it really makes it very convenient for the doctor.

Dr. Nate: 11:21 So I’m, I’m very happy and very impressed with the lens and the patients have been too, before we wrap up here today, I appreciate your, your time. I appreciate you coming to the office. It’s always fun to be able to record in person as opposed to to over skype, which we do sometimes. Uh, is there anything else that you’d like to tell a patient? Maybe they’re interested in contact lenses. Anything else that you’d like them to think about that, that maybe they hadn’t thought about before?

Dr. Benoit: 11:51 Well, I think that anyone that’s listening to this podcast, if you haven’t thought about contact lenses, maybe you should. Contact Lenses can work for pretty much anyone as long as you’ve got motivation to where the contact lens and certainly here at a bright eyes, you will get to some of the best care that you will get anywhere.

Dr. Nate: 12:11 Well, thank you for that Dr. Benoit. So to all of our listeners, thank you for listening. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, you can email us at office@brighteyestampa.com. Until next time, we’ll all be at the beach,

Exit: 12:30 Brought to you by Bright Eyes Family Vision Care and Bright Eyes Kids. Find previous episodes and more detailed information at brighteyestampa.com, creative Commons, copyright attribution, non-commercial use. The only purpose of this podcast is to educate and to inform. It is no substitute for professional care by a doctor experienced in the area you require. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. Please consult your physician for diagnosis treatment.

 

Intro/outro music: Lucas Warford of Three For Silver.

My Daughter’s Ortho-K Journey

I wear glasses. Most people in my family wear glasses or contacts because they cannot see well at a distance. They have myopia, also known as nearsightedness. This story is similar for my wife, Cristina who is also the office manager at Bright Eyes. She and many members of her family are myopic. So it was not surprising that our older child, Nora, has also become nearsighted. She has now started orthokeratology to help keep her from become even more nearsighted. Read on to find out more about her Ortho-K journey.

Nora's First Eye Exam

Nora’s First Exam

Nora is not alone. All over the world, people are becoming more myopic and kids are needing glasses at earlier ages. At Nora’s regular eye exams (see recommendations here), I have been checking her vision carefully. Two years ago it was obvious that she was going to be become nearsighted. We had been implementing several steps to delay her impending myopia.

Finally, the summer before 4th grade during a game of “eye spy” it was evident that she was having trouble seeing clearly far away. An eye exam was scheduled and a prescription for -1.00 D glasses was written. She picked out some lovely and fun glasses before school started. She also had soft daily disposable contacts for occasional use.

Nora before Ortho-K

Nora Before Orthok

By Spring Break, Nora was squinting again even with her glasses. Indeed, her exam showed that her prescription had increased. We were ready to employ some methods to reduce the rate at which her vision was getting worse. This is called myopia control and the basic options are Ortho-k, soft multifocal contacts, and atropine eyedrops. So Cristina and I decided that it was time for Nora to do Ortho-K. We knew this time would come, it was just a matter of when it was convenient to start. We decided Spring Break was the perfect time.

The first step was to get Nora on board. After all, she liked her glasses and was not excited at first about giving them up. Cristina and I talked with her about freedom from glasses for sports and swimming. We also showed her some of these videos from YouTube. She was ready!

Nora came to Bright Eyes Kids for her Ortho-K exam. This includes more vision testing and special testing of the front part of her eyes called corneal topography. This special test allowed me to design custom NightLens Ortho-K lenses for her. They were produced in a specialized contact lens lab and sent to the office.

Nora was very excited when her Ortho-K lenses came in. At this point she was taught how to put them in and take them out safely as well as everything she needed to know about caring for her lenses. That night, she put the contacts in and went to sleep. It was surprisingly easy. The next day she came to Bright Eyes Kids for her 1-day evaluation and she was seeing 20/20! Her vision has been great ever since. She was able to do everything on her Spring Break trip including kayaking, Everglades Airboat rides, and the Trampoline park all without her glasses.

Nora After Orthok

Nora After Orthok

If you think that your child is a candidate for Ortho-K and want to find out more call us at (813)792-0637 or request an appointment.

By the way, Nora’s brother is two years younger than her and he is not nearsighted yet, but we are trying to prevent it with atropine eye drops. You can learn more about that here.

-Dr. Nate

PS – If you are an eye doctor who has employed any myopia control strategies with your kids, I’d love to talk to you about it. Email me at Doc@BrightEyesTampa.com.

 

PeroxiClear Contact Lens Solution Recalled

peroxiclear-box

Recalled product.

Attention patients:

Our office has been informed that Bausch + Lomb is conducting a voluntary recall of PeroxiClear® 3% Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaning & Disinfecting solution in the U.S. and Canada. Although this voluntary recall represents low risk to patients and is unlikely to cause serious health consequences, the company is voluntarily recalling the product from retailers, wholesalers, and eye care professionals. Bausch + Lomb chose to initiate this voluntary action based on internal testing that simulated normal product use. Testing showed occasional occurrences where the residual peroxide remaining in the lens case after neutralization was out of product specification potentially causing temporary symptoms of burning/stinging, irritation, red eye and in rare circumstances other more serious health consequences.

ClearCarePackage

Recommended solution

For all patients who are using PeroxiClear, for more information on the voluntary product recall, Bausch + Lomb has recommended that you contact Stericycle, Inc., the firm conducting this product recall on behalf of Bausch + Lomb, at 1-877-877-0481. If you would like to report a product complaint, please contact the Bausch + Lomb Consumer Affairs team at 1-800-553-5340 or BLCustomerCare@bausch.com in the U.S. or 1-888-459-5000 in Canada.

Dr. Nate and Dr. Beth recommend that patients using PeroxiClear switch to Clear Care hydrogen peroxide solution. Read the package instructions carefully. As with PeroxiClear, do not put Clear Care directly in your eyes. You can find out more from https://www.clearcaresolution.com/ or call us at 813-792-0637.

7 Tips to Survive Allergy Season

The tree pollen counts are sky-high this week in Tampa. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, more than 60 million Americans suffer from allergies. The same yellow dust that is coating all of our cars is also getting into our eyes. Are you suffering this week from itchy, red watery eyes? It may be due to ocular allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis. Some people can even have ocular allergies without allergies affecting the nose and throat.

Allergy forecast(from www.pollen.com)

So, what can we do to survive the spring??

  1. Wear sunglasses to help prevent pollen falling into your eyes.
  2. Look up the pollen counts so you can plan your outdoor activities for lower pollen count days. The pollen levels are typically highest on windy, dry, sunny days.
  3. Keep your windows closed to avoid airborne pollens.
  4. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
  5. Shower after outdoor activities to rinse the pollen off your skin and hair. This pollen will continue to irritate your eyes, nose and throat even after coming inside.
  6. Contact lenses can sometimes magnify the itchiness you experience. Some people get relief with daily disposable contact lenses or changing contact lens cleaning during allergy season. Come in for an exam with Drs. Nate or Beth to see what would be best for you.
  7. Consult with your primary care doctor or allergist to see if an allergy medication is right for you.

Call our office to schedule an appointment if you suspect ocular allergies are affecting you.

-Dr. Beth.

Air Optix Colors Contact Lenses Are Here!

AO_home_img2_770x549I will be honest. I have actively discouraged patients from using cosmetic contact lenses. I have done it for years. Not because I have anything against colored lenses, but because the most common lens, Freshlook, was uncomfortable and not as healthy as new lenses i prescribe.

People are familiar with the Freshlook brand of colored lenses, because it’s been around for 18 years! And until now, Freshlook was the leading brands for colored contacts. So some people feel if something works, why bother change? And for 18 years, Freshlook must have been doing something right, right? Well, who can imagine using a cell phone that was made 18 years ago? It is a ridiculous thought. Continue reading

Bright Eyes Kids is Coming Soon!!

Bright Eyes Kids

Bright Eyes Kids is coming soon!

Since we opened Bright Eyes Family Vision Care in 2006, the number of pediatric patients has steadily grown. At first we saw very few, but now almost half of our patients are under 18 years old. And that is no accident. After I completed my Residency in Pediatric Optometry and Binocular Vision in Chicago, I knew I wanted to work with kids. I wondered if I was crazy for moving home to Florida, the retirement capital of the world.

Well, lo and behold, there are children in Florida and many of them need eye care. So we have been planning for the last year to expand our services specifically to children. And I am now very, very happy to announce that in March we will be opening a new location specifically for children’s eye care. Called Bright Eyes Kids, it will bring the skill and care you expect from us at Bright Eyes Family Vision Care to New Tampa and be tailored specifically for children!

Why New Tampa? Well there are many reasons. The first is that we frequently have patients that come from areas such as Gainesville, Winter Haven, and other places east of Tampa. Located near I-75, the new office will be much more accessible for patients because they will not have to drive all the way across town. Another reason is that my family and close relatives actually live in the New Tampa area and it will be great to practice closer to home. The new address is 15303 Amberly Drive, Suite C, Tampa, FL 33647.

What will be offering at Bright Eyes Kids? Eye exams for infants, toddlers, and gradeschoolers and teens. We will be fitting contact lenses and specialty glasses for young kids. We will have an expanded area to offer vision therapy, to help children develop the visual skills they need to be successful at school and life. We will offer orthokeratology for kids who want 20/20 vision all day while not wearing glasses or contacts.

But don’t worry – nothing will change at Bright Eyes Family Vision Care in Westchase. I will still be seeing patients there regularly and we will. Moms, grandpas and other adults are welcome to come see us there!

Now, please. Help us making Bright Eyes Kids the best it can be by completing this very, very short survey. While we are finalizing details about the new office, this is your chance to help us get them right. Click here to take the brief survey.

Dr. Nate

By Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
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More on the Dailies Total 1 Contact lens

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a series of classes about the new contact lens Dailies Total 1. I had written about this when we first tried the lens. Since then I have used it with many patients and believe it to be an extremely comfortable lens. However, I learned a great deal more about the science of the lenses.

I enjoyed the fact that the speaker were not just optometrists, but visual scientists and physicians who could answer questions about the behavior of the lenses and the affects on visual comfort.

Here are a few things that I learned, some of which are a bit technical:

  • Alcon, the company that makes Dailies Total 1, has put 10 years of research and development into this lens. All of this research has been as a single use lens. It is not indicated for multiple days, nor is it approved for overnight wear. We simply do not know what happens when you use contact lens solution or if they are safe to sleep in, so it is not recommended.
  • This lens mimics the human eye. We don’t usually feel our eyelids when we blink because the tears form a “water gradient” cushion. Dailies Total 1 creates a similar tear cushion to allow for lenses that many people simply can’t feel.
  • Many people do feel that their eyes feel better with the lenses in than out. There are many reasons for this, but one of the biggest is that the coefficient of friction is very low – similar to an ice cube sliding on a saucer.
  • While the inside of the lens is a very breathable contact lens, the outside approaches pure water. There has never been a contact lens like this before and for this reason it is available in a small prescription range. Right now it is only available for nearsighted people (myopes). Hopefully soon, it will be available for astigmatism, farsightedness, and people who need multifocal contact lenses.
  • People do need to change how they take out the lenses. Because these are designed to be super low-friction lenses, they will be very slippery with wet fingers. It is extremely important to dry your fingers completely when you take them out.

I do know that personally, Dailies Total 1 is the most comfortable lens I have ever worn. I have dry eyes and cannot usually tolerate lenses for more than 3 or 4 hours, but with this lens, I can go 8 to 10 hours, which is pretty cool.

 

DT1

New Water-Gradient Contact Lenses – Alcon’s Dailies Total 1 Available at Bright Eyes!

dailies total1 (640x419)

Bright Eyes is excited about the newest daily contact lens: Dailies Total 1! Manufactured by Ciba Vision, this new lens is the first to supply the perfect balance between hydration and comfort for daily contact lenses.

Sometimes people find a lens that’s comfortable, but they still experience occasional discomfort during the day. Then, they continue to hear about the newest lens that is the most comfortable and “breathable”one out there. The difference with Dailies Total 1 is the increase in the amount of water-permeability throughout the lens. Unlike the other Silicone Hydrogel lenses, Dailies Total 1 lenses still includes great breathe-ability for the lens, but adds more “wettability” for comfort: > 80% water-content.

At Bright Eyes, we love new technology and we are proud that among the first optometry practices in the nation to offer this premium contact lens. I am very excited to offer it to people who have issues with dryness and discomfort with their normal contact lenses. I personally have dry eyes and I can only tolerate most contact lenses for 3 to 4 hours. I always like to try products before offering them to patients and with Dailies Total 1 I am able to wear them all day. My staff have have also tried these lenses, and find this lens to be the top-class for comfort.

Here is a short video about how comfortable these lenses are:

You can also learn more about Dailies Total 1 by visiting: http://www.dailies.com/products/dailies-total-one.shtml.

Stop by or call us to make an appointment to try theses super comfortable contacts!

 

Dr. Nate

By Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care

 

Want to Wear Contacts? Take the Acuvue 1-Day Moist Contact Lens Challenge!

1DayEvent

Have you always wanted to wear contacts, but never asked your eye doctor if you could? Do your glasses get in the way during sports or other hobbies? Or maybe you already use contacts, but you just find them irritating or inconvenient?

Well, we have the event for you! The Bright Eyes Acuvue 1-Day Contact Lens Challenge! Here is how it works:

Every participant in the 1- day Challenge will receive:

A contact lens exam Healthy, comfortable, clear vision is always our top priority. We want to make sure these contacts are right for you and will work well.
Trial contacts to last for 1 week – We want you to really see the benefits of 1-Day lenses, not only in the office, but it your everyday life. So we give you lenses to use for the week. No contact lens solution needed!
Contact lens training – If you haven’t worn contacts before, we will teach you how to put them in and take them out safely. Of course, there is no care needed – simply throw them away at night.
A 30-Day supply of Acuvue 1-Day Moist contacts After you come back for your follow up appointment, and we agree that everything is awesome, you will receive your 30 supply of contact lenses.
$50 discount towards sunglasses – Acuvue 1 Day Moist contacts have UV protection to help protect your eyes from the sun, but you should still use UV blocking sunglasses to protect the areas around your eyes, which is why we are giving you $50 towards any sunglasses we carry!

All of this for only $100! But only for the month of June!

Why Acuvue 1 Day Moist? Simply put, they are super healthy and convenient. Not only are they incredibly comfortable, but they eliminate the problems from allergies and deposits. Best of all, you do not have to buy and use contact lens cleaning solution, which can bother certain people!

Want to learn more about Johnson & Johnson Acuvue 1-Day Moist Contact Lenses? Visit their website. You can also watch the fun video below to get an idea of how great 1-Day contacts are!

Ready to get started in your new contact lenses? Just call 813-792-0637, or request an appointment online.

 

 

What happens if you don’t take care of your contact lenses???

My friend and occasional collaborator, Jessica Barnett asked me a question on Twitter the other day: “Random thought.. Do you have any blogs about the dangers of wearing contacts for too long/way too long?”

My first thought was, “Oh, man. She must be in big trouble.” Most people don’t think about the possible harm contacts can do until they have red, angry, painful eyes. It turns out that, no, she just has a lot of friends who push their contacts WAY past their limits. And she wanted some info to share with them.

Of course, a great place for medical information is the FDA Medical Devices page on Contact lenses, but the site can be a little less than engaging. And there is a lot of information that is put out by contact lens manufacturers, distributors, and vendors, but they don’t really get at what Jessica was asking.

First, let’s clarify a bit of terminology. When patients do not follow the recommendations regarding their contact lenses, they usually refer to it as “wearing contacts for too long.” Sometimes they say they just “over-wear” contacts. What doctors call it is “contact lens abuse.” Because, like almost anything, contacts can be used properly to provide safe, clear, and comfortable vision, or they can be used in a way that causes unnecessary risk.

When people abuse their contacts proteins, oils, bacteria, and allergens build up on the surface of the lenses. These are then in constant contact (get it? 8)) with the sensitive lining of your eyeball and eyelids. If you do not take your contacts out, or you wear them longer than you are supposed to, you limit the ability of your eyes to clean and recover. This increases the likelihood of a problem that can range from something mildly annoying to something permanently blinding – like acanthamoeba.

So what is the worst that can happen? Check out this video to illustrate “the worst week of my life.”

Or this quieter patient saying that it felt like ” my eye was going to burst out of my face”

Most contact lens complications are certainly not this bad. Most commonly, people first develop dry, red eyes as a result of the eyes not getting enough oxygen, the lenses not fitting correctly, or as a reaction to components of the contact lens cleaning solution. You do not want to let these initial problems develop into an infection or a corneal ulcer as described in the videos above. As a general rule, if you experience any pain, redness, watery eyes, sensitivity to light, or the feeling that something is in your eye or stuck on the contact take out the contacts and schedule a visit with the eye doctor that prescribed your lenses.

Here are some things you can do to reduce the chances of problems with contacts:

  1. Throw away your contacts as recommended.
  2. Do not sleep in your contacts unless specifically allowed by your doctor.
  3. NEVER use tap water when cleaning lenses.
  4. Wash your hands before handling contacts.
  5. Ignore the “no rub” label. Clean your contacts as instructed.
  6. Never reuse contact lens solution.
  7. Keep your contact lens case clean and replace it regularly.
  8. Own an up-to-date pair of back-up glasses to give your eyes a break.
Here is an FDA video to illustrate the proper care of contacts:

One last thought: People usually abuse their contacts to save money. They think they are being clever by using contact lenses extra times or reusing solution. But keep in mind that if you develop any of the problems above, you might not only risk never being able to wear contacts again, but it can be very expensive to treat. It is smarter (and cheaper) to prevent problems in the first place. If you do experience problems with your contacts, again, discontinue wearing them and call or contact us online to schedule an appointment to make sure you are not having any problems.

So from now on… if I even think you are abusing your contacts, I’m going to send Jessica over to have a nice long chat with you to set you straight! (And you don’t want that!)

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.

Book Appointment Click to Call (813) 358-0400 Take Me There