Digital Eyestrain


A 2016 report by the Vision Council found that 60% of Americans use digital devices for 5 or more hours each day. 70% of Americans use 2 or more devices at a time.
The term Digital Eyestrain has replaced the term Computer Vision Syndrome due to the increase in types of digital devices. Digital Eyestrain is defined as “physical discomfort of one’s eyes after spending periods of time throughout the day in front of a digital device, such as a computer or smartphone.”

The list of Digital Eyestrain symptoms is long:

Eyestrain, Burning Eyes, Difficulty Refocusing, Grittiness, Dry Eyes, Blurred Vision, Headaches, Irritation, Tired Eyes, Neck/Shoulder/Back Pain, Double Vision, and Redness.

It is reported that we blink an average of 10 times a minute normally, when reading, using a smartphone or other device the blink rate drops to 4 times a minute. Blinking is a vital component to ocular surface health and tear stability. More important than how often we blink is how well we blink. An incomplete blink can cause more tear instability than not enough blinks. A complete blink is necessary to stimulate a muscle on the eyelid margin that releases an important component of the tear film.

Treatment for Digital Eyestrain includes wearing the best visual correction for the task. Reducing glare and fatiguing light with coatings is beneficial also. For contact lens wearers the proper correction for the working distance is important. A clean contact lens surface and proper blinking can minimize dry eye symptoms.


Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis or GPC, is typically associated with contact lens wear. Symptoms include, contact lens discomfort and fluctuating vision. There is often mucus discharge from one or both eyes. A particularly annoying symptom of GPC is dislocation and excess movement of the contact lens.

GPC may occur months or even years after you begin contact lens wear. Among the things that may cause GPC are improper cleaning of contact lenses, infrequent contact lens replacement, and wearing contact lenses for too many hours.

There are tiny papilla on the inside of the upper eyelid normally. Allergies can cause the papilla to swell and secrete histamine which causes itchy eyes. In GPC, the papilla greatly enlarge due to interaction with foreign bodies such as debris on the contact lens or the contact lens itself. The large papilla secrete sticky proteins which adhere to the contact lens causing more debris and forcing the lens to move out of place.

Resolution of GPC includes decrease or cessation of contact lens wear, and often treatment with topical cortico-steroids and mast-cell inhibitors eyedrops. Contact lens wear can usually be resumed with modifications in the lens type and care regime.


Minimize Risk of Contact Lens Related Problems

Contact lens safety depends on the wearer following the prescribed lens wear schedule and cleaning regime.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes three key areas to healthy contact lens wear:
1. Healthy contact lens hygiene habits

Always wash your hands with soap and water before inserting and removing the contact lenses

Replace your contact case at least every 3 months.

2. Proper use, care and storage of contact lenses and supplies

Don’t sleep in your contact lenses. Sleeping in contact lenses increases the chance of an eye infection 6 to 8 times.

Replace your contact lenses as prescribed

Rinse out your contact lens case every morning, turn upside down and allow to air dry.

Soft Contact Lens Solutions

3. Regular visits to the optometrist

Contact lens materials and solutions change as do our eyes. To maintain good vision and healthy eyes have an eye examination every year.

Established contact lens wearers tend to have higher levels of case contamination compared to new contact lens wearers. Poor contact lens habits develop over time, don’t become compliant, remember the details of good contact lens care to ensure your continued successful contact lens use.


Contact Lens Prescriptions

A contact lens is a medical device, like a breast implant or a hearing aid. Contacts can be worn to correct vision as well as for cosmetic or therapeutic reasons. In the United States, all contact lenses require a current prescription. A contact lens prescription generally expires on a yearly basis. This is to ensure that the eyes are healthy enough to support contact lens wear and that the current contact lenses are still the most appropriate. Dr. Griffith

An eye examination is necessary to determine the suitability of contact lenses and also to determine the size, parameters and limitations of the eye. This typically includes a refraction to determine the proper power to see clearly, keratometry to measure the shape and size of the cornea and a thorough health assessment of the eye.

Conditions that may complicate contact lens wear include dry eye, irregular and high astigmatism and eyelid irregularities.


5 Tips to Healthy Eyes this Summer

Contact Lens Safety in water 

Wear sunglasses with UV protection

Did you know that it is actually possible for your eyes to get sunburned?! Just like your skin, your eyes need protection from the sun. Wearing sunglasses outdoors is very important in protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays. Excessive exposure to UV light can also increase your risk for developing early cataracts and macular degeneration. When looking for a new pair of sunglasses, make sure that they have a minimum UV 400 protection and that they block both UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, sunglasses will provide a shield of protection from dust and debris that can get blown into your eyes, which is a great added bonus, especially on those windy beach days!

Maintain safe wear and care of contact lenses

Keep your eyes healthy this summer by practicing safe contact lens wear. Long days, hot weather, travel, and lots of time outdoors can put you at a higher risk of developing a contact lens-related eye problem. In order to minimize this risk don’t forget to maintain proper contact lens hygiene! Remember to make sure that your hands are washed before handling your contact lenses, always use fresh contact lens solution, and minimize contact with water; this includes removing your contacts before going swimming or in a hot tub. And if you notice any redness, irritation, light sensitivity, decreased vision, or discharge, do not wear your contacts and call the office immediately.

Wear protective eyewear

Summertime often means working on projects around the house. This can include gardening, painting, remodeling, etc. that can potentially result in small objects flying around. Make sure you wear proper eye protection during these activities. And by eye protection, this does not mean regular glasses or sunglasses, this means professional quality goggles with impact resistant lenses and full coverage frame. You’ll also want to be sure to protect your peepers while playing sports, especially those that utilize small sized balls, such as golf balls, squash balls, and badminton shuttlecocks. Wearing proper eyewear can prevent up to 90 percent of serious eye injuries. If you do experience an eye injury, make sure to call us so that a proper eye health examination can be performed.

Avoid chemicals and natural irritants

Chemicals found in pools and bacteria often found in lakes and rivers can be harmful or bothersome to your eyes. Be sure to always wear goggles if you will be opening your eyes while playing or swimming in water. Other natural irritants that you may be exposed to while outdoors or hiking can include poison ivy, oak, and insect bites. If you find yourself outside near these irritants, be mindful of keeping your hands clean after touching plants, as rubbing allergens into your eyes can be very uncomfortable. If you notice any eye irritation, swelling, or redness, after any of these activities, contact the office so we can aid in determining the cause and help relieve your symptoms.

Schedule your yearly eye examination

Since you and the kids often have a little extra free time over the summer, it is the perfect time to schedule your annual eye examination?! A comprehensive eye exam is one of the most important preventative ways to preserve vision, and is the only way to accurately assess the health of your eyes, diagnose an eye disorder or disease, and determine if you require corrective lenses. Catching potential eye problems early could save your vision in the future, and that makes for an extremely bright and happy summer! Schedule online.


Are Rigid Gas Permeable Contacts Old-Fashioned?

There are many contact lens choices. At Westside Optometry we will prescribe the best lens for you, your eyes and your lifestyle.

RGP, Soft, Hybrid, Scleral

RGP, Soft, Hybrid, Scleral

The majority of contact lenses prescribed are soft lenses. Within this large category of lens are daily disposables, weekly and monthly replacement. Functional options include multifocals for presbyopia, torics for astigmatism and spherical lenses for hyperopia and myopia.
What happens if there is “a lot” of astigmatism, or astigmatism AND presbyopia or high myopia or high hyperopia? And what if the cornea has been altered by disease or refractive surgery?
Soft contact lenses can’t correct many of these conditions. That’s why there are other contact lens options. Gas Permeable (GP) contact lenses correct astigmatism, have stable crisp optics and are individually designed and manufactured. GP lenses provide more oxygen to the cornea than soft lenses. They last longer and are more durable providing a cost effective solution. Gas Permeables are available in high powers, multi-focals and special designs for irregular corneas.
Hybrids are a blend of soft and gas permeable lens designs. The center of the hybrid lens is gas permeable material and the perimeter is a silicone hydrogel material. This provides crisp optics of the GP and the comfort of a soft lens. The hybrid lenses are available in multifocals and special designs for post-LASIK and irregular corneas.

The majority of contact lens wearers use a soft contact lens, but gas permeable contacts  have many benefits and applications. Gas permeable contact lenses are not old-fashioned,  they have stood the test of time.


Contact Lens Bad Habits






Contact Lens Misbehaviors



  1. Overstayed Welcome. Studies indicate around half of soft contact lens users wear lenses longer than prescribed. If you wait until the lenses start to bother you, you waited to long.
  2. Caught Dirty Handed. The cleanest, daily disposable lenses are all for naught if wearers do not wash their hands before inserting the lenses. The last thing touching the lens before it goes into the eye is your finger.
  3. Damp Digits. The flip side of dirty hands are wet hands. Sometimes people forget to dry their hands before handling contact lenses. Water can harbor harmful microorganisms that can be transferred onto the lens and subsequently into the eye. Make sure the towel you use is clean.
  4. No Respect for the System. Not all contact lens care systems are created equal, in terms of disinfection and chemical sensitivities. Some solutions are not compatible with all  lens materials. Before grabbing a cheaper, generic solution consider your eye comfort and health.
  5. A Case of Grimy Cases. Proper contact lens care extends to storage cases, as well. Contact lens cases should be replaced at least every three months and cases should be cleaned and disinfected daily.
  6. Dozing Dangers. And finally, people snoozing in contact lenses that are not designed to be slept in are at a five times higher risk of developing corneal infections, ulcers and inflammations. Even extended wear lenses carry risk of infections. If you are in a situation without a case and solution, just throw your lenses away instead of sleeping in them.

Contact lenses are an amazing medical device. When treated well and respectively you can count on years of successful wear.


Are Contact Lenses Dangerous?

Contact lenses are safe when you follow replacement schedules, maximum wearing time and other recommendations from Westside Optometry.
Dirty Contact LensA new report from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that millions of Americans who wear contact lenses do things that can significantly increase their risk of eye infections. The findings come from an online survey of contact lens wearers designed to assess the prevalence of contact lens wear and hygeine-related risk behaviors.
According to the study 99% of contact lens wearers reported at least one habit or behavior that increases their risk of eye infection. I know that none of my patients would act in a way to compromise their eye health, but just in case some of you have lapsed, here are some reminders:

Contact lens “wear” risks

  • Sleeping in contact lenses
  • using contact lenses for longer than the recommended replacement schedule

Contact lens “care” risks

  • “Topping off” disinfecting solution in the lens case and using it again
  • Using the same storage case for more than 3 months
  • Not using the prescribed disinfection solutions

Not surprisingly nearly one third of the respondents reported having experienced a red and painful eye that required a visit to the doctor.

Contact lens wear is safe when you follow recommendations and use common-sense.


Contact Lens Prescriptions

Contact lens prescriptions generally expire on a yearly basis, unless otherwise specified. Seeing your eye doctor regularly for a comprehensive eye exam will not only keep your prescription updated, and evaluate your ocular health, but an eye exam will also help identify and lead to diagnosis of other health concerns such as hypertension and diabetes. At your eye exam Dr. Griffith may recommend a newer/better contact lens option for you, too.
A contact lens is a medical device and can be worn to correct vision as well as for cosmetic or therapeutic reasons. In the United States, all contact lenses, even purely cosmetic ones, require a prescription. They must be properly fitted and prescribed by an eye doctor. soft CL

An eye examination is needed to determine an individual’s suitability for contact lenses. This typically includes a refraction to determine the proper power of the lens and an assessment of the health of the eye. Dr. Griffith will also ask questions about your lifestyle, general health and contact lens wearing goal. If you haven’t worn contact lenses before, training for application and removal of the contact lens is necessary. If the lenses are to be re-used, a care and disinfecting system is required too. A follow-up appointment will determine the proper fit and lens compatibility for your eyes. Contact lenses are not a “one size fits all” device. There are many parameters to each lens. Besides the power to correct the vision, material and edge design will effect the comfort. The size: diameter and curvature are factors in the fit and ultimately the response of the cornea and eyelids to the contact lens.

Prescriptions for contact lenses and glasses may be similar, but are not interchangeable.


Successful Contact Lens Wear

Proper contact lens care is essential for the best contact lens wearing experience

contact lens and eye

Contact lens wear is quite safe as long as proper lens and storage case care are followed. Improper lens wear and care can put the lens wearer at risk for serious consequences. Sight-threatening microbial keratitis (corneal ulcer) is the most significant adverse event associated with contact lens wear and is largely preventable.
Single-use or daily disposable soft lenses are prescribed to be worn once and discarded. This is the safest soft lens wearing modality because no lens cleaning, lens care or storage case is required.
The contact lens storage case is the most likely potential reservoir for contact lens related ocular infections. Contact lens cases are not meant to be family heirlooms. Replace the case at least every 3 months.

General contact lens care instructions

  • Hand washing: always wash your hands before handling contact lenses. Use mild, basic soap and avoid  deodorant, fragranced or moisturizing liquid soaps.
  • Cleaning, rinsing and disinfection: Digital cleaning (rubbing the lens with your finger on your palm) removes dirt and debris and prepares the lens surfaces for disinfection. Rub and rinse thoroughly, even if the product is labeled “no rub.” Lens storage solutions contain chemicals that inhibit or kill potentially dangerous microorganisms while the lenses are soaked overnight.
  • Do not re-use old solution or “top-off” the liquid in the lens storage case. Empty the storage case daily and always use fresh solution.
  • Do not use lens care products beyond their expiration dates. Discard opened bottles after 30 days.
  • Do not allow the tip of the solution bottle to cone in contact with any surface, and keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
  • Make-up Removal: Insert contact lenses before applying contact lenses. Take contact lenses off before thoroughly removing make-up every night.
  • Keep contact lens storage case clean, inside and out. Replace the case at least every 3 months.