Eye Health


Make-up Safety circa 1984

I was cleaning out some files and found a consumer safety booklet titled EYE PRODUCTS. The copyright belongs to Merle Norman Cosmetics and it was dated 6-84.
The brochure contents promote Merle Norman cosmetics but very subtly. The emphasis is on safe use of eye products and cosmetics. I’d like to share the Twelve Tips for Safety as they are still relevant and timely.


  1. If any eye product causes irritation, stop using it immediately. You should contact your eye doctor.
  2. Do not allow cosmetics to become covered with dust or contaminated with dirt or soil. Wipe off the container with a damp cloth if visible dust or dirt is present, and do not use the container until it is dry.
  3. Do not use old containers of eye cosmetics. If you haven’t used a product for several months, it is safer to discard it and purchase a new one.
  4. Do not spit or introduce any foreign substance (even water) into any cosmetic. The bacteria in your mouth or in tap water may grow in the cosmetic and subsequent application to the eye may cause infection.
  5. Do not share your cosmetics. Another person’s bacteria in your cosmetic could be hazardous to you.
  6. Do not store cosmetics at high temperatures. Cosmetics held for long periods in hot cars, for example, are more susceptible to deterioration.
  7. Avoid using eye cosmetics if you have an infection of the eye or skin around the eye, or if the skin is inflamed.
  8. Recognize that your hands contain millions of bacteria which, if placed in your eye, could cause infections. Wash your hands carefully before applying cosmetics to your eyes.
  9. Make sure that any instrument you place in the area of your eye is clean, and extremely careful not to scratch the eyeball or any other area.
  10. When applying or removing eye cosmetics, be extremely careful not to scratch the eyeball or any other sensitive area.
  11. Use the side of the brush or applicator in a motion parallel to the lash line. Never point applicators directly into the eye area.
  12. Take particular care in using eye cosmetics if you have a history of allergies to cosmetic products. If in doubt, consult your eye doctor before using any such cosmetic products.

The take home message is don’t use old products, don’t share make-up, wash your hands before touching the area around your eye and don’t hesitate to call for help.


Quality Sunglasses

Sunglasses not only offer style but they offer protection from damaging ultraviolet radiation. Quality sunglasses are more expensive and worth it because of the premium optics, coatings, frames and style.
 The optics of your sunglasses determine the clarity and comfort of vision. Polarized lenses like Maui Jim minimize glare and reflections.
Sunglass lens treatments increase visibility and comfort. Backside anti-reflective coatings reduce glare from behind and repel water and dust. A mirror coating further reflects annoying light and glare.
Well-made frames start with quality materials that resist breakage and bending. The weight and balance of the frame is important for comfort as well.
Frames are styled for specific sports or can be highly fashionable. The details may include flexible hinges, variable color combinations and wrap styling.  

Don’t skimp on your sunglasses. You deserve the best comfort, protection and style.


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.


What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

Do you think you will know if you have glaucoma?

The first symptom of the most common type of glaucoma (open angle) is permanent loss of vision. Once vision loss occurs it is downhill, the damage from glaucoma is irreversible and challenging to slow down.
Glaucoma signs include increase intra-ocular pressure (IOP) which is measured during an eye exam. Visual field loss, also measured during an eye examination and loss of retinal nerve fibers and damage to the optic nerve, visible during a dilated eye examination. The best way to determine if you have or are at risk of glaucoma is by having a dilated eye examination.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve usually caused by increased pressure inside the eye.

Glaucoma Risk Factors:

Family history

Age – greater than 60


Race – African American have higher risk


Glaucoma is treated with drops or surgery and sometimes both.

Don’t wait until you have vision loss to learn that you have glaucoma, schedule an eye exam today.



I See Smoke

A google search looking for “what’s in a cigarette?” produced the list below. Most of the products containing these ingredients earn a special danger or poison label. The substances are not listed on a pack of cigarettes.

Here are a few of the chemicals in tobacco smoke and the other places you can find them (list from the American Lung Association):

Acetone – found in nail polish remover
Acetic Acid – an ingredient in hair dye
Ammonia – a common household cleaner
Arsenic – used in rat poison
Benzene – found in rubber cement
Butane – used in lighter fluid
Cadmium – active component in battery acid
Carbon Monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes
Formaldehyde – embalming fluid
Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid
Lead – used in batteries
Naphthalene – an ingredient in mothballs
Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel
Nicotine – used as insecticide
Tar – material for paving roads
Toluene – used to manufacture paint

How naive am I? I thought all the danger in cigarettes came from the nicotine in the tobacco leaves. I couldn’t understand where all the poisons and toxins on the above list came from. Further googling introduced me to the “additives” in cigarettes. Chemicals are added to the tobacco to flavor and fragrance the cigarette “brand”. There are additives for improving texture and holding the leaves together. I can only assume that burning the tobacco and additives creates more toxins.



Crying man with cigarette So what does this have to do with eyeballs? Unfortunately smoking contributes to many ocular conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, dry eye disease, diabetic retinopathy and retinal vascular occlusions. Fortunately if you quit inhaling the toxic chemicals, the risk of related ocular diseases is nearly extinguished to the non-smoker level.


New Safety Eyewear

90% of all eye injuries are preventable with proper use of protective eyewear. (Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality)


Westside Optometry has a new line of safety eyewear. The new Wiley X frames meet ANSI Z87.1 high velocity and high mass impact standards. All the WorkSight glasses come with permanent or detachable side shields, a fold over case that folds flat for easy storage, 100 percent UVA/UVB protection and distortion-free clarity. And the best part is the frames are stylish enough to wear for those unplanned trips to the hardware or grocery store.



Sun Protection

Most of us take precautions to protect our skin from the damaging sun radiation by putting on a hat and applying sunscreen.
A significantly smaller percentage of people put on sunglasses to protect the eyes from the same ultraviolet risks. Besides glare and discomfort from the brightness, the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun cause premature aging to the skin around the eye and the structures of the eye. In fact, the sun is the greatest environmental factor contributing to cataract formation.

SUNGLASSES provide a barrier to other eye irritants as well. Wearing sunglasses protects the eyes from wind, dust, pollen and debris. This is particularly beneficial for sports like cycling and running. maui jim 2016
COMFORT from good quality sunglasses is attributed to reducing glare and eliminating squinting. Glare can be direct from the light source or indirected (reflected). Reflected glare is eliminated best with polarized lenses. Polarized lenses are especially helpful for watersports, fishing and on the snow, skiing and snowboarding.
QUALITY SUNGLASSES will protect against all UV wavelengths (A,B and high energy wavelengths). The lenses will be centered and have clearer optics than the sunglasses you find at the grocery store and gas stations. A premium sunglass frame is comfortable, fits well and is durable. It is also resistant to corrosion, tarnish, peeling and chipping.

Long-Term UV damage cannot be repaired. It is cumulative. Protect your eyes today, wear quality sunglasses.
And don’t forget the kids, they are more susceptible to UV damage than adults.


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.


Flashes and Floaters

Floaters are spots which can move about in the vision and which are sometimes accompanied by flashes of light. To understand these symptoms it is necessary to understand the basic anatomy of the eye.

Anatomy of the Eye:
The structure of the eye resembles that of a hollow ball. The Parts of the Eyecentral hollow is filled with a clear jelly called the vitreous. In the front part of this ball there is an opening called the pupil leading to the outside. Looking the inside of the hollow is a thin layer called the retina which is the part of the eye with which a person sees. When we are children the vitreous is solid like cold jello.

Floater Formation:

As part of normal changes, the vitreous gel becomes liquefied. This does not occur all at one time so there are pockets of liquefied vitreous next to solid vitreous gel with a filament-like membrane between. When the eye moves the liquid moves easily and sloshes around, causing the filament-like membranes to move and the movement of the membrane casts a moving shadow on the retina which we see as a floater. Where the membranes are attached to the retinal surface, the movement causes a tugging, pulling or traction on the retina. When the retina is pulled or bumped we see the response as a flash of light. Therefore, when the eye moves we see floaters and sometimes we also see light flashes.

If the membrane attached to the retina pulls strongly enough, it can produce a tear or hole in the retina. When a tear forms, there may be a small amount of bleeding, and blood particles moving around in the liquid create floaters which are like a shower of tiny black spots.

Significance of Floaters:

Floaters are not by themselves dangerous, but are a warning that a hole in the retina might exist or that other changes might have taken place. Because of this, it is important for anyone who has recently developed floaters to have a dilated eye examination, including examination of the far edges of the retina where tears are most likely to occur. In the majority of cases this examination will not reveal any holes. If, however, a hole is found in the retina, it usually can be treated with either laser before a more serious problem, such as a retinal detachment, develops.

Light Flashes:

These also can be associated with shrinkage of the gel-like substance (vitreous) as it moves and bumps the retina. Flashes can be caused by rubbing the eyes too hard. Retinal hole formation can also cause light flashes, and so the presence of this symptom requires a careful retinal examination. Flashes can occur from other causes as well.

Follow-up of Floaters and Flashes:

Repeat dilated eye examinations are indicated if suspicious signs are found during an eye examination or if later the patient notices either a sudden increase in floaters and flashes or a veil falling into the vision.

If you are experiencing either new floaters and/or flashes of light, call to have a dilated eye examination sooner than later. Early treatment of holes and retinal tears is less risky and more successful than treatment of a retinal detachment.