Contact lenses


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.


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.


What do you need to know about Contact Lenses?

Dirty Contact Lens

The tiny disc of plastic on your eye is one of the most amazing and complex scientific advances in vision correction. Whether you’re nearsighted or farsighted, if you have astigmatism or presbyopia, contact lenses can bring everything into focus for you.

Drs. Griffith and Staton will select the best lens material and design for your prescription and the best care products for your lenses.


contact lensesDO… wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them with a lint free towel before handling your lenses.

DON’T… use hand soaps that contain lotions or oils. Those ingredients can transfer to your lenses and leave a filmy residue.

DO… replace your lenses as prescribed. Lenses that are past their prime won’t give you the best vision and can compromise the health of your eyes.

DON’T… add new solution to used solution in your lens case.


What’s in those Bottles?

If you scan the eye care aisle at your local retail pharmacy or big box store, you’ll see a row filled with contact lens products. This can be confusing, so here’s a quick look at the main categories and what these products do:

MULTI-PURPOSE SOLUTIONS…These solutions contain everything you need for daily lens care – cleaning, rinsing, disinfection and storage – but each brand has a unique formulation. They’re not all the same. Some multi-purpose solutions include extra ingredients, such as wetting and condition agents, which are designed specifically to help keep lenses comfortable, so you can wear them all day.

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE SYSTEMS… Not only is hydrogen peroxide a great disinfectant, but contact lens care systems that use it have no added preservatives, which is ideal for people who have sensitive eyes and allergies.

SALINE SOLUTIONS… The most important fact you need to know about saline solution is that it will not clean or disinfect your contact lenses. Saline solution is basically sterilized salt water, and it’s mainly used for rinsing contact lenses. Never store your lenses in saline.

GENERICS… Even though store-brand contact lens solutions look almost the same as the name-brand product, some ingredients may differ just enough to cause a sensitivity reaction. And the ingredients in a store-brand product can differ from retailer to retailer – even though the packaging is similar – depending on which manufacturer is supplying the product.


Today’s contact lenses are designed to give you comfortable, sharp vision all day. You should forget you’re even wearing them. If your eyes look red or feel dry or irritated, or if your lenses are so uncomfortable that you need to remove them before the end of the day, it’s time to call us. Your lenses may not be the problem. The culprit could be your solution. Changing solutions is a remedy, but switching to a daily use lens will eliminate contact lens solution altogether.


Types of Contact Lenses

RGP, Soft, Hybrid, Scleral

RGP, Soft, Hybrid, Scleral

At Westside Optometry we fit not only common soft contact lenses, but specialty lenses as well. In the class of soft contact lenses we are successful with daily use, 2 week and monthly replacement modalities. Within each replacement schedule are options such as designs for astigmatism and presbyopia and different  materials. Soft contacts work well for most people, but some people are very successful in rigid gas permeables (RGP).
RGPs are excellent for achieving crisp clear and stable vision. This is especially true of higher powers and astigmatic corneas. RGPs are custom designed so I can select material, color, size and power. They last on average, 2 years.
A few years ago we added the hybrid lenses to our repertoire. Hybrid lenses blend the crisp vision of RGPs and the comfort of soft lenses. They can correct most refractive errors, myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia. A Hybrid contact lens will last 6 months with proper care. CL profile
Newest to our arsenal of contact lenses are the scleral lenses. This is a very large, gas permeable lens that doesn’t touch the cornea. The lens rests on the sclera allowing correction for irregular corneas such as keratoconus and post-surgical eyes. Scleral lenses are also used as a treatment for extreme dry eyes.

Contact lenses are not a one size fits all, nor a one kind fits all. Different eyes require different lenses and different lenses require different care. When fitting the best contact lens for you, we also determine the best contact lens care regime to enhance your contact lens success.

Make an appointment for an eye examination online.


2014 Eye Resolutions

Your vision and eye health  are important every day of the year. Make changes now for a lifetime of good vision.

Eat Smart. Diet and nutritional supplements go a long way in promoting eye health. Studies show a diet rich in fruits, leafy vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your risk of eye problems like macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome.

Get Moving. Research has shown higher levels of physical exercise can reduce certain risk factors for glaucoma, as well as macular degeneration. iStock_000023582367Small
Quit smoking. Put simply, smoking harms your vision. Studies show smoking dramatically increases the likelihood of developing cataracts, macular degeneration,uveitis and diabetic retinopathy.
Wear Sunglasses. Protect your eyes from the sun (and make sure your kids do, too). Always wear sunglasses with UV protection when outdoors — no matter what time of year — to shield your eyes from UV rays. This may reduce your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.
Start using safety eyewear for lawn-mowing, home repairs and other chores. Experts say 90 percent of eye injuries requiring a visit to the emergency room can be prevented with proper safety eyewear.

Properly Care for your Contact Lenses. Dirty contact lenses, even if they are not uncomfortable, can cause serious eye infections. Clean your contact lenses and contact lens case properly, and always replace your contacts as recommended.
Reduce Computer Eye Strain. Rest your eyes from computer work every 20 minutes to relieve computer vision syndrome and avoid dry, red eyes. Also, ask Dr. Griffith or Staton about stress-relieving computer glasses.
Improve Your Vision. If you’ve been putting up with contact lens discomfort, dry eyes, eye allergies or blurry vision, talk to us about changes you can make to improve or eliminate these problems.

Upgrade your contact lenses. Contact lenses come in a wide variety of materials, replacement schedules and wearing times — not to mention the array of color contact lenses and special effect contacts available. With the advancement in contact lens technology, there’s sure to be a type of contact lens that suits your individual requirements and lifestyle.

Improve Your Appearance. Upgrade your eyewear. Get with the times and refresh your look, as well as take advantage of the latest in lens and frame technologies. Try eyeglass lens coatings. Various lens coatings keep your field of view clear by reducing reflections, fogging and scratches. And eliminate glare during outdoor activities with polarized sunglasses. If you have a strong prescription, try high index eyeglass lenses. High index lenses provide the same optical power as regular ones, but are thinner and lighter.

Considering LASIK? If you’re tired of wearing glasses or contacts, ask your us if you are a good candidate for LASIK or other vision correction surgery.

Schedule an Eye Exam for everyone in your family. Kids and seniors, especially, should have comprehensive annual eye exams to monitor vision changes. Also, have your family doctor screen you for diabetes and hypertension — if left untreated, these diseases can lead to serious eye problems. (707)762-8643.


Handling Contact Lenses

The last thing to touch your contact lens before it goes into your eye is your finger.

I can’t stress enough the importance of proper hand-washing before handling contact lenses. Wash  your hands thoroughly with mild soap, rinse completely, and dry with a clean lint-free towel.
Recent studies reinforce the importance of clean hands:
1. Poor or no hand-washing before handling contact lenses increased lipid deposits on the lenses. This can adversely affect contact lens comfort, fit, wearing time, and visual acuity – not to mention attract microbial contamination to the contact lens surface.
2. Poor hand-washing results in increased bacterial deposits on the lens and/or eye. There may also be an inflammatory response to the bacteria, including redness and inflammation of the anterior surfaces of the eyes. Ultimately, less frequent hand-washing is a risk factor for microbial keratitis (eye infections and ulcers). Good hand hygiene, meanwhile, removes hand lotions, makeup, and other oils, which can make lenses uncomfortable or blurry.

To maximize contact lens comfort and longevity, wash your hands.


Glasses vs. Contact Lenses

What are the differences between glasses and contact lenses?


  • Side (peripheral vision) is compromised.
  • Possible reflections off the eyeglass lenses.
  • Weight on nose, pressure on sinuses.
  • Glasses fog up with change in temperature.
  • Glasses are a distraction during sports.
  • Eyeglasses do not have windshield wipers and get speckled in the rain.


Contact Lenses

  • More natural vision, correction right on the eye.
  • Field of view is full, especially important for driving and sports.
  • No weight on face or frame slipping down nose.
  • Contacts match everything you wear.
  • Can wear non-prescription sunglasses.

There are similarities between glasses and contact lenses too:

  • Both require careful handling and cleaning to maintain the best vision.
  • Both can correct astigmatism.
  • Both are affordable, when you consider that you wear glasses or contact lenses every single day, the amount you spend on them is far less than for any other item in your wardrobe. Add in the importance to the quality of your life and they are invaluable.

Where’s that Contact Lens?

Most contact lens wearers have lost a lens. Many lose the lens in the eye while applying or removing it. In most cases, the lens usually falls out, but due to frantic searching in the eye, rinsing the eye, having others poke around in the eye, it will feel like a lens is in there. Why? All that irritation can cause an abrasion, swelling and tenderness. The lens is usually gone, but the eye feels like something is still there. My best advice to you is STOP! Leave the eye alone, a lens in the eye or part of a contact lens in the eye will cause minor to no damage compared to poking and probing in an attempt to locate it. If the foreign body sensation does not lessen or go away in an hour, call my office, Westside Optometry (707)762-8643. With the aid of a biomicroscope and some dye I can easily locate and remove a wayward lens. If it is not still in the eye, I can determine the cause of the irritation and help to relieve it.