Archive for June 2017

Why Women Are at Higher Risk of Eye Disease

Women are far more likely to experience eye irritation. A higher percentage of women than men develop age-related eye issues such as macular degeneration, cataracts and dry eye. Women tend to live longer than men and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and menopause may make women more susceptible to eye disease.

There are also other triggers that play a role.  Makeup and contact lens wear along with digital device and computer use are common risk factors.  Certain medication as well as autoimmune diseases that cause inflammation of body tissues can also affect vision. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis are among these, and they tend to be more common in women.

Women also tend to run a higher risk of developing chronic dry eye syndrome. Eyes produce fewer tears as we age, and chronic MGD dry eye can be the result. Women are two to three times more likely to have dry eye syndrome than men.

Prevention and Early Detection

  • Practice Daily Lid and Lash Hygiene
  • Get Regular Eye Exams, Especially Over 50
  • Exercise Regularly
  • Protect Your Eyes from Injury – Wear Safety Glasses When Needed
  • Wear UV 400 or Better Sunglasses When Outside
  • Quit Smoking
  • Eat a Healthy Diet with Adequate Amount of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Limit Screen Use
  • Know Your Family Medical History
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Screens Are No Longer Optional

 Digital Eye Strain

Sources: Time Health , Canadian Association of Optometrists ,  American Optometric Association 

Screens are no longer optional. If you’re not driving, exercising or sleeping, you’re probably staring at one. Most American workers spend 7 to 14 hours of screen time in a single day. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use.

Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain symptoms. Depending on your condition, your eyes could be exerting extra effort or forced to work harder to maintain a clear image when viewing the screen.

“There is no evidence that eye strain leads to chronic issues or harm. However, it is theoretically possible we could find out years from now that too much screen-time messes with our eyes or vision. But for now, short-term symptoms—like headaches, eye pressure and dry eyes—are your biggest worries.” says Dr. Joshua Dunaief, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

To help reduce the risk of digital eye strain, consider the following tips:

  • Position your screen about an arm’s length from your eyes and 20 degrees below eye level.
  • Set color and contrast tones to suit your eyes, and match the brightness of your screen with your surroundings.
  • Minimize reflected glare on your screen by dimming the lights in the room if possible and consider using a protective anti-glare screen cover.
  • Position your screen so that it sits perpendicular to windows and other bright light sources. If you are having trouble locating the source of the glare, turn off your monitor to reveal a darkened screen, and tilt/swivel your monitor until the reflection disappears.
  • Keep your screen free of fingerprints and dust, as both can reduce visual clarity.
  • If you alternate between looking at your screen and paperwork, consider obtaining a clipboard that attaches alongside your monitor so that the two are at the same working distance.
  • Optometrists recommend the use of the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away to give your eyes a much-needed break.
  • To ensure comfortable and efficient computer usage, visit your eye care professional for a thorough eye health exam.

WHERE TO FIND AVENOVA: 1-800­-890­-0329 or via web Patients – Contact or
Physician Contact

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Preventing Contact Lens-Related Microbial Corneal Inflammation (Keratitis)

Many factors work against contact lens wearers, so a robust strategy is needed to reduce their bioburden.

By: Christine W. Sindt, OD, FAAO

Contact lens-related microbial keratitis is all too common. Consider these statistics:

  • Contact lens wear is the single greatest risk factor for microbial keratitis, with an annual cost of $175 million.
  • There are 40.9 million adult contact lens wearers in the United States — that’s one in six adults.
  • Nearly one-third of contact lens wearers have had a red or painful eye at some point that required them to go to the doctor since they began wearing contact lenses.
  • A remarkable 99% of contact lens wearers report having at least one poor hygiene behavior that puts them at greater risk for microbial keratitis or a cornea infiltrative event.

In the decades since we have been prescribing contact lenses, the incidence of microbial keratitis has not improved. That means that all the advances in lens materials and solutions have not reduced the incidence — which indicates that microbial keratitis and other inflammatory events must be caused by something that is naturally introduced into the eye.

All these risk factors point to the need to control the bioburden on our contact lens patients. In particular, we need to address the bacteria that most commonly cause microbial keratitis events: Pseudomonas, Serratia, and Staphylococcus. Pseudomonas is a gram-negative, biofilm-forming bacterium that adapts to different environments and may acquire solution resistance. It produces toxins and causes inflammatory events. Staphylococcus is gram positive. It exists in normal external ocular microbiota, and we see it commonly in contact lens peripheral ulcers. If patients have an abundance of any of these microorganisms in their lid margins, they are likely to experience microbial keratitis.  

Case Study

We see these cases all the time. A 32-year-old woman has irritated eyes for three days, and then wakes up with red, pain-ful eyes and photophobia. She is a contact lens wearer, and swears that she does not sleep in her contact lenses. Our examination does not show any true ulceration, but there is a lot of staining along the lid margin, so it’s clear that the eyelid areas are the source of the irritation.

Once we start the patient on moxifloxacin (Vigamox, Alcon) and prednisolone (Pred Forte, Allergan), along with Avenova, her eyes improve quickly and significantly. This tells us that this is an inflammatory process caused by the toxins from bacteria along her lid margins. After one week, the patient’s red eyes resolve completely. She continues with Avenova and we fit her for daily disposable contact lenses.

Approaching Lid Hygiene with Avenova

What does this mean to the 32-year-old patient with contact lens-related microbial keratitis originating in her eyelids? As we work to control the flora introduced into the contact lens wearer’s eye, lid hygiene is a key initiative. Staph isolates from eyelids of contact lens wearers are genetically more resistant to disinfection and antibiotics than isolates from people who don’t wear contact lenses. The longer a patient wears contact lenses, the more resistant the lenses may become to cleaning and disinfecting.

Avenova® a pure hypochlorous acid product by NovaBay, does not build up resistance. It uses a patented, pure, non-cytotoxic hypochlorous acid, a substance that occurs naturally in the immune system, to counteract bacteria living on the eyelids.

I recommend all contact lens wearers wipe down their lids with Avenova® before and after contact lens wear. The product is gentle and comfortable and takes just a few minutes to use.  Christine W. Sindt, OD, FAAO, is the Director of the Contact Lens Service and a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Iowa, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. She is also a consultant for NovaBay.

WHERE TO FIND AVENOVA: 1-800­-890­-0329 or via web Patients – Contact or
Physician Contact

Socialize & Stay Current with NovaBay via Facebook Twitter and LinkedIn

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