Nvision Blog

Why Is LASIK Safer Than Contact Lenses?

Posted on October 15, 2019

You can’t see clearly without your glasses. But you don’t want to wear them all the time. Should you head into a surgery center for LASIK? Or should you skip surgery and opt for contacts instead?

If you’re safety conscious, you might assume contacts are a wiser choice, as you’ll avoid anesthesia and incisions. But contacts come with surprising risks, and some can cause vision loss.

Close-up Of Young Man Holding Contact Lens On Finger

Contacts and Eye Health


Contacts lay on the surface of the eye. Every day, you make choices about how to use these medical devices. It's those decisions, experts say, that hold ocular-health risks.

Of those who wear contacts, 40 to 90 percent don't follow care instructions. That startling statistic from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration highlights how a busy lifestyle and complicated medical equipment don't always mix. Even tiny decisions can have a huge impact.

You can harm your eyes by:

  • Not washing your hands before you put in your contacts.
  • Touching your eyes with contact solution bottles.
  • Disinfecting your lenses improperly.
  • Wearing your contacts for too long.
  • Storing your lenses the wrong way.

Every year, doctors treat nearly a million eye infections, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Most are caused by improper use of contact lenses.

But even if you use your contacts just as your doctor recommends, you can't eliminate your risk. Experts say contact-related infections stem from a combination of:

  • Your immune system.
  • Microbes in your tears.
  • Your hygiene habits.

You can’t eliminate all of these risks. And you can't always spot early infection warning signs. You could get an infection after wearing extended contact lenses for just one night, experts say.

lasik eye

LASIK and Eye Health


Sign up for LASIK, and your doctor will amend your vision in a surgical procedure. Once it's complete and you've healed up, you have no maintenance work to perform — no hands to wash, no solutions to use, and no lenses to disinfect. You'll see risks decline because your opportunity to cut corners also falls.

Researchers say the long-term LASIK complication rate sits at about 1 percent. The chances of problems with LASIK are very slim.

How to Reduce Your Risk


No one wants to live with complications, whether you're using contact lenses or having LASIK done. There are some steps you can take to ensure that your eyes stay as healthy as possible as you amend your vision.

For all the reasons we discussed, LASIK could be considered the safer choice. You can reduce your risk of surgical complications, experts say, by:

  • Researching your provider. Learn more about the equipment your surgeon hopes to use. Find out how many times that person has performed LASIK on eyes like yours.
  • Moving beyond cost. The urge to save money is universal. But bargain-basement prices can come with higher risk. Don't be afraid to pay a little more to get the quality you deserve.
  • Asking about aftercare. Make the most of your investment, and follow instructions to the letter. If something seems unclear, ask before your surgery date.

If you've decided that surgery isn't right for you, take care of your eyes with proper contact care. Experts say you can do that by:

  • Following a schedule. Your doctor will tell you how long your contacts should stay in each day. You'll also know when to replace them.
  • Using the right products. Don't rely on spit or water to clean your contacts. Don't lean on rewetting drops for disinfection. Use new solution each time you clean your lenses.
  • Caring for your case. Rinse it in warm water and let it air dry. Replace your case every three months.

If you can't decide which avenue is right for you, consult your eye doctor. You may find that surgery is the best way forward. And if not, your doctor can help you understand exactly what to do to protect your eyes from the damage contacts can cause.

References

Focusing on Contact Lens Safety. (August 2017). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Eye Health Statistics. American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Contact Lenses: The Risks You Need to Know. (October 2012). Medscape.

LASIK Complication Rate: The Latest Facts and Stats You Should Know. (October 2017). American Refractive Surgery Council.

What Are the Risks and How Can I Find the Right Doctor for Me? (August 2018). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

How to Take Care of Contact Lenses. (May 2019). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

How to Completely Get Rid of a Black Eye (Fast)

Posted on August 29, 2019

A black eye can surround your whole eye, or it can just affect the area below your eye. It occurs as a result of blood collecting in the area. (Learn More)

A black eye itself is usually not serious, but it is possible that accompanying injuries could be problematic. If symptoms like persistent headache or vomiting occur, it is important to get medical attention promptly. (Learn More)

Treatment for a black eye usually involves ice, over-the-counter pain relievers, and elevating your head. If you care for a black eye properly, you can promote the healing process, but there isn’t a quick fix to make it immediately go away. The bruising has to subside on its own.

Tell your doctor about any treatments you are using to ensure their safety. (Learn More)

black eye upclose

What Is a Black Eye?

A black eye describes bruising in the eye area. Blood collects in the tissues, causing a purple, blue, or black appearance of the area around your eye. There is usually not an injury affecting your actual eye, just the area that surrounds it.

In addition to the darkened skin, you may also experience:

  • Pain in the area.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Swelling in the affected area.

Some symptoms can indicate that a black eye may be accompanied by a potentially serious head injury. These symptoms include:

  • Double vision.
  • Blood on the eye’s surface.
  • Loss of consciousness or fainting.
  • Loss of vision.
  • Not being able to move your eye.
  • Ongoing or severe headache.
  • Fluid or blood coming from your nose or ears.

Any of these symptoms warrants a trip to the emergency room. A serious head injury can result in brain damage or death.

How Serious Can a Black Eye Be?

Most black eyes will heal in a few days without medical intervention. They usually occur when something hits your nose or eye. It is possible for both eyes to be blackened at the same time, depending on your injury.

Any trauma to the face may cause serious injuries, such as a skull fracture or bleeding in the brain.

Other potentially serious injuries that may accompany a black eye include:

  • Hyphema. This issue is characterized by bleeding in your eye. Hyphema may negatively affect your vision and cornea.
  • Ocular hypertension. This may occur along with eye or facial trauma. It is characterized by increased pressure inside your eye. Eyesight damage is possible if this is left untreated.

Black Eye Treatments

ice bag

When you experience a black eye, it is best to be evaluated by a doctor. They can determine the extent of your injury and determine if something more serious is present, such as facial trauma or hyphema.

When a black eye is minor, home treatment is usually sufficient. Icing the eye can reduce swelling, lessen pain, and help to alleviate bruising.

When you apply ice to your eye, use a washcloth or similar barrier between the ice and your skin to prevent a cold injury.

Never ice the affected eye for more than 20 minutes at a time. Leaving the ice on for longer puts you at risk for frostbite in the area.

The cold helps because it constricts the blood vessels in the area. You can apply ice several times per day, as long as you use the proper technique.

Doctors may recommend over-the-counter pain medicine to alleviate any discomfort you experience. It is best to stick with acetaminophen. Both aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may thin your blood and worsen the appearance of your black eye.

There are other methods that may help to reduce the appearance of a black eye.

  • After about two days of icing the affected eye, you can start applying warm compresses to the area. This helps to promote healing by increasing blood flow.
    Be careful to avoid hot compresses that could burn your skin. As with cold compresses or ice, you can apply the heat for up to 20 minutes at a time.
  • Massage the area surrounding the blackened area. Do not massage the bruise.
    You can start this about 24 hours after you experience the black eye. This may speed up the healing process by activating the lymphatic system in the area.
  • When you are sleeping, keep your head elevated above the rest of your body. This encourages drainage, which may help to reduce the amount of discoloration and swelling you are experiencing.

Black Eye Prevention

Since most people experience a black eye as the result of trauma, reduce your risk of experiencing a trauma. Wearing a seatbelt is important since facial injuries are common during motor vehicle accidents.

There are other ways to reduce your risk of falls.

  • When you are doing any activity where facial trauma is possible, always wear protective eye gear, such as goggles. These will reduce the risk of taking a direct blow to the eye. They also help to decrease the risk of foreign objects getting into your eye.
  • Evaluate your home for hazards that could cause you to trip and fall, such as clutter on your floors, loose carpeting and rugs, and similar hazards.
  • Use assistive devices if you are a fall risk.

If you experience a black eye, get a doctor’s evaluation. They can determine the extent of the injury and recommend treatment options. It’s important to rule out brain injury.

While the above treatment methods won’t get rid of the black eye immediately, they will promote the healing process and could potentially shorten the overall healing timeline.

References

Black Eye Symptoms. (May 2019). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Ocular Hypertension. American Optometric Association.

What Is a Black Eye? (May 2019). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

How to Properly Ice an Injury. (July 2019). Verywell Health.

What Is a Black Eye and What Can I Do About It? (September 2018). Medical News Today.

Does Eye Color Ever Change? (How & Why)

Posted on August 19, 2019

Eye color is determined by genetics. (Learn More) The eyes can naturally change their color as a response to the iris expanding or contracting in the presence of light or as the iris ages. This results in the eyes gradually becoming darker or lighter in color. (Learn more)

It is possible to get decorative contact lenses to temporarily change eye color, but these require the same procedure (and cost) as a pair of prescription lenses. (Learn More) This is the only way to safely achieve a different appearance for your eyes.

A person’s eye color can be one of the most important points of pride in their physical appearance and presentation. As much as there are entire fashion choices based on “bringing out the eyes,” there is actual science behind how and why eye color can change, which leads some people to wonder if it is possible to intentionally (and permanently) alter the color of their eyes.

While eyes changing color is a natural phenomenon, and some cosmetic accessories allow for temporary changes, there is no safe way to permanently change eye color.

What Is Eye Color?

What we refer to as eye color is actually the presence of melanin, a pigment (the natural coloring agent in organic tissue) in the iris (the colored part of the eyes). The more pigment in the eyes, the darker the color. Green, blue, and gray eyes are the lightest-colored eyes because the iris has the least amount of melanin.

Brown is the most common eye color in the world. Green is the rarest.

The eye color a person is born with depends on the genetic material each parent contributes. Parents’ genes can combine in unexpected ways, and there is no way to predict what eye color a child will have. It is possible for children to have completely different eye colors than those of their parents. But if both parents have brown eyes, it is probable that the child will also have brown eyes.

The color of human eyes starts with three genes, two of which account for the most common of eye colors. The rarer eye colors are the result of the third gene. Darker eye colors tend to dominate, so the genes carrying brown eyes will win out over the genes carrying green eyes, and so on.

Most white people (non-Hispanic Caucasians) are born with blue eyes, which get gradually darker in the first three years after birth.

Can the Eyes Change Color?

In the eye, the iris muscle expands and contracts to control the size of the pupil. It does this to allow more light into the eye in poor lighting conditions. It grows smaller in bright light to avoid damage to the photoreceptors in the eye. When you focus your vision on a near object, the pupil similarly shrinks (much like a lens in a camera).

As the pupil changes its size, the pigments in the iris can spread or come together, which causes changes in eye color.

You might have heard it said that eye colors change with mood, but the truth behind that is the iris is responding to emotional and hormonal changes. This can cause eyes to seem lighter or darker in color as a response to an emotional situation, but this would not be a full change in the color of the eyes.

In as much as 15 percent of the white population (or people who tend to have lighter eye colors), eye color changes with age. People who had deep brown eyes during their youth and adulthood may experience a lightening of their eye pigment as they enter middle age, giving them hazel eyes. Conversely, someone born with hazel eyes might see their irises get darker as they grow older.

Eye colors do slightly change with age, but this should be a gradual transition. If your eye color changes dramatically, even if there is no corresponding difference in vision, you could consult an eye doctor to ensure that there are no medical conditions behind the unexpected change. Fuch’s heterochromic iridiocyclisits, pigmentary glaucoma, or Horner’s syndrome are some issues that can signal their development by a sudden change in eye color.

macro human eye

Can I Change My Eye Color?

There are many people who are unhappy with the color of their eyes, whether for cosmetic reasons or for concerns of body image and self-esteem. Colored contact lenses are a safe way of changing your eye color, but this comes with some caveats.

First and foremost, colored contact lenses require a prescription, and the prescription must be obtained by a licensed doctor after conducting a standard eye exam. This is true even if there is no need for actual corrective vision devices and even if the contacts are only desired for cosmetic purposes. Simply put, if you want colored contact lenses that are safe, you have to go through the process of getting a prescription.

There are three types of colored contact lenses available to consumers, each one based on how much of a change in eye color is desired.

  • Visibility lenses have a minimal tint. They will not show the new color differently if the person’s eye color was light to begin with.
  • Enhancement lenses are semi-opaque. They do not fully change the color of the eye, but (again, depending on the original coloring) can intensify it, making it more distinct.
  • Opaque lenses are fully colored, allowing for a complete change in eye color.

Cosmetic contact lenses should not be used carelessly. If they are not properly maintained (with the same cleaning and care as regular corrective lenses), they can damage the surface of the eye and even lead to blindness. Even if you buy contact lenses solely for decorative purposes, treat them as you would regular contact lenses.

Since some people can experience problems with corrective contact lenses (such as redness, pain, and loss of vision), the same issues can happen with cosmetic lenses. Call your eye doctor if this happens to you.

Importance of Getting Good Contacts

colored contact

It might be possible to get colored contact lenses without a prescription, but wearing lenses without a prescription, and getting them from an unlicensed and potentially unsafe source, raises a number of risks. These include but are not limited to:

  • Scratched cornea.
  • Vision problems.
  • Itchy eyes.

Whatever the reason for getting decorative contact lenses, make sure they require a prescription and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This will reduce the likelihood that you will not experience any problems when you use them.

Iris Implant Surgery

Iris implant surgery can permanently alter the color of the eyes. This is not a legitimate medical practice in the United States because there is a high degree of risk for irreversible vision loss.

The surgery was initially developed to repair the iris (or outright replace it) in the event of trauma or illnesses that affect the eye, like cataracts or glaucoma. A side effect of this kind of treatment is a permanent change in eye color, which led to a demand for the procedure for cosmetic reasons.

There are many risks associated with iris implant surgery. The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns that people trying to change their eye color in this way might suffer permanent damage to their eyes, such as inflammation of the eye and swelling of the cornea.

How to Safely Change Your Eye Color

Some urban legends hold that honey and tepid water can change a person’s eye color, but there is no scientific evidence to suggest this is even remotely possible. Despite what some websites say, both honey and tap water are not sterile, and applying them to the eyes could cause an infection.

If you want to change your eye color, decorative contact lenses are the way to go, and the way to get them is via a prescription from a licensed optician. Take care of the lenses, clean them regularly, and get yearly checks for your vision, and you can safely enjoy your new eye color.

References

What Color of Clothing Makes Eyes Look More Enhanced? (December 2018). Our Everyday Life.

Why Are Brown Eyes Most Common? (April 2017). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

How the Human Eye Works. (May 2016). Live Science.

How Can Eye Color Change With Mood? (July 2017). Heathfully.

The Claim: Eye Color Can Change as We Age. (October 2005). The New York Times.

Newborn Eye Color. Healthy Children.

Is It Possible to Change Your Eye Color? (April 2018). Medical News Today.

Are Colored Contact Lenses for Halloween Safe? (September 2018). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Devastating Complication of Cosmetic Iris Implants. (August 2017.) Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.

Age-Related Eye Diseases. National Eye Institute.

Cosmetic Iris Implants Carry Risk of Permanent Eye Damage, Vision Loss. (October 2014). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

LASIK Surgery Can Change Your Life: 8 Reasons Why You Should Seek LASIK Surgery Today

Posted on May 24, 2019

The ability to see clearly can positively impact your career and your personal relationships. Unfortunately, 544 million people are visually impaired and unable to fully enjoy these positive experiences without using corrective eyewear. With the advent of LASIK surgery, more people are now able to see clearly without the daily hassle of wearing and maintaining glasses or contact lenses. Below are the top eight reasons why you should stop waiting and seek LASIK surgery today.

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