Nvision Blog

Foreign Objects in Eye – What to Do

Posted on July 7, 2021

Few things are as irritating as getting something stuck in your eye, and summertime adds to the list of possible irritants.

Beach sand, dirt from a ballfield, bugs that you encounter while hiking or biking are all real threats to make you uncomfortable in a hurry if they get in your eyes.

Here are some tips on how to handle foreign objects in your eyes as well as some things NOT to do.

Summer is here, and that means you’re likely going to spend more time outside enjoying the warm weather. All that time outdoors means more risk that you could get a foreign object in one of both of your eyes.

Sunscreen, beach sand, bugs, tree branches and dirt get added to the mix of things that can get in your eyes.

Let’s go through how to flush these little invaders out of your eyes and what to do next if flushing doesn’t work.

Signs You Have Something Stuck in Your Eye

It’s not hard to notice when you have something in your eye. Our eyes are sensitive, so much so than the tiniest stray eyelash can be irritating.

And when something bigger gets in—dirt from a nearby construction site or a baseball field or a small bug—the discomfort can be worse.

Signs that you have something stuck in your eye that may need attention:

  • You feel a sharp pain that’s more than just a little discomfort.
  • Your eye burns, and the burning lasts longer than a few minutes.
  • Your eye is watering.
  • Your eye is red from irritation.
  • Your vision is impacted (usually blurry).
  • You see signs of bleeding around the eye.

What Not to Do

When you get something stuck in your eye, the last thing you want to do is anything that can make the condition worse. This is smart advice. The problem is, the first thing most of us try to do when we get something in our eyes is try to get out ourselves. And get it out fast.

Unfortunately, the first reaction—rubbing your eye—is not the best one. If you don’t succeed, you’re going to make the solution worse.

Other actions not to take:

  • Don’t try to remove the objects by yourself. You risk damaging your eye if you do this and are not careful.
  • Don’t put liquids other than water or eye drops in your eyes.
  • Don’t use a strong stream of water, such as from a showerhead, to remove debris.  The water pressure could increase the irritation. Worse, it could create longer-term harm to your eye.

Come Up with a Plan to Treat It

If you’re concerned that you have something foreign in your eye, it can be hard to know what the next step is. Here’s one plan to deal with the situation, depending on the severity:

  • Try to remove the irritant by gently rinsing your eye with water or eye drops. You can squeeze water from a washcloth into your eye or slash water from a sink.
  • If the object is something you can see in a mirror, you could try to “touch it” out—the reverse process of putting in a contact lens. Using a high-magnification bathroom mirror as a tool, open your eyelids with one hand, spot the object and try to touch it gently with a finger from your other hand. Be careful not to push the object around inside your eye. You could cause a serious scratch.
  • If rinsing or retrieving don’t work, contact your optometrist within 24 hours.
  • If you think the foreign object is embedded or if you’re experiencing severe discomfort or having vision problems, call your optometrist and secure an immediate appointment.

If you do have to see your eye doctor to remove the object, do your best to rest your eyes until you get to the doctor. Use eyedrops, then close your eyes and lie with a cold washcloth over your eyes. Avoid playing video games, working on the computer and watching TV—activities that dry out your eyes.

Go See Your Optometrist

Rinsing your eye with fresh, clean water or using eye drops can help remove small bits of debris like dirt or beach sand from your eye quickly. If rinsing doesn’t help and you still feel irritation after a few hours, or the problem is getting increasingly worse, you need to make an appointment to see your optometrist right away.

During your visit, your optometrist may wash your eye with a saline solution, take X-rays and remove any foreign debris that can’t be rinsed away using sterile tools and anesthetic eye drops.

Follow your optometrist’s advice. It may be that you need to medicate your eye with drops or ointments, or you may have to wear an eye patch.

Make a follow-up appointment with your optometrist, who will make sure your eye is healing properly and provide follow-up treatment if required.

Sources

Eye injuries – foreign body in the eye. BetterHealth Channel. Date fetched: July 3, 2021.

Foreign object in the eye: First aid. Mayo Clinic. Date fetched: July 3, 2021.

Small objects in the eye: Overview. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. Library of Medicine.

Why Is It Important to See Your Optometrist Regularly?

Posted on July 7, 2021

You see your medical doctor and dentist for annual checkups. Why don’t you see your eye doctor regularly, too?

An optometrist not only will keep the prescription up to date for any prescription for glasses or contact lenses, the doctor also will look for clues that your eyes tell about your overall health.

Consistent eye exams can reveal long-term vision issues and serious potential medical conditions such as diabetes, cataracts and glaucoma.

You know that going to your doctor for routine checkups and getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist are both important preventative health measures.

Why don’t you give your eyes the same care and consideration that you give the rest of your body? (You’re not alone. Most people don’t.)

Whether you’ve got 20/20 vision or whether you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, seeing an optometrist at regular intervals is good for your eyes—and good for your overall health.

We know: Some people shudder at the testing that happens before you see the doctor, including the dreaded dilation, but these exams are easier than ever now, thanks to advances in technology.

Besides, there are some very good reasons why you should see your eye doctor regularly.

Eye Exams Help Detect Other Health Problems

You’ve almost certainly heard the phrase, “Eyes are the window to the soul.” Well, your eyes can also be a window into your overall health.

Did you know eye exams can provide clues in detecting other potential health problems? It’s true.

Two common problems sometimes that an eye exam can see are high blood pressure and diabetes. In some cases, your eye doctor can note these issues even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms.

People with high blood pressure can have visible blood vessel damage, something than can show up on a routine eye exam. In some cases of minor blurry vision, your exam can show fluid buildup beneath the retina or possibly damage to your optic nerve.

Routine exams can also show that you may have diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy, which can cause distorted vision, loss of vision or blindness, is also a serious problem, but symptoms are not always present at the beginning.

People with diabetes are also more likely to develop cataracts and more serious conditions such as open-angle glaucoma.

Seeing your optometrist regularly can help you catch these serious medical issues and manage them before they impact your vision and overall health.

Your Optometrist Understands Your Vision HistoryDoctor

You may tell yourself that you just need a pair of “readers” from the drugstore to help your tired eyes for computer work or bedtime reading, but the truth is you may need more prescription help.

If you can get on a regular visit schedule with your optometrist, over time you’ll get a full picture of your sight and your eyes. You’ll discover if your vision is starting to degrade and, if so, how fast.

Your optometrist will compile your vision history along with any other health complications you may have. Any medication you take that can impact your eye health will also be part of your optometrist’s records.

These records help give your optometrist a clear picture of your vision history and overall health, allowing them to recommend the right eye care routine and corrective eyewear for your needs. Just as important, an optometrist that understands your vision and health history should give you peace of mind since you’ll know that you’re getting the best possible care through a caring eye doctor.

You Can Update Your Prescription

Seeing an optometrist once a year—or even once every two years—will allow you to maintain healthy eyesight through periodic exams and updated prescriptions, when needed.

If you already wear glasses or contacts, keeping your prescriptions updated is a must. Many eyeglass makers and contact lens providers won’t fill an existing prescription it is more than 18 months old.

Yes, there are ways to get new glasses without having a recent prescription in hand. But why pay for corrective lenses than may already be outdated the day you get them?

Eyesight Can Worsen Quickly

Routine eye exams help you stay on top of prescriptions if you wear corrective eyewear like glass and contact lenses. That means that you’ll see better and experience fewer side effects of poor vision like fatigue and headache.

There’s more to getting eye exams on a consistent schedule though. The fact is that your eyesight can worsen quickly, and without regular exams, you may develop a serious problem without even realizing it or understanding the severity of the issue.

Adults over the age of 40 in particular need to start getting routine eye exams. That’s because age 40 is around the time when vision changes and diseases become more prevalent.

If you’re over the age of 60, you may need to visit your optometrist once or twice per year based on your eye health. An annual visit is also typically recommended for people who use corrective eyewear.

Your optometrist can help you set an eye exam schedule based on your vision history and overall eye health. With guidance and regular exams, you can catch vision problems that develop rapidly before they dramatically impact your eyesight.

Covered by InsuranceInsurance word written on wood block

Routine eye exams should be part of your basic preventative health-care routine. That’s why many people have health care insurance that covers some or all of the cost of an eye exam.

If you’re a senior insured by Medicaid or Medicare, you receive eye care coverage, particularly if you have an advantage plan like Medicare Part C. That means you can get an eye exam for free or by simply paying your co-pay, which could be as low as a few dollars.

Routine eye exams are also very affordable for most people even if you don’t have insurance that covers them.

Make an appointment to get your next eye exam today. With the help of your optometrist, you can ensure that your eyes are healthy through every stage of your life.

Sources

High blood pressure dangers: Hypertension’s effects on your body. Mayo Clinic. Date fetched: June 28, 2021.

Diabetic Retinopathy. National Eye Institute. Date fetched: June 28, 2021.

Eye exam. Mayo Clinic. Date fetched: June 28, 2021.

Medicare and vision care. Medicare Interactive. Date fetched: June 28, 2021.

Blurry Vision or High Blood Pressure? VSP. Date fetched: June 28, 2021.

Summer Vision Safety Tips

Posted on July 7, 2021

Most of us remember to put on sunscreen and to wear a hat when they’re going to be in the sun over the summer, but we need to start thinking about protecting our eyes.

Powerful UV rays from the sun can penetrate the skin, and long exposure times can cause damage.

Two things to have near you this summer are a hat and UV-protection sunglasses.

Summer is in full swing, and it's a great time to get outside, stretch your legs and let loose a little. While most people remember to slather on sunscreen and put on a hat if they’re going to be in the sun, it's essential not to forget to protect something else from sun's glare: your eyes.

Whether you’re heading out on vacation, running errands or taking a dip in the pool, shielding your eyes from UV radiation will go a long way toward preserving your long-term vision as you age against cataracts and macular degeneration for years to come.

What to Bring on Vacation

Sunglasses are a must when you go on vacation—for driving and for when you’re outside having fun or sightseeing. So, too, is a sun-shielding hat.

Sunglass Tips

If you don’t have a quality pair of shades yet, don’t just pick up a cool-looking pair from a rack at the drugstore. Read the specs: Check to see how much UV radiation the lenses will shield from your eyes while outside. UV400 provides the strongest protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

It is also a good idea to consider glasses that feature lenses that wrap around your eyes. This helps protect your peripheral vision. Wrap-arounds are also beneficial when you’re driving, running, walking, playing golf or engaging in other outdoor activities like watching your kids play sports.

If you’re a sportsperson and have plans to play soccer, golf, beach volleyball, ride horses, run or cycle, look for sunglasses with polycarbonate lenses. These strong, lightweight lenses can protect you against a range of potential eye injuries should you have a collision or fall.

Beware of "bargains" you may find on vacation. Those $10 and $15 name-brand sunglasses may seem like a good deal, but they are probably knockoffs that will provide little to no protection against UV radiation.

Hat Tips

You will also want to pack a hat for your summer trips. Something as simple as a baseball cap will give your eyes a break.

Even better is a fishing cap that features a longer bill. It will create shade not just for your eyes but also your nose. (Both will protect any top-of-the-head bald spots.)

Best of all, though, is a sunshade hat. This kind of head topping features an all-around brim that can provide shade on all sides of your eyes no matter what position the sun is in.

Finally, seek out shade. The less time you spend directly beneath the sun's beating rays, the more protection your eyes will enjoy.

Sun Protection

UVA rays can penetrate deep within the skin's tissues, including the eye's cornea. They are powerful and can easily damage the lens and retina. There are roughly 500 times more UVA rays than UVB rays which most sunscreens are designed to protect against.

Naturally, the earth's tilt, climate, cloud cover, etc., can all affect your exposure to UVA and UVB rays.

The National Weather Service rates U.S. cities on a 0-15 scale, with zero meaning there is minimal UVA/UVB radiation and pose less risk of injury. Cities rated from 10-15 pose a significant risk, and it is quite possible to develop photokeratitis (essentially an eye sunburn) in these regions.

If your city is at the low end of the risk spectrum, you should wear sunscreen and UV-rated sunglasses. If you live on the high end, you should wear make sunscreen, UV sunglasses, hats and umbrellas a priority. And you should stay out of the sun during peak sun hours.

Eye Safety in Pools

Leave your contacts at home if you plan to swim this summer. Bacteria and micro-organisms easily attach to contact lenses and lead to serious eye infections, including potential damage to the cornea and vision loss.

If you do need help seeing while swimming, invest in a pair of watertight goggles. (If you need prescription goggles, you can get them.)

Goggles allow you to swim and snorkel and play in the water without risking your eyesight to enjoy the view underwater.

You may want to take some eye drops with you to the pool to protect against chloramine and the dry eyes it can cause. This compound forms when the chlorine in the water comes into contact with urine, soil, and natural oil. Eye drops can rehydrate your eyes quickly and effectively.

Careful with Fireworks

Always wear glasses when using fireworks. Whether it's sparklers, screaming Mimi's, bottle rockets, or mortars, glasses will protect against sparks, flames, and shrapnel.

Roughly 15% of all fireworks injuries are to the eyes. When using fireworks, make sure children, adults, and pets maintain a safe distance from any active firework.

Likewise, do not touch unexploded fireworks and never use handheld fireworks. While legal, many handheld fireworks such as sparklers can cause significant eye injuries.

If something happens and an injury occurs, seek prompt medical attention. Do not rub or rinse the eyes. Nor should you attempt to remove any debris lodged in the eye.

Limit Time Spent Playing Video Games

Playing video games for a little while is fine. But engaging in marathon sessions can lead to eye fatigue, blurred vision and headaches. Limiting your computer and TV screen exposure can help prevent these injuries and the physical discomfort they cause.

When playing games, take regular breaks every 20-30 minutes. This will help the eyes rest.

Similarly, sit back from the screen a minimum of two feet for computer screens and six feet for television screens. If you play games on a mobile phone, one foot is sufficient distance.

Sources

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays? University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Date fetched: June 28, 2021.

Fireworks Eye Safety. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Date fetched: June 28, 2021.

5 Reasons to See Your Optometrist This Summer

Posted on July 7, 2021

With the increase in sunlight hours and the urge to be more active during the summer, you should consider a trip to your optometrist a smart idea—especially if you have not seen your eye doctor in a few years.

Extra driving and traveling means dealing with sunlight and a lot of reflections, which means extra strain on your eyes. You want to check if you need an updated prescription for glasses or contact lenses. You also want to ensure you aren’t showing signs of any serious eye conditions that could affect you long-term.

Summer days are ideal to get your share of sunshine. Taking time to sit at the pool, the lake, the beach, the park or any other place you love outdoors is a perfect way to relax and wind down from your everyday stresses.

But when you go, you need protection not only for your skin but for your eyes.

When you’re outside for long periods, you expose your eyes to numerous shiny exteriors, particularly if you’re in or near the water. Sunlight reflects off the sandy beaches, water, pavement and car windows.

These reflective surfaces can make your eyes develop photokeratitis, a painful condition caused by extended exposure to harmful ultra-violet rays from the sun.

Longer exposure on sunny days can bring on eye conditions such as eye redness, dry eyes, sore and itchy eyes, blurry vision and possible temporary sight loss. So it’s essential to ensure that your eyes are ready for summer.

Here are five reasons to see your optometrist before you start working on your tan.

You Should Get a Status Report of Your Eyes

You should have your eyesight checked regularly to rule out any possibility of unexpected vision problems. Long periods between eye appointments can be detrimental, especially as you get older.

Adults and children should get annual eye screenings, and grown-ups should also get comprehensive dilated eye tests as well.

These tests are critical because certain eye conditions don’t carry warning symptoms. Comprehensive eye exams are the only reliable techniques used to detect overlying eyesight conditions during their initial stages for advanced diagnosis and treatment.

A check-up consists of:

  • A peripheral vision test.
    A decline in peripheral eyesight might be an indication of glaucoma.
  • A visual acuity test.
    You read letters, numbers and symbols from about 20 yards away determines how accurate you can see from different distances.
  • A tonometry test.
    This measures the internal pressure of your eye and helps detect glaucoma.
  • A dilation test.
    This is done with eye drops to widen, or dilate, your pupils and accommodate light into the eye.

Your eye doctor will look at (and into) your eyes with a specialized magnifying lens, which provides a clear view of your vital eye tissues, such as the optic nerve and the retina.

You Should Make Sure Your Prescription Is Up to Date

Many people who have sight problems must see an eye doctor regularly for scheduled vision checks and eyewear prescriptions. Prescribed glasses are only valid for a specific period.

When your contact lenses expire, you may opt for an online vision assessment, which a doctor reviews before issuing you an updated prescription. However, if you are experiencing irritation, redness, eye dryness, or a pre-existing ailment, it’s essential to schedule an eye check-up.

You Want to Reduce the Risk of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a wide range of infections that can injure the optic nerve. The condition is a major cause of blindness in the U.S. and generally occurs once the fluid pressure from inside the eyes gradually increases, injuring the optic nerve in the process.

Glaucoma gives no visible warning signs. Instead, it causes gradual loss of peripheral vision in people with glaucoma if they fail to receive immediate treatment.

Frequent eye check-ups can help to detect whether you have glaucoma. Individuals at risk should have their eyes examined at least once every two years. These groups include:

  • Black Americans aged 40 and above.
  • Anyone over the age of 60, especially Hispanic Americans
  • Anyone with glaucoma in their family history

Although the cure for glaucoma is still unknown, it’s still a manageable condition. Standard treatment methods include prescribed eye drops or surgeries.

You Want to Confirm You Have No Other Eye or Medical Issues

Regular eye exams can also detect other sight issues early on and help mitigate vision loss, you should consider having regular eye exams, especially when you reach forty. However, annual check-ups are recommended if you are at significant risk of developing an eye condition.

If you are older and have type 1 diabetes, research shows that changes in your retina are an indication of future cognitive disorders.

You should consider regular eye exams, especially if you are older than 40. An annual visit is recommended if you are at significant risk for developing an eye condition. When there are no present disorders, you should visit the doctor every two to four years until you reach your mid-50s. Following that, your visits need to be more regular, every one to three years.

When you turn 65, consider visiting your optometrist once every one to two years.

Because You Will Not Have Access to Your Eye Doctor While Traveling

It goes without saying, but when you’re away from home, you usually aren’t near the doctors you’re used to seeing and getting treatment from. Few things are worse than getting sick or hurt when you’re on vacation, especially far away from home, and that includes having an issue with your eyes.

Just as you keep photos of your passport and driver’s license on your phone or copies of them in your suitcase, you should ensure that you have your updated eye prescription. That will make it easier for you to secure replacement glasses if yours get lost or broken or if you damage your contacts.

Long flights and rides, a change in climate and late nights can result in dry and irritated eyes. Liquefied tears or drops can help lubricate your eyeballs and stop the discomfort. If you are going to travel in exceedingly hot weather, protect your contact lenses to avoid frame and lens damage.

Sources

Glaucoma. National Eye Institute. Date fetched: June 30, 2021

Routine eye scan may give clues to cognitive decline in diabetes. Joslin Diabetes. Date fetched: July 1, 2021

5 Tips for a Lifetime of Healthy Vision. American Refractive Surgery Council. Date fetched: June 30, 2021.

Saving Your eyes from the Summer Heat. College of Optometry, State University of New York. Date fetched: June 29, 2021.

Glaucoma. Medline Plus. Date fetched: June 29, 2021.

Detecting Eye Diseases and Conditions. WebMD. Date fetched: June 29, 2021.