Today around 30 million Americans wear contact lenses!

Contact lenses help you see better without affecting your appearance or interfering with sports, which is specially helpful for younger contact lens wearers. There are many options, but with a busy life, daily disposable contact lenses are a great option.Daily disposable lenses have a much better safety profile and a lower risk of infections. These daily contacts are available in most prescriptions , astigmatic lenses and even in multifocals for people over age 40 with distance and near visual needs. Use of extended wear lenses and sleeping in contacts are associated with higher risks of complications. And of course, yearly eye exams are necessary to evaluate the health of your eyes if you are a contact lens wearer.   Contact lenses and lens solutions are considered medical devices and are regulated by FDA. Contact lenses are a very safe option to correct refractive problems as long as you follow the instructions provided by your optometrist.   Keep your eyes healthy by following these rules and always remember to carry a pair of glasses with you in case you have to take out your contacts.     - improper cleaning and/ or delayed replacement and/ or sleeping in contacts are the number one risk factor for contact lens related complications. - eye infections , specially Kerititis (sight threatening corneal infection) are often the result of improper lens use. -unfortunately,  around 60% of contact lens users do not properly follow the care instructions. - significant reduction in incidence of contact lens related corneal infections is achieved by attention to lens handling hygiene and storage case hygiene as follows:  
  1. Wash your hands with soap and water and dry with lint free paper towel before handling your contacts.
  2. Do not rinse or store your soft or gas permeable contacts in tap/sterile water or your saliva, or saline or contact lens rewetting drops. ONLY use the contact lens solution that is recommended to you by your eye doctor.
  3. Replace your lenses according to your eye doctor's instructions.
  4. Even if the solution says "no rub", rubbing the lenses with solution and rinsing them is better.
  5. Replace your contact lens case every 2-3 months and rinse them with fresh solution (not tap water) and let...

Have an Eye-Healthy Summer!

The temperature is finally on the upswing. Time to get out those sandals, shorts, tank tops, sunscreen, and most importantly sunglasses.

One of the most important accessories for summer is a pair of good sunglasses. Your eyes deserve the best protection! Invest in sunglasses that provide good coverage from every angle, that sit close enough to your face, or are wrap-around.

Good sunglasses should also provide both UVA and UVB protection. For people that spend a lot of time outdoors or on the water, polarized lenses are also a big plus to keep those eyes protected. And of course, if you have prescription glasses, it's always great to have a pair of stylish prescription sunglasses with all the above features too!!

Summer days are filled with fun activities, from kids soccer matches and baseball games to bike rides and sitting on the beach. Make sure you wear your sunglasses! Even better to wear a sunglass-hat combo for all sunny activities.

Just like protecting our skin with sunscreen, our corneas can get painful burns in the summer too.  Recent studies show people who do not wear sunglasses will have cataracts on average, ten years earlier than people who do wear sunglasses. Of course, don't forget the little ones. Children as young as 6 months old need to wear sunglasses and a hat while outdoors.

Keeping your eyes safe during summer, also means wearing safety goggles when doing home renovation projects and mowing the lawn. Sports safety goggles are also as essential with ball sports like baseball, tennis, soccer, and even cricket.

When it is time to get in the water to cool off, wear tight fitting swim goggles, not only for sun protection but also to protect your eyes from chemicals and bacteria. Since it is much safer to not wear your contacts in the pool, having those prescription goggles to find your way around will make the experience more enjoyable.

Summer can be lots of fun for the whole family, if you just remember to take your activity-appropriate eye wear and sunscreen with you!

Nicole Shams, OD Kirkland Vision Center