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Parent’s Guide To Newborn Vision Development

Thursday, April 6, 2017 @ 03:04 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

Having a healthy newborn child can be the happiest and most fulfilling moment of your life, but soon after that many new parents start to worry about their baby’s development and health. Since the baby can’t speak or think for itself yet, it can be difficult to know what’s normal and what isn’t. We wrote this guide to help you be aware of the major milestones and things to look for in the development of your newborn’s vision.

pediatric eye doctor

After Birth

After being born, your baby sees everything in grey and cannot see any color yet because the cells in their eyes and their brains are not finished developing. They’re also unable to focus on near objects, which includes your face. So if it looks like they aren’t focusing on anything at this stage you don’t need to worry, they aren’t supposed to yet.

You might also notice that their eyes look very large, but that’s only because a baby’s head is more developed so the eyes will look big relative to the rest of their body. The doctor will conduct a quick examination of your baby’s eyes for signs of congenital cataracts or other eye problems and apply an ointment to prevent any infection caused by bacteria in the birth canal.

First Month

In the first month of your newborn’s life, their eyes are not nearly as able to detect light as a fully developed adult. This means you can leave some lights on while they sleep and it will not affect them. Within a week of their new life on earth they will start developing the ability to see some colors — red, green, yellow and orange. It will take them a bit longer to see other colors. At this stage they might also appear to be cross-eyed, but this is also normal as long as it is only sometimes. If they look to be cross-eyed for a long period of time with constant frequency, you should take your baby to an eye doctor quickly.

Second & Third Months

Most of a newborn’s vision development takes place in the second and third months of their lives. They will quickly start to use their eyes together so they can focus on objects, even as they move. They’re also able to better move their focus from object to object without having to completely move their head and body. At this point they’ll also be able to see light so you should start dimming the lights more for them to sleep. Eyecare professionals recommend that you stimulate their vision by changing the objects in their crib frequently to give them new things to focus on.

Four to Six Months

From the start of the fourth to the end of the sixth month, your baby will develop the ability to see all colors, more details in objects, and to better track fast moving objects. They’ll also start to significantly develop their hand-eye coordination, which means now is the time you’ll see your baby picking up everything they can get their hands on and putting them in their mouth! By the end of six months, you should also take your child to have their first eye exam so an eye doctor can test their basic vision functions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, eye coordination, and eye alignment.

Seven to Twelve Months

At this point you might see the color of your baby’s eyes change, but this is completely normal. It is most common for a baby’s eye color to turn darker, as the darker colors take more time to develop than lighter colors. By now your baby will be crawling around, which means they can act according to what they see. They can start accurately focusing on objects and surfaces of all distances, which means they can start interacting with everything you don’t want them to! If you want to encourage their hand-eye coordination development, you can get down on your hands and knees and crawl around with them. They’ll follow and interact with things that you do, which teaches them to look at and touch things they see you do.

If your eyes are red, itchy, and/or watery you might be wondering if it’s something simple such as lack of sleep, allergies, or something more serious. We wrote this guide to help you figure out if you might have one of the more common disorders and issues causing those symptoms. If you aren’t sure, you should make an appointment with your eye doctor to assess the health of your eyes and provide a firm diagnosis.

eye specialist

Pink Eye

Redness, itchiness, and watery eyes are all symptoms for pink eye, which can be caused either by allergies or by bacterial or viral infection that are contagious. Aside from those three symptoms, there are other signs you might have pink eye:

  • Your eyes have a burning or stinging sensation
  • Your eyes are swollen and puffy
  • Your eyes have a sort of discharge that isn’t just from watering

Make sure you wash your hands frequently to avoid catching or spreading the infectious form of pink eye. Even if you’re unsure if you have pink eye or something else, we advise that you don’t rub or scratch your eyes. You can get better relief using cold, wet compression on the outside of your eyelids. The cold will help reduce the swelling and soothe the burning.

Eye Trauma

If your eye, or eyes, are red but they do not also feel itchy or watery, it can be a sign of trauma to the eye. If you recently had something scratch or impact against your head or face around your eyes, that trauma can cause red eyes. Here are other symptoms that might mean the trauma might be more serious:

  • Pain in, around, or behind your eyes
  • Blurred or spotty vision
  • Swelling and pressure in or around your eyes

Such trauma could mean there is unseen damage to your eyes and could lead to a detached retina, which can cause blindness if not treated. If you suffer trauma to your eyes you should have it checked by an eye doctor right away. Use ice or cold cloths against the impacted area to reduce any pain and swelling.

Broken Blood Vessels

If your eyes are red, it can be the result of burst or broken blood vessels in the whites of your eye. That might sound very bad, but it’s almost always because of fatigue, rubbing, straining, or even no real reason at all. There is no other pain, watering, itchiness and you won’t notice it unless you look in the mirror or someone tells you.

If you want to be safe, or if your eyes stay bloodshot for another day or two, you can see your eye doctor to make sure there is no other disorder or trauma behind the redness. Otherwise, just wait for it to pass.

Blepharitis

If your eyes—particularly your eyelids—are red, watering, and itchy, it can also be a sign of a disorder caused Blepharitis. This is a common issue where your eyelids get inflamed. It can be caused by bacterial or fungal infection, dryness, parasites, or a few other sources. You can help determine if you have Blepharitis if you have these other symptoms:

  • Your eyes are burning or stinging eyes
  • There is a debris like dandruff in your eyelashes
  • Your eyelids feel very irritated and itchy
  • You start losing some of your eyelashes

You can have only some or all of these symptoms depending on the exact cause or severity. There are effective treatments for it, but you will need to get a diagnosis from an eye doctor as the treatments are usually in a clinic.

Guide to Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) Surgery: Pros and Cons

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 @ 12:02 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

If you are considering corrective eye surgery to either help improve your sight or to help treat a condition you have, you might not know much about Refractive Lens Exchange and whether or not it’s right for you. The truth is that it’s not for everyone. However, it’s the only effective way to treat certain conditions and types of sight problems. Here are some pros and cons that will help you determine if it’s right for you.

refractive lens exchange

What is Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery?

Also known as Lens Replacement Surgery, it is a surgical procedure that replaces your eye’s natural lens if it does not properly refract light. There are a number of eye conditions that this can cure, as well as types of sight deficiencies. When exchanging your refractive lens for an artificial one, there are three types of Artificial Intraocular Lens that you can have as replacements:

  • Monofocal — fixed focus lens to provide clear vision for long, medium or short distances
  • Accommodating — a type of monofocal lens that can work for multiple distances with the ability to shift positions in the eye
  • Multifocal — provides clear vision for all distances

You should request an appointment with your eye doctor to determine what the best type of lens is for you. When compared to other surgical procedures, it is very similar to cataract surgery, only it replaces your natural lens with a clear artificial lens instead of a cloudy one. The cloudy lens are used to treat cataracts, whereas a clear one helps improve your sight or correct other conditions. The surgery usually takes around 15 minutes for one eye, with at least one week between the procedure on the second eye. Basic recovery takes around a week, though complete recovery can take months.

Pros

The benefit of Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) surgery is that it is either the only or the most appropriate procedure for treating certain eye conditions and vision problems. Specifically, it is the best way to fix presbyopia and extreme far sightedness, and in fact might also be the only way to get clearer vision without still relying on glasses post-surgery. It also has other benefits, such as:

  • Treats or prevents cataracts, astigmatism, presbyopia, long-sightedness, short-sightedness, corneal problems and dry eyes
  • Removes reliance on glasses and other corrective lenses and reduces the headaches and eye strain associated with their use
  • Acts as an alternative for people who are not able to have other corrective eye surgeries for whatever reason

It also generally improves the eye health and reduces the likelihood that you’ll develop an eye infection. Depending on the specific conditions of your eyes and how they affect you, you might receive only some of these benefits. But these are the most common benefits for Refractive Eye Exchange.

Cons

While RFE surgery has great benefits to patients with these conditions, it is not as beneficial to those who have different conditions. There are other potential drawbacks as well, compared to other types of corrective eye surgery:

  • People with myopia (near sightedness) are at a greater risk of retinal detachment during RFE and should only resort to it if other surgeries are not viable at all
  • It is rare but possible that you might have to undergo further treatment post-RFE surgery to gain the full benefits to your vision
  • RFE surgery is about much more expensive than LASIK or other more common types of eye surgery

It’s extremely important to see your eye doctor to make sure your eye conditions are properly diagnosed. They will also ensure that you have the right eye prescription or make the best recommendation for what type of eye surgery is best for you by helping you navigate through the risks, pros and cons. This is what will help you to make an informed decision for your eye care.

If you’re shopping for prescription eyewear and you don’t really know much about the different types that are available to you aside from regular glasses, this guide is for you. There are a few types that you can choose from, including clip-ons, transition lenses, and contacts. Here’s a guide that will explain the differences briefly.

eyewear prescriptions

Clip-On Sunglasses

Clip-on sunglasses is pretty self-explanatory. They are polarized lenses that clip onto your regular prescription glasses so that your eyes are protected from UV rays and glare when you are outside. The most common type of clip-ons are magnetic, strong enough to stay on without falling or slipping as you move around, but easy enough to pull off when you’re done with them. Here are the benefits of clip-ons:

  • Size — they lack the full arms of normal glasses or sunglasses so they are more flat
  • Convenience — they’re much easier to use and remove than switching from full set of glasses to full set of sunglasses
  • Carrying — they are much easier to carry around in your pocket or in a thin case when compared to a full set

There are a wide range of styles and colours to choose from, though the one knock on them is they are a bit heavier and bulkier than having a separate set to wear.

Transition Lenses

Also known as Photochromatic or adaptive lenses, transition glasses are a single set of prescription glasses that darken when exposed to sunlight — the brighter the sun, the darker the lenses. When taken out of the UV radiation of sunlight, they revert to normal, clear lenses. When they darken they provide the full protection and eyesight correction of prescription sunglasses.

This means that you don’t have to switch from glasses to sunglasses and back again, or even add or remove clip-ons, because they change for you depending on the level of sunlight you’re in. The only con of transitions is they are not instantaneous when they darken or clear away, though they are very quick. They can also be more expensive than normal prescriptions for glasses or sunglasses. However, since you would have to buy a second set anyways it would work out to be around the same cost.

Polarized Contacts

Also known as tinted contact lenses, these are contact lenses that are polarized to provide protection and better sight outdoors in the bright sunlight. When you see them next to normal contact lenses, they really do just look darker and tinted in the same way that sunglasses are compared to normal glasses. Here are the benefits of tinted contacts:

  • Activity — if you are exercising or working outdoors your tinted contacts are less likely to fall off and break due to exertion or sweat
  • Cost — getting a pack of polarized contact lenses costs less than a $200+ set of new sunglasses, and you don’t have to worry about them breaking, scratching or being ruined
  • Vision — as far as being able to see in brightly lit conditions, they provide perfect clarity with no spots or angles where sunglasses might not cover in your peripheral vision

The problem with tinted contacts is that as far as putting them in, they are not nearly as quick and convenient as sunglasses, clip-ons or transitions even if you are experienced and fast at it. They’re generally best used for times of activity when you know you’ll be outside and moving around a lot and can plan for it with the contacts.

See what brands we carry or find answers to some of your frequently asked questions here.

5 Tips For First-Time Contact Lens Users

Monday, January 9, 2017 @ 03:01 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

If you’re a first time contact lens user, you might be a bit uncertain about how to use them properly. It can be awkward trying to use them initially, either because you’re squeamish about your eyes or because you’re worried you might damage them. We wrote a quick guide with five tips to keep in mind when starting out.

first-time-contact-lens-user-tips

Don’t forget to take them out before you sleep!

It’s worth setting a reminder alarm on your phone or your clock for around the time you go to bed, so you get into the habit of always remembering to remove your contact lenses. There are a few reasons why you should always remember to remove them:

  • Your eyes need oxygen and not all lenses breathe, and lack of oxygen for too long causes swelling, blurry vision, and potential eye damage
  • While sleeping your eyes don’t produce tears to wash away bacteria, so if your lenses have any you’re more likely to get an eye infection
  • Your eyes also won’t clear away debris while sleeping, and if too much builds up you can cause eye damage

Some contact lenses are made so you don’t have to remove them before sleeping, but if you don’t have them it’s important to remember to remove them for your own eye health.

Make sure the lens isn’t inside out

Before you put a contact lens in your eye, check to make sure it isn’t inside out — wearing them while they’re inside out does not cause any damage but will be uncomfortable. To check, place the lens on your finger and hold it up in good light in front of you.

Some contact lens manufacturers laser mark the edge with their brand name, so if the marking is backwards you know the lens is inside out. Otherwise, if the lens is inside out it will look saggy and flaring out at the edges; whereas if the lens is fine it will look like a perfect bowl.

Wash your hands before using them

Before you put in your contact lenses or take them out, wash your hands first. You don’t want any debris or residue getting on either your lens or in your eye, especially before you put your contacts in. Having any residue smudging the lenses would compromise your ability to see through them, and having debris between your lens and your eye can be both uncomfortable and potentially damage your eye.

When washing your hands, make sure you use unscented and non-oily soaps, otherwise you might still have the soaps residue in your fingers. Also make sure to dry your hands with a lint-free towel, so you don’t get any fibers or debris on the lenses.

Practice, practice, practice!

The first few times you try to put in contact lenses will likely be awkward and frustrating, and can take a long time before you get it right. So when you first get your contact lenses, you might want to take any downtime that day to just practice putting them in and taking them out. That way, when you actually want to use them one day it won’t take you so long and you’re more likely to do it correctly. Plus, if you’re squeamish about touching your eyes, it can help you adjust to the feeling.

Keep your fingernails short

When you start out with contact lenses, it’s a good idea to keep your fingernails trimmed short to start with. Until you’re comfortable with handling and using the lenses, you don’t want to accidentally scratch your own eye with longer nails while trying to put them in or remove them. You can also ask your eye doctor for special devices to remove contact lenses called plungers that can help.