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New To Contact Lenses? Here Are Our Top 5 Tips!

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New To Contact Lenses? Here Are Our Top 5 Tips!

For an estimated 56 million North Americans, contact lenses are the preferred form of vision correction. So if you’ve just started wearing contact lenses — you’re in good company!

Advice About Contact Lenses from Your Doctors

Here are 5 tips to quickly help you adjust to wearing and caring for your new lenses so you can enjoy the many benefits they offer.

  1. Learn How to Tell if Your Contact Lens Is Inside Out

This is a common mistake many beginners make when inserting soft contacts. Place the lens on your index fingertip and look carefully at its shape. The edge of the lens should be pointing upwards, like the rim of a teacup. If the edge is flared outward like a blooming flower, the lens is inside out.

Some contact lenses have tiny laser markings of numbers or letters. If the numbers/letters read correctly when you hold the lens on your fingertip, they are properly oriented and the lens is ready to be inserted.

  1. Never Use a Substitute for Contact Lens Solution

Your eye doctor will recommend the appropriate contact lens solution to suit your eyes and lenses. Some people have sensitivities and not all lens solutions are the same.

Even if you run out of contact lens solution, don’t be tempted to rinse your lenses with water, and never use saliva to moisten or clean them.

Using substances other than the recommended contact lens solution to rinse or rewet your contacts can introduce harmful microbes to the eye and cause a serious infection. That’s why it’s best to remove your contacts before showering, swimming, or any other time they might get wet.

  1. If Your Contact Lenses Feel Uncomfortable, Take Them Out!

Some newcomers mistakenly think that if their contacts feel uncomfortable or gritty, they simply need to “get used to them.” Contact lenses are supposed to be comfortable, so if you are experiencing discomfort there may be something wrong.

With clean fingers, remove your contacts and rinse them, inside and out, with the solution or rewetting drops as recommended by your eye doctor. Dust or dirt could have gotten stuck between the lens and your eye, causing irritation. Flushing the lenses with contact lens solution will help remove the irritant.

If your eyes still feel irritated, don’t place the contact lenses back in your eyes. Instead, wait until they are no longer red or irritated, and try inserting them again. If the problem persists, contact your eye doctor.

  1. Wear Contact Lens-Friendly Makeup

Wearing makeup around the eyes can be a source of irritation and infection whether you wear contact lenses or not. Here’s what we recommend when it comes to eye makeup and contact lenses:

  • Choose hypoallergenic makeup.
  • If using a cream-based product around your eyes, choose a water-based formula instead of an oil-based one.
  • Keep your eye closed during application to avoid makeup particles entering your eye.
  • Don’t apply eyeliner or eyeshadow to the inner rims of your eyelids.
  • Replace eye makeup at least once every 3 months to minimize the growth and spread of bacteria.
  • Never share eye makeup with friends or family.
  • Remove your contact lenses before removing your makeup.
  1. Stick to the Hygiene Guidelines

We can’t emphasize this enough — always thoroughly wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses.

Try to avoid washing your hands with oily or heavily scented hand soaps, as they tend to cling to the surface of the lens and could irritate the eye. Additionally, if you touch moisturizers or lotions before handling your contact lenses you run the risk of some residual product adhering to the lens and clouding your vision.

After washing your hands, dry them using a lint-free towel. It’s harder to grasp contact lenses with wet hands, and — as mentioned above — lenses shouldn’t come into contact with tap water.

Bonus Tip: Get an Eye Exam

While all this advice can be very helpful, it doesn’t replace an in-person exam with your eye doctor yearly. Your eye doctor will advise you when to return for your next contact lens consultation. Following this schedule is the best way to ensure you can enjoy the freedom of contact lens wear.

If you are new to contact lenses (or not!) and have any questions or concerns about your eyes or vision, call 734-245-2928. Suburban Eye Care will be happy to schedule you for a contact lens exam and fitting.

With the help of our doctors and technicians, you’ll be an expert in contact lens wear and care in no time!

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COVID-19: Protect Your Eyes From Too Much Screen Time

You and your children are likely spending more time on mobile devices and computer screens than ever before. Too much time spent staring at screens can cause computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain, in certain people. While not serious, this condition can be very uncomfortable, potentially causing:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness

Below are some useful tips to help you and your children avoid computer vision syndrome:

Blink more!

Staring at a screen strains the eyes more than reading printed material because people tend to blink 30-50% less. This can also cause your eyes to dry out. Be mindful of blinking and make it a habit when focusing on a screen, as it will keep your eyes healthy and lubricated.

Follow the 20-20-20 Rule

Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object located 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Doing so will allow your eyes to relax and will give both you and your eyes some rest.

Keep your distance

Your eyes work harder to see close up than at a distance. Try keeping your monitor or screen at arm’s length, or about 25 inches away.

Lighting matters

Make sure that your surrounding light is similar in strength to the light emanating from your screen. Contrasting levels of light, such as looking at a bright screen in a dark room, can strain the eyes.

Take breaks from the screen

You may want to stipulate ‘screen free’ time for yourself and/or your children, such as during meal times or for several hours throughout the day. Engage in hobbies that don’t require a screen, such as drawing, reading books, doing puzzles, playing an instrument or cooking (among many others).

Don’t use devices before bed

Studies show that blue light may affect your body’s circadian rhythm, also known as the natural wake and sleep cycle. Stop using screens one to two hours before bedtime or use nighttime settings to minimize blue light exposure.

Although it may require a bit of planning to protect your family’s eyes during this stressful time, ultimately, it’s all about balance — and what works for you and your family may differ from others. Learn more about the impact screen time can have on children’s health HERE.

From all of us at Suburban Eye Care at Livonia, we wish you good health and please stay safe.

Recurrent Corneal Erosion

Watery or painful eyes in the morning?

Have you woke up with eye pain or irritation? Typically, morning eye pain that occurs sporadically throughout the year can be linked to one of two conditions. It could be a very painful Recurrent Corneal Erosion when the surface layer of the cornea sloughs off. It could also be a condition called lagophthalmos, occurring when your eyes do not stay tightly shut while you are sleeping. Both conditions can manifest in different ways such as:

  • Watery eyes in the morning
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Light sensitivity lasting more than an hour after waking
  • Eyes not opening easily
  • Frequent blinking (often observed by others)

Many people live with morning eye discomfort but have never been diagnosed because their eyes are not bothered every day or the issue has already improved by the time they make it to the doctor. It may be difficult for the doctor to see evidence of a corneal erosion or lagophthalmos if it last happened weeks ago and sometimes the diagnosis may be made based on patient recollection of symptoms and frequency.

With Recurrent Corneal Erosion or Lagophthalmos¸, there are treatments that can be prescribed by your eye doctor to significantly improve your morning eye comfort and get back to living your best life. Contact your Optometrist at Suburban Eye Care today to schedule an evaluation of your eye health and discuss this condition further.

by Dr. Brett Arnold OD

Associate Optometrist at Suburban Eye Care

So you had LASIK and now are having complications..

Eye doctor, Woman Eyes Scarf Over Face in Livonia, MI

LASIK is generally a safe and effective procedure to improve vision with a goal of glasses-free living afterward. With any surgical procedure though, there are risks involved and not everyone experiences clear comfortable vision afterward. The most common complications after LASIK that I see in my office are:

  • Dryness – causing eye discomfort, blurred vision, and even severe pain – this symptom is typically worst right after the procedure and improves over time
  • Residual uncorrected prescription – glasses still required to see clearly, especially night time
  • Corneal irregularity (irregular astigmatism) causing blur and halos even while wearing glasses – typically occurs several years after the procedure
  • Keratoconus

Fortunately, there are treatment options for all of these issues including tailored dry eye regimens prescribed by your Optometrist or special Scleral Contact Lenses to improve vision and decrease glare.

“Botched” LASIK

On the very rare event that LASIK is “botched”, meaning something went wrong during the procedure, typically the vision will be blurry after and even glasses will not completely improve the sharpness. In these cases, special contact lenses such as Hybrid Contact Lenses or Scleral Contact Lenses work very well to improve vision and typically provide the best vision possible.

Written by Dr. Arnold

Is Too Much Screen Time Dangerous For Your Kids?

Screen Time Pros and Cons

Whether it is homework, email, gaming, chatting with friends, searching the web or watching Youtube, kids these days seem to have an endless number of reasons to be glued to a screen. Many parents out there are wondering how bad this can be for their kids and whether they should be limiting screen time.

There are certainly benefits to allowing your kids to use digital devices, whether it is educational, social or providing a needed break. However, studies show that excessive screen time can have behavioral consequences such as irritability, moodiness, inability to concentrate, poor behavior, and other issues as well. Too much screen time is also linked to dry eyes and meibomian gland disorders (likely due to a decreased blink rate when using devices), as well as eye strain and irritation, headaches, back or neck and shoulder pain, and sleep disturbances. Some of these computer vision syndrome symptoms are attributed to blue light that is emitted from the screens of digital devices.

Blue light is a short wavelength, high-energy visible light that is emitted by digital screens, LED lights and the sun. Studies suggest that exposure to some waves of blue light over extended periods of time may be harmful to the light-sensitive cells of the retina at the back of the eye. When these cells are damaged, vision loss can occur. Research indicates that extreme blue light exposure could lead to macular degeneration or other serious eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness. Studies show that blue light also interferes with the regulation of the the body’s circadian rhythm which can have a disruptive impact on the body’s sleep cycle. Lack of quality sleep can lead to serious health consequences as well.

Beyond these studies, the long term effects of blue light exposure from digital devices are not yet known since this is really the first generation in which people are using digital devices to such an extent. While it may take years to fully understand the impact of excessive screen time on our eyes and overall health, it is probably worth limiting it due to these preliminary findings and the risks it may pose. This is especially true for young children and the elderly, who are particularly susceptible to blue light exposure.

How to Protect the Eyes From Blue Light

The first step in proper eye protection is abstaining from excessive exposure by limiting the amount of time spent using a computer, smart phone or tablet – especially at night, to avoid interfering with sleep. Many pediatricians even recommend zero screen time for children under two.

The next step would be to reduce the amount of blue light entering the eyes by using blue light blocking glasses or coatings that deflect the light away from the eyes. There are also apps and screen filters that you can add to your devices to reduce the amount of blue light being projected from the screen. Speak to your eye doctor about steps you can take to reduce blue light exposure from digital devices.

As a side note, the sun is an even greater source of blue light so it is essential to protect your child’s eyes with UV and blue light blocking sunglasses any time your child goes outside – even on overcast days.

The eyes of children under 18 are particularly susceptible to damage from environmental exposure as they have transparent crystalline lenses that are more susceptible to both UV and blue light rays. While the effects (such as increased risk of age-related macular degeneration) may not be seen for decades later, it’s worth it to do what you can now to prevent future damage and risk for vision loss.


How young is too young for VT?

How young is too young for VT

Sometimes people are surprised to hear that we work with adults who benefit greatly from vision therapy. Stroke patients, adults with eye turns and other vision difficulties have seen much improvement through a vision therapy program. We also work with children of all ages; even infants and toddlers. Not all offices work with children of these ages, and different doctors and therapists have varying specialties, but we have extensive experience with people of all ages – from infants through adults.

This is not to say that there aren’t factors that go into deciding if vision therapy is right for the patient. There are many things to consider, and we want to be sure the individual patient will see improvement in whatever symptoms he or she is having. The lovely little one working hard in the picture above is Olivia, and she was just 2 years old when she started coming to us for regularly scheduled vision therapy sessions. Because of her maturity, diagnosis, and strong support system at home, Dr. Jacobi prescribed a therapy program in which she comes every 3 months to see him as well as a vision therapy session, then she works with mom and dad on her new vision therapy activities at home for 3 months before returning. This was a better approach for her personally, as opposed to our more typical weekly therapy sessions.

Thanks to neuroplasticity, we know that vision therapy helps people of all ages, but generally the sooner we address vision issues, the easier things will be for the patient. Infants and preschoolers have a visual system that is still in a formative stage, so vision therapy at this time can be greatly beneficial (Take Olivia, and Nadia from our previous blog post, for example).

Detecting and correcting vision problems when your child is young ensures they do not encounter unnecessary difficulties and labels throughout their schooling. Unfortunately, basic eye exams usually only test for 20/20 eyesight, and do not test any other areas of vision function, which are essential for learning. Undetected vision problems can cause significant difficulty for a child in an academic setting. As a child progresses through the higher grades, children with vision disorders often fall further and further behind their peers, continually requiring academic intervention and support services in order to achieve.

Many visual skills are essential for early learning, including scanning and eye/hand coordination (cutting, coloring, pasting, learning to write), depth perception (catching and throwing balls, spatial judgments, coordination, sports), visual memory (remembering colors, numbers, letters etc), and visual-spatial orientation (writing letters and numbers the correct way). Please see our preschool vision checklist below for more examples.

Just as all of our vision therapy programs are highly individualized to each patient, the same can be said for our work with infants and preschoolers. We would not do the same exact activity with a 2 year old that we would with an 80 year old, even though the visual diagnosis and/or symptoms may be similar. We know that children learn through play, so a lot of vision therapy for young children involves games that help to develop the visual skills that are lacking. This may include tracking, fixation, crossing the midline, left/right concepts, binocularity, fine and gross motor, and much more. That is why it’s important to see a developmental optometrist and vision therapist with experience in whatever area of expertise you are looking for…and with children especially, you can’t be afraid to have FUN!
Contributed by Amanda Timbre, COVT

Vision Therapy At Suburban Eye Care

Did you know that 1 out of every 4 school-age children has a vision problem?

There is a difference between sight and vision. The difference between eyesight (20/20 acuity) and vision, is that eyesight is the ability to see at distance, and that’s it! Most optometrists check eyesight at 20/20 distance, and nothing more. Vision encompasses many things as it is a part of our 5 senses. Vision is made up of binocular (two eyes) vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, spatial awareness and 3D. The eyes and brain have to work together to make sure one is seeing what they are supposed to see, where they are to see it spatially, how they are seeing it, and what they are seeing. The eyes have to team and track together so that one eye is not being suppressed.


Can We Stop to Smell the Flowers?

Woman Blowing Dandelion 1280x480

The weather outside is beginning to warm up, the flowers are starting to bloom, and most of us are spending more time outdoors. For some, this shift from the dry cold to warm green landscapes is one of the best times of the year. For those with allergies, this transition into spring indicates the start of many months of sneezing, running noses, and itchy eyes.

Most people know taking anti-histamines will help with nasal allergies, but did you know they can also affect your eyes? A common issue of using an antihistamine pill such as Zaditor or Claritin is the side-effect of eye dryness.

It is important to note that dry eyes and allergies have similar symptoms that both include itching, redness, and watering. Often, a person will start using an allergy medication during allergy season and believe it’s not working because their eyes still itch, when in fact the medication is working great and their eyes are simply experiencing the dryness side-effect.

This is one reason it is important to discuss your symptoms with your optometrist and let them know of any medications, including over-the-counter medications that you are taking.

If your eyes are truly suffering from allergies related to pets, pollen, dust, or mold, there are several prescription eye drops that may be used to locally target and treat the eyes. These medications are safe for continual use and many people find great relief by adding them to their daily routine.

The best way to differentiate between allergy and dryness is to have a comprehensive eye exam and discuss your symptoms with your eye doctor.

Contributed by Dr. Brett Arnold

Sports Vision Deconstructed

Vision is a critical component to succeed as an athlete and this doesn’t just mean having 20/20 vision. There are a number of visual processes that are involved in optimal sports performance, whether you are playing a weekly little league game or competing in professional sports.

The eyes and the brain work together to receive, process and respond to visual and sensory information and this amazing ability is what allows us to engage with the world around us. However, when one or more of these processes is disrupted, whether it be the eye itself or in the processing of the information that the eye brings in, it can cause difficulty in a number of areas, particularly movement and sports.

Here is a breakdown of some of the visual skills you rely on for athletic performance:

Visual Acuity: the ability to see clearly is one of the most important aspects of vision. To improve visual acuity your eye doctor can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses, as well as prescription sunglasses, swimming goggles and sports goggles. LASIK or refractive eye surgery or orthokeratology may also be options for improving visual acuity without having to wear vision correction during play.

Dynamic Visual Acuity: the ability to see moving objects clearly.

Peripheral Vision: your side vision or the ability to see out of the corner or sides of your eyes when you are looking straight ahead.

Peripheral Awareness/Visual Concentration: The ability to be engaged in a task while having awareness of peripheral and other visual stimuli without being distracted by them.

Depth Perception: the ability to perceive the relative distance and speed of objects in your field of vision.

Visual Tracking: the movement of the eye that allows for the ability to follow a moving object, switch visual attention from one object to another or to track a line of text. This allows an athlete to “keep an eye on the ball”.

Focusing: allows for the ability change focus quickly and clearly from one distance or object to another.

Eye Teaming: the ability for the two eyes to work together in coordination.

Hand-Eye, Body-Eye Coordination: the ability of your eyes to guide your hands and body to carry out movements accurately and effectively.

Visual Reaction Time: how quickly your brain is able to interpret visual information and respond with the appropriate motor action.

Often we take the wonder of our eyes and brain for granted, not realizing all of the systems that must be in place in order for us to perform optimally in our daily lives… all the more so for top-notch sports performance (and these are just the functions that are related to your eyes!)

Typically, visual processes occur automatically, without us paying much attention to them, but they are skills which can be improved. If you feel that you or your child might have some difficulty with one or more of these visual skills, speak to your eye doctor. Through proper eyewear, exercises, nutrition and sometimes vision therapy, it can be possible to improve upon these skills and as a result, enhance your performance on the field. In fact, professional athletes often utilize a combination of vision therapy and nutritional supplements (such as lutein and zeaxanthin) to enhance their vision and reaction time for better performance on the field.

Additionally, you want to make sure – whether you have visual processing issues or not – that you protect your eyes properly. Unfortunately, many injuries occur from an over-confidence that the eyes are safe during sports. Speak to your eye doctor about the right sports safety eyewear to protect your or your child’s eyes during your favorite sports.

Contributed by Amanda Timbre, COVT

Success Stories

graduation cap

Here are some examples of how our vision therapy program has changed the lives of our wonderful patients!

“At our son, Zachary’s last annual eye examination, Dr. Jacobi asked how school was going? Zachary commented that it was hard especially reading. We had already begun some academic testing at the school because of Zachary’s difficulties. Dr. Jacobi suggested some further vision testing. The results were surprising. In some areas Zachary performed quite well but in others he was in the 5th and 9th percentile of children his age. We discovered that Zach’s eyes were not working together and that he had some processing problems.

The vision therapy that Dr. Jacobi recommended retraining Zachary’s eyes to work together. We noticed how improved Zachary’s attention span became. The second part of his therapy worked on the processing of what he sees. We have noticed improvement in this area as well. Zachary is having a much better school year this year. His confidence has also improved. Zach still has a ways to go but the vision therapy he received has definitely gotten him on the right track.

We would like to say thank you to Dr. Jacobi for identifying the problem and determining a solution. We would also like to thank the therapist for working with Zachary on a weekly basis. Their patience and kindness made the experience a very positive one.”

“Andrew had headaches, blurred vision, would become anxious about doing well in school and would have a lot of trouble reading in and out of school. Andrew knows how to deal with his vision problems and is learning how to use his new visual skills so he can read better without getting anxious. We took precious time out of our schedule to make this program work and with the improvement came fewer headaches.”

“Michael’s reading and writing skills were well below average. He came home from school every day frustrated, angry and with a headache. Reading is now easier and comprehensible to Michael. Previous to Vision Therapy, he could only read 5 to 7 minutes. Now, however, he can ENJOY reading for up to an hour. I wish I would of known about Vision Therapy when he was younger.”

“We feel Spencer has made major gains. We hear of ADD and immediately talk of what we found. Vision Therapy is well worth it. Spencer is OFF Ritalin. I can’t thank you enough!! He does not seem to put such a concentrated effort in his writing, it flows much easier. This gives him the ability to concentrate on what is going on around him. He is receiving A’s and B’s on spelling tests, which never happened before. He also seems to be comfortable with himself, able to accept and not become frustrated as before.”

Before Vision Therapy, school was hard for me. I used to have trouble with my homework and cried every night. I even had to do most of my homework over again. It was terrible. Then when we heard of vision therapy, we tried it. With Vision therapy, I can now memorize my spelling words and get 100% on my tests! I am also reading a lot of books and I understand what I am reading. My work seems so much easier now. I come home from school and do my homework by myself. I have improved a lot.”

“Terrell was reading at a first grade level in the fourth grade. He had a lot of letter reversals and was very frustrated with school. Terrell avoided and hid his schoolwork and was embarrassed by younger siblings who were beginning to pass him. Now he has a better short-term memory and is consistently reading from left to right. Terrell is now enjoying school and is more willing and confident to help his brothers and sisters with their homework.”

“Casey complained of headaches. She had a headache each school day that increased in intensity throughout the school day. She wore glasses with a mild Rx that didn’t help her with the fuzziness in her field of vision. Casey loves to read but had to struggle to enjoy it, as the words on the page would move around for her. Casey also had a hard time memorizing written work as the images swam around. She has been tested for glasses since the 3rd grade. In the 6th grade she went through some testing to see if ADD was a possible problem for her. Her school did additional diagnostic testing for her in the 7th grade to see what else we could discover but once again, nothing came up. Upon completing Vision Therapy, Casey says her headaches have almost disappeared. She no longer sees fuzzy images on the blackboard or on the overhead. Words no longer swim around on the pages of her books. Until recently her handwriting was very messy and never went in a straight line. Now it is very neat and even. Casey seems to be more confident and more coordinated; I don’t see her tripping and falling like I use to. Many of Casey’s skills and abilities have improved, but she has to work on using them efficiently. Casey seems less frustrated and has a little more patient with the tasks she does not like doing.”

“My son did not feel confident with reading; he did not have the greatest coordination and had overall a very hard time with reading and schoolwork. Now I think he feels more confident with himself and his work. His reading has improved and so has his coordination. I am so thankful that his convergence insufficiency was caught and diagnosed so that we could get the help he so needed. I did not think twice about starting him in the vision therapy and I’m so happy I did!”

“Before vision therapy began, my son would become fatigued quickly while trying to complete any academic task (especially reading)! During Therapy, his handwriting, time spend on homework, and playing sports improved. I am grateful because he now has strategies that he can utilize to continue his improvement and growth.”

“The benefits of this VT have been incredible! Our son had a very difficult time reading and would fight me every time he had to sit down to read (which was daily). Now he loves to read and often times I do not have to remind him to do so. His confidence has increased, his attention span has increased and his overall behavior has calmed down. Thank you!!!”

“My son had all the pieces to be a good reader but he could not put the puzzle together. His eyes were always tired. He learned ways to avoid what made him uncomfortable; reading and writing. He started needing lots of trips to the bathroom and drinking fountain-anything to get out of the work. A friend suggested an eye exam and she mentioned that a friend’s son was going to Suburban Eyecare. We met with Dr. Jacobi and he evaluated Max. After getting his diagnosis, Dr. Jacobi explained exactly what was going on with my son. We decided on a plan that would benefit him. Our son’s therapist made each week fun but challenging. When he was tired of it she would motivate him and get him back on track. My son is now reading at grade level and still improving every day. His writing has improved as well as his focus and stamina. I highly recommend this Vision Therapy.”

“Lucas has struggled with reading his whole life. It wasn’t until the beginning of second grade that we learned Lucas struggled to see and focus on the words. Once we started training, he became aware that his eyes struggled to concentrate and track the words. Through the exercises and therapy, Lucas can now read and focus for long periods of time. My only regret is not knowing sooner. I would highly recommend the therapy.“I could not find anyone in China to help my son. I could only find one professor who told me Yuelin had vision problems but they could not work with him one-on-one like this place does. They did not have therapists like you. School is so hard for kids with these problems; it is impossible! This program helped my son so much with his reading and schoolwork. Now he can read more than just picture books, and even his art and sports have improved. This will change his life and it only took 6 months. The doctor and therapist were so helpful and great here. Thank you so much! I will be telling all of my friends about this program.”