Playing Sports This Summer? Don’t Forget to Put On Your Protective Eyewear

Your eyes are invaluable to you. There’s no way to know what could happen when you step out onto the court or the field for your favorite sport. Every play can mean your eyes are put at risk. Unfortunately, damage to eyes is not often easy to reverse. And, in some cases, the damage may lead to severe vision impairment. Yet, protective eyewear can be an excellent way to avoid this risk. Do you need it?

Do you or your child need protective eyewear?

It is no longer uncommon to see players of all types wearing protective eyewear. Whether they are stepping up to bat a ball, hitting the basketball court for a few layups, or spending their time on the field with football, soccer, or other sports, protection for the eyes is essential. From Little League play to professional sports, many organizations are putting rules and requirements in place for protective eyewear.

If it is possible to wear it, do so. If you need to improve your vision on the field and wear glasses off the field, you need to have a pair designed just for the sport you participate in. Even if your son or daughter may not want to use it, it can be an essential investment, nonetheless.

What does protective eyewear do for you?

There are several versions available. When you come in to see your eye doctor, you’ll learn more about which type is best for you. In general, they work in several ways.

  • They work to improve vision. Many pieces are fitted with lenses that boost your vision, much like your glasses do.
  • They can take the place of contact lenses, which can sometimes blur or become hard to see through during sports play.
  • They work to reduce the risk of something striking your eye during the game, whether that is someone’s finger or an object in the air.
  • Many times, they can be used to enhance a player’s ability on the field. Seeing better makes that possible.
  • They can also help manage glare and sunlight, limiting the amount of risk to the eyes from multiple ways, including the sun’s UV rays.

These types of products can be customized to meet your individual needs. That’s what makes them so versatile for today’s athlete.

How do you get protective eyewear like this?

Individuals who come in for an appointment with their eye doctor can easily talk about the options in protective eyewear. Because your vision is so important to your wellbeing and quality of life, be aggressive in selecting protection for your eyes. This may include options such as sports goggles which can provide a level of protection for the eyes. It may also include the use of bike helmets or other helmets that have built-in protections.

Many people who need protective eyewear also need a prescription. If you are wearing glasses or contact lenses right now, this may be one of the most important steps you take to improve your eyesight while on the field. You can choose sports goggles or sports glasses designed with your prescription in them to achieve this. Even better, there are plenty of colors and styles to choose from for most ages.

Many people worry about the way they will look. They also worry about the risks. The key here is to recognize that protecting your vision needs to be your priority if you want to keep playing.

Need to update your protective eyewear? Schedule a consultation with us today.

It’s important to come in for an eye exam at least one time a year. This should be more frequently if you have any known eye conditions or when you need new or updated protective eyewear. We encourage you to make an appointment before the summer season of your favorite sport gets underway. Call Andrea Stein, OD, and Eye See Ravenswood today for an appointment, or you can book online for even more convenience.

4 Common Causes of Dry Eye and How You Can Find Relief

Having dry eyes can affect your life in many ways, from making your eyes more sensitive to light to causing redness and discomfort. Fortunately, finding relief from this condition is possible. Below are four of the most common causes of dry eye, along with some information about best treatment options.

Causes of dry eye

In most cases, the symptoms of dry eye occur when your eye doesn’t produce enough tears, or when tears are produced but evaporate too quickly. Some of the most common situations that can lead to these problems include:

1. Aging

Many people begin experiencing dry eye as a result of the aging process. This is particularly common among women who have gone through menopause, as the hormonal changes often cause a decrease in the production of tears.

2. Certain medical conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and lupus, may cause dry eye. You may also experience the symptoms of dry eye if you have a Vitamin A deficiency.

3. Medications

If you take a certain type of medication daily and have consistently dry eyes, your prescription could be the culprit. Some common medications such as antidepressants, decongestants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and hormone replacement therapy can cause dry eye as a side effect.

4. Environmental or structural causes

In some cases, your eyes may produce adequate tears, but they evaporate too quickly because of a structural problem with your eye or an issue with the environment you’re in. For example, if you have a medical problem that prevents your eyes from closing properly, your eyes may dry out in spite of good tear production. Likewise, if you are in an environment that is smoky, windy or excessively dry, your eyes may become dry as a result.

Treatments for dry eye

The treatment recommended for dry eye will depend primarily on the cause. For example, if your dry eye is related to a medication you are taking, changing medication may be the best course of action. If you wear contacts and are bothered by environmental dust or allergies, it may help to switch over to glasses so that your eyes have a protective barrier. However, in other cases, you may need prescription eyedrops or over-the-counter medications, medical devices, or even surgery to solve the problem.

If you are dealing with dry eye and can’t seem to find a solution, it may be time to seek professional treatment. Please contact Eye See Ravenswood today to learn about your options. You can also book an appointment online at your convenience.

Here’s How to Tell if You Are Suffering from an Eye Emergency

Have you ever scratched your eye or splashed it with a chemical and wondered if you needed emergency care? A quick Google search may say to call your eye doctor, while another search may recommend flushing your eye with cool water.

At Eye See Ravenswood, we understand the worry and frustration that can occur when you have an eye emergency. That’s why we’re here to help you learn when your eye injury is an emergency and when to seek care.

Symptoms of an eye injury

We recommend seeking immediate medical attention anytime you experience swelling, redness, or pain in your eye, especially if it occurs after an injury or having a foreign object or chemical in your eye. When left untreated, these injuries can damage your eye even more, leading to partial and/or permanent blindness.

If you’ve injured your eye and experience symptoms, you may also need emergency eye care. While not all eye injuries require emergency care, we suggest seeking immediate medical attention if you have:

  • Vision loss
  • Different size pupils
  • Double vision
  • Bleeding from the eye
  • Swelling
  • Eye pain that doesn’t lessen on its own
  • Eye pain accompanied by a headache

Some eye scratches may also need medical care. If you think you’ve scratched your eye but you don’t know with what, don’t rub it, which can make your scratch worse. Instead, try rapidly blinking your eye to see if you can remove the debris.

Wash your hands and look in your eye to see if you can find anything. Look under both your bottom and top lid (use a cotton swab to flip your upper lid and allow you to see underneath it). Opt for artificial tear eyedrops to flush your eye and rinse away any foreign object. If this doesn’t solve your problem, seek emergency eye care.

Specific eye injuries that require emergency care

With certain eye injuries, it doesn’t matter what type of symptoms you’re having — you should seek emergency medical attention. For instance, if you have glass, metal, or plastic enter your eye at high speeds, it can become stuck in your eye. Do not remove it on your own, and try to keep eye movement to a minimum. Leave the object in place and head to your closest emergency center.

If you get a harsh chemical in your eye, we recommend the following:

  • Wash your hands before looking at your eye
  • Turn your head to the side so your injured eye is down
  • Hold open the eyelid and rinse the eye with cool tap water for 15 minutes
  • Remove your contacts
  • Head to the closest emergency room or urgent care
  • Continue flushing your eye while you wait to see the doctor

Anytime the eye or the skin surrounding the eye receives a blow or gets cut, you should seek emergency medical care. Use a clean cloth to cover your eyes until you can see the doctor.

Avoid further eye damage

Once your eye is injured, it’s important that you don’t do further damage. Some important things to avoid include:

  • Rubbing your injured eye
  • Taking out your contacts unless you experience rapid swelling or a chemical injury
  • Removing a foreign object that’s embedded in your eye
  • Using tweezers or cotton swabs directly on your eye

Many eye emergencies can be treated with little lasting effect, but you must seek medical attention right away. When left untreated, some eye injuries can lead to permanent damage, including blindness.

Spring Allergies and Managing Your Itchy, Red Eyes

Spring is a time when the snow begins to melt, the sun starts to shine, and the flowers start to bloom, but for some people, it signals something completely different — the arrival of allergy season.

Spring allergies can cause you to experience a number of different symptoms, ranging from coughs and sneezes to congestion and hives, but there is one symptom — itchy, watery, red eyes — that is extremely frustrating and can really impact your day-to-day life. Itchy, red eyes caused by allergies can make it difficult for you to see and even concentrate. Luckily, there are some things you can do that will help you find relief from itchy, watery eyes.

Work to identify your allergy triggers

Allergies occur when the body reacts in an abnormal way to a relatively normal and harmless substance or object. The best way to manage your allergies is to identify what allergens cause you to experience symptoms and then work to avoid or reduce your exposure to these allergens.

Common allergens can be found both outdoors and indoors. Some examples of common allergens include:

  • Tree, grass and weed pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Perfume
  • Heavily scented objects
  • Pet dander

If you have difficulty identifying which allergens are causing you to experience symptoms, you may want to consider undergoing allergy testing. Allergy testing can provide you with a comprehensive list of common allergens that you should avoid.

Ways to limit your exposure to common allergens

Making simple lifestyle changes can help you limit your exposure to common allergens. Some lifestyle changes that will help you avoid common allergens include:

  • Wearing sunglasses even if it isn’t extremely sunny. The sunglasses can work as a protective barrier that prevents allergens from coming into contact with your eyes.
  • Closing windows and making sure the seals around the windows are tight. Closing windows during the spring season will prevent common allergens from coming into the house.
  • Drive with the windows closed.
  • Use the air conditioner. Using the air conditioner not only prevents allergens from entering the house through an open window, but it allows you to be exposed to fresh, filtered air that is free of most allergens.
  • Wear glasses instead of contacts. Some allergens can get stuck on your contacts, which causes you to experience red, itchy and watery eyes.

OTC and prescription medicines may provide symptom relief

Making certain lifestyle changes may provide you with some allergy relief, but it might not stop all your symptoms. If you continue to experience itchy, red eyes, over-the-counter medications or prescription medications may be able to help you find relief.

Over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamine eyedrops and tablets, often are able to provide relief for mild-to-moderate spring allergies. People who suffer from severe spring allergies or who find OTC medications aren’t working may need prescription medication.

There are several different types of prescription medications that can help reduce or eliminate any symptoms you experience from spring allergies. Common prescription medications include strong antihistamines that are available in eyedrops or tablets, decongestants, mast cell stabilizers, steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

An optometrist, such as Dr. Stein, can help you find the right OTC and prescription medication that will help you find relief from red, itchy eyes caused by allergies.

Unable to find relief for red, itchy eyes? Schedule an appointment with an optometrist.

Finding relief for red, itchy eyes caused by spring allergies can be difficult. If you are having trouble managing your allergy symptoms and continue to suffer from red, itchy eyes, you should schedule an appointment to see Dr. Stein at Eye See Ravenswood.

Trouble Learning to Insert or Remove Contact Lenses? Follows These 6 Expert Tips

Wearing contacts gives you great freedom over glasses, but for many, the struggle and frustration of learning how to insert and remove contact lenses is too much. Here’s your expert guide to worry-free contact wear, complete with troubleshooting for common contact-wearing problems.

1. How to remove a contact lens that “disappeared”

If a contact disappears, it may have fallen onto the floor to be lost forever, but, in some cases, it could still be stuck under your eye. You may feel a prick under your eyelid after a contact has disappeared because the contact has likely folded or otherwise moved out of place on the eyeball.

If you can’t see it, don’t try to lift your lid up enough to grab it because you’ll hurt yourself. Instead, close your eye and look down as far as you can, and then, while still looking down, gently pull the lid up slowly. This dislodges the lens so that you can easily remove it. If this doesn’t work, please contact Dr. Stein for an appointment and he will assist you.

2. How to remove a contact lens first thing in the morning

It’s not advisable to sleep in your contacts, but some contacts are designed for 24-hour wear, making sleeping in them less risky. When you first wake up, your eye may be dry, and the contact may have temporarily adhered to the cornea. Trying to remove it in this state may damage your cornea, so make sure your eye is sufficiently lubricated with eyedrops before removing the contact.

3. What to do if the contact keeps falling out during insertion

The trick is to gently hold the contact on the eye for about 1 second and then very slowly move the eyeball back and forth slightly. This helps the fluids on your cornea pick up the contact from your finger.

Without blinking, move the eyeball slowly down and then around to secure the lens in the eye. Now you can blink, and the lens should stay in place. With practice, this takes fewer than 2 seconds to do.

4. What to do if your contact falls out at an inconvenient time

As a contact wearer, you should always be prepared. Carry a travel-size bottle of saline in your backpack, satchel or purse. Keep a contact case with you at all times. If the contact falls out, don’t attempt to re-insert it immediately. Instead, put some fresh saline into your case, place the contact in there, and then get to the nearest restroom to thoroughly wash your hands and the contact before reinserting.

Never rinse contacts with tap water even in an emergency! Well water and even some city water may have microbes and parasites you do not want in your eyes.

5. How to properly insert a contact lens (step-by-step)

To insert:

  1. Wash and dry your hands on a clean towel.
  2. Remove the contact from its case with your thumb and index finger and place it on the index finger.
  3. If the contact is not a bowl shape, turn it the other way.
  4. Use your other hand to slowly lift your eyelid.
  5. Look up and slowly place the lens on the eye, giving it 1 second to suction to your eye fluids.
  6. Once you feel it attached, blink slowly to strengthen its bond in the right position.
  7. Dump any solution left in your case into the sink and allow the case to dry completely. A CDC study found that as many as 55 percent of contact wearers don’t use new solution every time, which is scary given the number of dangerous eye infections you can contract with poor contact hygiene.

To remove:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Prepare your case with new solution.
  3. Pull your eyelid up with one hand.
  4. Look up.
  5. Gently slide the contact onto the white of your eye.
  6. Grab the contact with a thumb and index finger.
  7. Place the contact carefully in the case and close the case.

6. How to stop dropping the contact during insertion or removal

Be patient with yourself. The main reason people struggle is they see how quickly others can insert and remove contacts, but the people who do it quickly have been wearing contacts for at least a couple of weeks. Give yourself a little extra time in the morning to get the hang of it, and soon, you’ll be as fast and flawless as they are.

The Importance of Wearing Sunglasses Year Round

If you’re like most people, you know it’s important to apply sunscreen every time you go outside to reduce your risk of skin damage and cancer from ultraviolet light. But, it’s equally important to protect your eyes against UV rays each time you go outside, not just when the sun is shining.

At Eye See Ravenswood in Chicago, Dr. Andrea J. Stein works with you to reduce your risk of eye damage by helping you select the best sunglasses to protect you from UV light.

The effect of ultraviolet rays on your eyes

When people talk about ultraviolet rays, they’re usually referring to UV-A and UV-B rays. While we refer to them collectively as UV rays, they each damage your eyes in very different ways.

Exposure to UV-A rays, for example, can lead to eye damage affecting the back of your eye, impacting your central vision. Extended exposure to UV-B rays affects your cornea and lens at the front of your eye.

The most common eye problems caused by UV damage include:

  • Macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in older Americans
  • Cataracts, the clouding of your lens that affects vision
  • Pterygium, an eye growth that can block your vision
  • Photokeratitis, or corneal sunburn, a painful condition that can cause temporary vision loss
  • Skin cancer around your eyelids

You may think your risk of exposure to UV light is highest on a sunny summer day, but these harmful rays are still present on cloudy days. They can also be at their most dangerous during winter months, because they reflect off surfaces like ice and snow.

Protecting your eyes from UV rays

When it comes to eye protection from ultraviolet light, not all sunglasses are created equal. It’s also essential to understand that the darkness or shade of your lenses doesn’t always block out more UV light.

To invest in the best sunglasses for daily wear, Dr. Stein recommends choosing lenses that provide at least 99% UV protection. And, for the highest level of protection, she suggests selecting glasses with the “UV 400” label that can block even the tiniest UV rays.

In addition to picking the right lenses, it’s also important to select the right size. Those tiny lenses may look cool, but the larger the sunglasses, the more protection. To take your eyewear to the next level, Dr. Stein recommends choosing sunglasses styles that are oversized or wraparound, both of which can reduce the amount of UV rays entering your eye from the side.

An added bonus to these styles of sunglasses is additional protection against wind and other weather conditions that can cause or exacerbate dry eyes.

When you’re selecting your sunglasses, Dr. Stein also works with you to identify the best color and lenses to suit your lifestyle. These often include color choices that can increase contrast, making them a popular choice for athletes and golfers, and polarized lenses that reduce glare reflected off surfaces. While polarized lenses don’t provide more UV protection, they can increase your comfort during certain activities, like driving or being on the water.

5 Tips for Choosing the Best Glasses for Your Face

If you’ve never considered your face shape before, selecting new eyeglass frames is definitely the time to do so. Our knowledgeable optometry team at Eye See Ravenswood in the Ravenswood area of Chicago, IL wants you to love everything about your new glasses — from state-of-the-art vision correction to an outward expression of your style and personality.

We’re happy to share these five tips for choosing the best glasses for your face.

First: Understand face and frame shapes make a difference

When it comes to the best frames for your face shape, one rule of thumb is to think in terms of a complementary look. In other words, if your face is round, choose angular frames to balance your features. If you have chiseled cheekbones, a square chin, or angular eyebrows, round frames can soften your look.

If your face is thin, chunky frames may overpower your delicate features. Look in the mirror when you try on different frame styles and ask yourself, “Does my face appear balanced? Or are these frames too overpowering for my facial features?”

Second: Consider your skin color and tone

With frame colors, think more about blending than complementing to choose frames that work well with your skin coloring and tone. Skin tones fall into two categories — cool or warm — and once you determine yours, choosing frame colors that work well with your complexion is easy. People with cool complexions have pink or blue undertones, and those with a warm skin tone have more of a peach-colored, bronze, or yellow undertone to their skin.

So what does this mean for frame colors? If you have a warm complexion, glasses frames in shades of brown, gold, beige, or olive green enhance your warmth. Stay away from pastels and high-contrast colors like white or black. However, if you have a cool complexion, frame colors like black, silver, pink, purple, or blue add color and won’t make you look washed out.

Third: Express your style and personality

In addition to the very important function of allowing you to see clearly, glasses are a means of expressing your personal style and a reflection of your unique personality. Would you like your new glasses to convey a refined, sophisticated sense of style or perhaps a fun, whimsical side? Many people like to have a few pairs of glasses on hand as part of their wardrobes, such as a more professional look for work and a bold, stylish pair for weekends.

Fourth: Keep your lifestyle in mind

When selecting the best glasses for your face, remember to think about the activities you’d do while you wear them. Could you benefit from flexible frames that twist and bend without breaking as part of your active lifestyle? Or do you spend most of your time in front of a computer screen?

Do you wear glasses many hours each day or just to read a book? Durability features such as spring hinges can make a difference in how many times you put your glasses on and take them off during the day. Choose frames that offer the most freedom and flexibility.

Fifth: Focus on comfort

Honestly, the best glasses for your face are ones that are comfortable — especially if you wear them most of the day. Once you’ve narrowed down styles, colors, and features that work well with your face shape, skin tone, and lifestyle, consider how the frames feel when you’re wearing them.

Are they too heavy on your nose to wear all day? Does the stylish embellishment in the corner get caught in your hair? Of course, our skilled optical team adjusts your frames to fit perfectly on your face and to hold on behind your ears, but only you know your preference when it comes to nose pads and other features that make your glasses comfortable to wear.

Keep these tips in the forefront of your mind when trying on glasses so you get the frames that work best for you. From trendy to classic, and everything in between, we can help you find the perfect fit.

For personalized service and a large collection of frames for every style and lifestyle, call or request an appointment online at Eye See Ravenswood in Chicago, IL.