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“A friend once asked me, ‘If I’m staying with someone and I don’t have contact solution with me, can I wet my contact lenses in the sink?’ I told him it was absolutely do not okay, and not because the water is harmful to your contacts, it’s dangerous for your eyes. Tap water can contain pathogens that cause infections, the worst of which is the acanthamoeba parasite: expose your eye directly to it and you may need a corneal transplant. So if you wear contacts, always carry a travel size bottle of solution with you. In a pinch, simple saline solution, sterile water, or artificial tears can also be used to rinse the lenses — or even your eyes, if you put anything in them. Then be careful when showering or washing your face. You have to keep your eyes closed as much as possible so you don’t get water under your eyelids.” —Rosalind C. Vo, MD, ophthalmologist at the Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles and the Doheny Eye Institute in Fountain Valley, California


“A friend of mine once had quite severe eye pain; it turned out she had developed an infection while sleeping in her contacts. We see things like this quite regularly, as well as simple injuries (like scratches and blows) that are suddenly causing people discomfort. But eye pain comes in many forms, and sometimes the nature of the pain can indicate a completely different problem. A burning sensation, for example, indicates dry eyes, which can be associated with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or hormonal disorders problems like menopause Pain that radiates from other parts of your face to your eyes can signal a problem in your sinuses. Chronic eye pain with inflammation can be linked to anything from syphilis to meningitis. In other words, eye pain can be severe, so go see a doctor.” —Joseph A. Eviatar, MD, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and an oculofacial, cosmetic, and reconstructive surgeon practicing in New York City


“A few friends have told me that they get LASIK like it’s no big deal, and I find that So frustrating. I told them, ‘LASIK is not an occasional procedure. It’s surgery. I think this laid-back attitude stems in large part from the way LASIK is marketed: for a time, it seemed like you could do it anywhere, even in a parking lot. It’s ridiculous. First and foremost, you need to schedule a consultation with a reputable firm. Next, your doctor must critically assess whether you are a good candidate for LASIK (not everyone is), manage your expectations (because you may not have perfect vision afterwards), and warn you of any side effects (dry eyes are extremely common). Be prepared to pay for this level of care: when LASIK is done correctly, it doesn’t come cheap. I question the skill of anyone advertising it for a few hundred dollars, and I also doubt their honesty – there’s a good chance that additional charges will be added later.” —Alan N. Carlson, MD, professor of ophthalmology at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina


“People often ask me if carrots really give you good vision. They can: carrots contain vitamin A, which helps the retina work properly. But I also tell my friends that the ultimate plate for healthy eyes would be filled with foods they wouldn’t have Don’t expect: leafy green vegetables (like kale, spinach, and broccoli), which can help fight macular degeneration, a chronic condition that can worsen your vision as you age; types of fish high in acidic omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna), which protect against dry eyes, and citrus fruits, which promote retinal health Eat fish twice a week and fruits and vegetables every day. —REBECCA TAYLOR, MD, OPHTHALMOLOGIST IN PRIVATE PRACTICE IN NASHVILLE AND SPOKESPERSON FOR THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPHTHALMOLOGY


“I was so sorry to hear that a friend’s mother had been diagnosed with glaucoma, which damages the optic nerve and can lead to loss of vision. When he asked me for advice, I told him: “Get tested. He was really surprised; like most people, he assumed that glaucoma is a disease that affects older people, and he’s only in his late thirties. But glaucoma can It can occur at any age – even children get it – and your genes play an important role If you have a first-degree relative with the disease, you are more likely to be diagnosed (there are a number of conditions that run in families, so watch out for them as you would for high blood pressure or diabetes.) Glaucoma often has no symptoms, but you may eventually suffer from visual field loss, especially at the periphery of your view, so it is important that you are checked even if your vision is good. My friend did; thankfully he is glaucoma free now, but he gets checked every six months so he can start treatment if his eyes change.” —Stacy L. Pineles, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles


“My friends are always surprised to hear that for many people, an annual eye exam just isn’t necessary. If you have an eye condition that you’re being treated for, then yes, it’s important to be seen regularly But let’s say you’ve had two regular exams in a row – well, just like doctors allow healthy women to skip Pap smears, you can probably skip next year’s eye exam too. Always talk to your doctor to be sure, however, as other factors (like your occupation or family history) may come into play. Symptoms from my “RSVP” list: “R” stands for redness – if your eyes are suddenly red, you may have an infection that needs immediate attention “S” stands for secretion or light sensitivity, both of which can indicate inflammation. “V “means decreased vision, which can be caused by anything from cataracts to stroke. And “P” is for pain – you might just be tired, or you might have something in your eye that’s dang erous, so get it checked out ASAP. » —Alan N. Carlson, MD


“UV rays damage the surface tissues of your eyes, which can make them chronically bloodshot and even increase your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. So I constantly remind my friends to wear sunglasses, even by There’s no excuse not to, and here’s why: My colleagues and I conducted a study where we went to Venice Beach, California and bought sunglasses labeled “100% UV Protection” from all sellers. We then tested the glasses and found that even the cheapest pair were extremely protective against UV rays. The best style to buy is wrap-around, so the sides of your eyes are covered. Dark tinted lenses aren’t any better at blocking UV rays, so choose the color you like, as long as you’re going to wear them.” —Brian Boxer Wachler, MD, director of the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute in Beverly Hills, California

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