Having Trouble with Your Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lens have become very popular and while many enjoy the comfort and vision correction they provide, some find it difficult to apply (insert) and remove these large diameter RGP lenses. If you are one of the many who are having difficulty managing to get your scleral lenses in or out, there are a number of tools available to help.

The Scleral Lens Education Society website provides a wealth of information about the care and handling of these lenses trouble with your Scleral Lenses as well as an excellent video. There are photos demonstrating various ways to hold the lens while applying it …some you may not have tried! If you have trouble with your schleral lenses, see below.

Troubleshooting tips and tricks:

    • If you are unable to maintain fluid in the bowl of the lens as you bring it towards your eye, make sure that your face is fully parallel to the floor. It may seem like you are nearly standing on your head when you’re in the correct position to apply the lens.
    • Lid control is essential; use one hand to hold lids completely out of the way, and don’t release the lids until the lens is actually fully in place and the plunger (or your finger tripod) has been removed.
    • If you are unable to successfully apply a solid lens with saline, you could practice applying the lens after filling the bowl of the lens with Celluvisc™ or another non-preserved viscous lubricant. These viscous lubricants will blur your vision compared to saline, however, so you may simply want to use them to practice lens application. Once you’ve mastered this step, switch to saline to give you better vision.
    • Try to keep both eyes open as you apply your lenses. This may also help you to position the lenses correctly.
    • If you are using a bulbed (DVM) plunger, and can see the opening in the center of the suction cup, look directly at the hole as you bring the lens into position. This will help you to position the lens correctly.

    Many find the DVM plungers helpful. They are readily available at your doctor’s office and online. These are just a few of the places to find them: DMV Corp, Dry Eye Zone, and Amazon.

    trouble with your schleral lensesAnother variation to the standard lens inserters is a ring-style lens applicator by EZI Scleral Lens. It was designed by a post-transplant patient who like so many, had trouble inserting his scleral lens without getting a bubble. Read Tim’s story.

    If you have tried the above techniques and still have trouble applying scleral lenses there are a number of devices available that may help. Dalsey Adaptives has developed the See-Green devicetrouble with your schleral lenses that can be used to help successfully apply scleral contact lenses. The See-Green system comes with a stand that holds a lighted plunger (Figure 2). Using this system, you don’t hold the lens, you lower your eye onto it, which leaves both hands free for improved lid control. The light at the center of the plunger is used as a target to help you position the lens centrally on the eye. Click here to see the detailed instruction sheet.

    Scleral lenses offer good vision and comfort but can be challenging to manage. Discuss these options with your eye care professional to get his or her recommendation for your specific situation.

    1/28/16


     

    CathyW headshotCathy Warren, RN
    Executive Director
    National Keratoconus Foundation

Layers of the Retina

The retina at the back of the eye is essential for all vision. Each layer of cells in this tissue serves a specific purpose. As we prepare for Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month in February, a closer look at the layers of the retina and their function.

layers of the retina

Layers of the Retina

Choroid – This is made up of a layer of blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the retina. Defect in the CHM gene can cause choroideremia, leaky blood vessels can expand in the retina causing wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal pigment epithelium – This is a single layer of cells that provide essential nutrition and waste removal for the photoreceptor cells. Accumulation of waste can lead to AMD and Stargardt disease.

Photorecptors – This is where the rods and cones are located that convert light into electrical signals. Rods help you with night and peripheral vision. Cones are more concentrated in the macula (the central part of the retina) and proved central and color vision. Death of the rods can cause vision loss called retinitis pigmentosa, while AMD is the loss of central vision.

Horizontal cells – These cells are connect to the photoreceptors that surround the bipolar connected photoreceptor cells and help the help integrate and regulate the input from multiple photoreceptor cells, increasing your visual acuity.

Bipolar cells – The dependence of each layer of the retina on each other is exemplified here. These cells take the electrical information from the photoreceptor cells and pass it along to other retinal cells.

Ganglion cells – These cells extend to form an optic nerve that conveys information to the brain and take the electrical information from the bipolar cells and process it to determine shapes, contrast and color. Glaucoma vision loss results from high intraocular pressure that affects the optic nerve, interrupting the signals to the brain.

1/26/16


 

Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation

Wearing Contact Lenses in Winter

Wearing Contact Lenses in Winter This has been a cold winter so far, and since it is only January, it is bound to get colder. The extreme cold, combined with winds, snow, rain and other environmental factors, can really take a toll on your eyes. And while it may be snowing or raining, winter air is actually drier than any other season. This can be especially difficult if you wear contact lenses. Here is what you should know about wearing contact lenses in winter.

  • Wear sunglasses for protection from UV rays and wind. Your eyes can become sunburned which cause blurry vision and can make your eyes feel like they are burning (think of your sunburned skin feels) for 24 to 72 hours. It will also protect your eyes from snow, rain or anything else the wind can send your way.
  • Avoid direct sources of heat such as heating vents and fireplaces. Indoor heating can draw the moisture out of the air, so consider a humidifier to help maintain the correct amount of moisture in the air to help keep eyes moist. Cool-air humidifiers have less of a tendency toward mold and bacteria.
  • Speaking of hydration, we also tend to drink less water in the winter months, so make a concentrated effort to keep up your water intake.
  • If it is so dry, why are my eyes watering? This is a common question and the answer may be a bit counter-intuitive. Anything that irritates your eyes, including dryness, causes a tearing reflex. Your tear glands go into overdrive trying to replace the moisture to your cornea. To try and reduce the tearing, you can use eye drops or artificial tears specifically designed for use with contact lenses.
  • Your eyes are not the only thing that dries out in the winter, so does your skin. Try to put in your contacts before moisturizing your skin, especially your hands. So wash your hands, put in your lenses and then use your creams and lotions.
  • Change out your contact lenses regularly in cold weather according to the recommended schedule, be it daily, every two weeks or monthly. This will allow them to better conduct oxygen, reduce irritation and increase comfort.
  • Take a break from your contacts and wear your eyeglasses. Putting them on when you get home from work can make a big difference. Contact lenses dry your eyes out on their own, when you add cold weather it gets that much worse.
  • Get plenty of sleep, which also helps with the dryness and fatigue. This will help you start the day with your eye refreshed and ready for the many things you will put them through throughout the day ahead.

Do you have any other suggestions that have helped you cope when wearing contact lenses in winter?

1/15/16


  Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE Vice President of Development Discovery Eye Foundation

7 Tips for Living With Glaucoma

living with glaucoma
Did you know January is Glaucoma Awareness Month?  Although no cure exists, the eye disease may be treated with medication and surgery.  If left undiagnosed and untreated, however, glaucoma can cause permanent damage to vision.  According to the National Eye Institute, glaucoma affects more than three million people in the United States. The population that is at highest risk is adults over the age of 60. Glaucoma affects vision by damaging the optic nerve and typical vision loss occurs in the peripheral visual field. This type of loss can create difficulty performing everyday tasks. To mark the importance of Glaucoma Awareness Month, Low Vision Focus @ Hadley offers these tips to improve independence and safety for people with glaucoma-related vision impairments.

Tips for Living With Glaucoma

  1. Loss of peripheral vision makes it difficult to see steps and stairways.  Marking treads and handrails with contrasting colored paint or tape can improve navigation and reduce the risk of falling.
  2. Persons with glaucoma often experience difficulty adjusting to darkness or darkened rooms. Increase illumination in dark closets or hallways by installing additional lighting fixtures. When outdoors at night, carry a strong flashlight.
  3. Area rugs can pose a hazard for persons with visual field loss.  It’s best to keep home pathways and work areas free of extra floor coverings.
  4. In all locations where you might be a frequent visitor, ask someone to give you a tour.  It goes without saying you need to know where the bathroom is located, as well as how to exit the building from a variety of locations.
  5. Some persons with glaucoma prefer to use a human guide when traveling in unfamiliar places.  To use a human guide effectively, grasp the guide’s arm firmly just above the elbow and walk a half a step behind. This positioning gives the most protection from potential obstacles and allows both people to function as a team.
  6. Get in the habit of consistently closing kitchen and bathroom cabinets, especially those above countertops.  Make sure doors are either all the way open or shut.  Practicing both of these safety techniques can greatly reduce the risk of head injury.
  7. Before reaching down to pick up dropped objects, place your hand, palm out, about 12 inches in front your face.  This way, you’ll make sure you don’t hit the edges of tables or countertops with your forehead.

Remember, although glaucoma cannot be cured, it can be treated.  Regular eye exams, especially for adults over 60, are critical to control the spread of the disease.  For those who are affected by vision loss, it’s important to remember that the acquisition of some simple adaptive skills and techniques can help maintain safety and independence.  Low Vision Focus@Hadley is dedicated to assisting persons with low vision to live life to the fullest all year long. For more information on how Low Vision Focus@Hadley can help you or someone you know, please visit our website www.lowvisionfocus.org, or call (855) 830-5355 to find out about our free programs and materials.

1/12/16

Ed Haines - living with glaucomaEd Haines
The Hadley School for the Blind
Low Vision Focus @ Hadley

Top 10 Articles of 2015

eye facts and eye disease
In looking at the many articles we shared with you in 2015, we found that your interests were varied. From the science of vision, eye facts and eye disease to helpful suggestions to help your vision.

Here is the list of the top 10 articles you read last year. Do you have a favorite that is not on the list? Share it in the comments section below.

    1. Rods and Cones Give Us Color, Detail and Night Vision
    2. 20 Facts About the Amazing Eye
    3. Understanding and Treating Corneal Scratches and Abrasions
    4. 32 Facts About Animal Eyes
    5. 20 Facts About Eye Color and Blinking
    6. When You See Things That Aren’t There
    7. Posterior Vitreous Detachment
    8. Can Keratoconus Progression Be Predicted?
    9. Winter Weather and Your Eyes
    10. Coffee and Glaucoma: “1-2 cups of coffee is probably fine, but…”

Do you have any topics you would like to see discussed in the blog? Please leave any suggestions you might have in the comments below.

1/7/16


Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation

Silent Thief of Sight – Glaucoma

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. The National Eye Institute, through their education program NEHEP, have created this infographic to provide you with information you need to know about this blinding eye disease.

When adults reach their 40s, they often begin to notice small changes in their vision that can affect their daily lives and jobs. It could be difficulty in reading a book or working on a computer. This can be annoying, but it can often be addressed by seeing an eye care professional for comprehensive dilated eye exam. This allows the doctor to detect diseases and conditions that can cause vision loss and blindness and yet have no symptoms in their early stages.

Silent Thief of Sight – Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of these age-related eye diseases that has no early symptoms, which is why it is called the silent thief of sight. It is actually a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form disease.

In addition to an eye exam, you can reduce your chances of losing your vision to glaucoma by also:

  1. Live a healthy lifestyle that includes maintaining a proper weight, eating healthy foods, and not smoking.
  2. Know your family history to determine if you are at a higher risk for some eye diseases.
  3. Protect your eyes against harmful UV rays from the sun or your computer by wearing sunglasses when you are outdoors or computer glasses when using the computer for extended periods of time.
Silent thief of sight glacoma
Courtesy of NEI/NEHEP

1/5/16


Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation