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You’re Never Too Old to Try Contacts!

Are you one of those people who tried contacts in the past, but had no luck? Perhaps you found them dry and uncomfortable, or your allergies made them impossible to wear?  Maybe you were unable to see as clearly compared to your glasses, or you never needed glasses but now you’re struggling to see up close?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time for you to try contacts again!

Advances in Contact Lenses

Over the last decade, contact lens technology has continued to make significant improvements. Do not let your age, prescription, or any previous experiences keep you from giving them another try.

The most common reason for discontinuing contact lenses is due to discomfort, especially at the end of the day. Other common reasons are poor distance vision, or the inability to see both near and far for those over 40 years of age. With the latest contact lens technology, almost all end-of-day discomfort can be eliminated as can the difficulty achieving acceptable vision at all distances.

Early generation soft lenses were thick and known to become dry by the end of the day. Soft lenses today are much thinner, lighter, and more comfortable than the contacts 10 years, 5 years, and even 1-2 years ago.

Wearing contact lenses over a period of days or even weeks causes them to absorb natural oils, mucus, and proteins from our tear film. When these substances accumulate, they can cause contact lenses to dry out faster, resulting in irritation. Today there are many different materials such as silicone hydrogels, water gradient lenses, and other innovations that are designed to reduce drying and enhance the overall comfort.

Disposable Contacts

Are you still having issues with weekly or monthly contacts? Try switching to daily disposable soft contacts! Daily disposables are worn for just one day and then thrown away. Using new, fresh lenses each day avoids the potential problem of debris build-up, which is often the cause of discomfort and blurred vision. In fact, daily disposable lenses may help relieve dry eyes for some users.

Commonly, many people do not close their eyelids completely while blinking, exposing their eyes to air which leads to dehydration. When fitted correctly with the appropriate material, contacts can help seal in moisture to help avoid this issue. The new water gradient design lines both sides of the contact lenses with a thin film of water that keeps the eye moist. The comfort is truly remarkable allowing our doctors to use this lens type for not only vision correction, but for the potential treatment of dry eye as well.

What if I need glasses to see up close while wearing contacts?

Adults over the age of 40 typically have three options when it comes to wearing contact lenses for clear vision. One option is to wear contact lenses for distance vision and then use reading glasses in addition to contact lenses to achieve an acceptable near vision. Second, multifocal contact lenses are designed to allow you to see at both near and far distances and if needed can include an astigmatism correction. Monovision, on the other hand, is the third option which uses a fitting technique fitting one eye with a lens for optimal close-up vision, while the other eye is fitted with a lens for optimal distance vision.

More Information

Need help deciding which option is best for you, or want to schedule a fitting appointment? Give our Lifetime Vision team a call today at 701-746-6745!

Eye Allergies, Or…?

Hey, allergy season. Welcome back to the time of year when everyone blames almost every distress on allergies! Let us help set the record straight though, since certain symptoms are easily assumed as a seasonal allergic reaction when they can actually be a result of something worth looking into further.

Eye Allergies

But okay, we’ll give eye allergies a little bit of attention since they can be the reason for red, itchy, swollen, sensitive, burning, and overall irritated eyes. First and foremost, don’t forget, it’s not just the pollen. There are several things you can be allergic to from trees to animals to new perfumes, even new contact lenses, believe it or not.

The reason behind the reactions you experience is the release of histamines. Histamines are a chemical that causes all the swelling, tears, et cetera, in an attempt to release allergens and help defend your eyes.

While antihistamine pills and eye drops help calm allergic reactions, it’s suggested that over-the-counters aren’t used for more than a couple of days. Ask us about prescribed eye drops that can be used on a more fluid schedule and can healthily harmonize with any existing eye issues such as glaucoma.

Now that we’ve covered eye allergies, let’s talk about other possible culprits.

Eye Allergies or Eye Infections?

girl with irritated dry red eye or allergy female

The reactions might seem as similar as identical twins in the beginning. But the causes are completely unrelated. Eye allergies are caused by allergens and eye infections are caused by substances like bacteria, parasites, and viruses. If they are not appropriately addressed, symptoms can mutate from a mild itch to more intense pain, light sensitivity and thick, slimy discharge.

Another important thing to know about infections vs allergies: infections can spread to others and allergies cannot. Proper hygiene and following ODs guidance are crucial to healing your own eyes and protecting the eyes of others.

Eye Allergies or Dry Eye?

One oddity of dry eye syndrome is that it can lead to watery eyes. This reflex tearing helps to confuse dry eye syndrome and eye allergies. There are so many varied factors that can lead to dry eye. Factors that can develop at any time. One way to help differentiate the two is maintaining awareness of other symptoms that are more prone to dry eye, such as:

  • Heavy eyelids
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye pain that feels different from allergic irritation

Eye Allergies or Adverse Medicinal Reactions?

Some medications can cause severe eye problems, but the puzzling part is they often don’t kick in until after years of use. This is one of the several reasons why it is important to discuss all side effects with your doctors and to share your use of all medications with your trusted optometrist.

Medications that can lead to eye issues fall in every arena. The most common negative results are dry eye, light sensitivity, and in more serious cases, optic nerve damage and loss of visual acuity. If these reactions begin to take place during the months that are often considered “allergy season”, it may be easy to relate them with allergy responses.

Eye allergies usually don’t come on their own. They’re often accompanied by sneezing, a scratchy throat, and a stuffy nose. The best way to confirm the cause? A checkup! Request an appointment on our website with details of what eye irritations you’re looking to calm. Our team at Lifetime Vision is here to help!

When the Whites of Your Eyes Just… Aren’t Quite White

White eyes have just about the same cosmetic priority as white teeth or unblemished skin. In fact, several surveys reveal that about 30% of people initially notice eyes when they first meet someone. While you can be a generally healthy human with stained teeth and imperfect skin, your eyes can reveal a lot about you… including your health.

First, allow us to introduce you to the sclera. The sclera is simply the medical term for “the white of the eye”. And it comes with high importance.

The sclera is four coats of protection that wrap around most of the eyeball, from the front of the beautiful colored part of the eye- the iris, to the back with sensitive optic nerves. This eye armor is no more than one millimeter thick, which amounts to the thickness of about 10 sheets of paper, layered on top of one another!

The layers of protective armor that give your eye its white color and the sclera its overall strength include randomly patterned collagen fibers and tissues called the episclera, the stroma, the lamina fusca, and the endothelium.

Typically, the entire sclera, not just one layer, changes color or accumulates spots.

Here are 4 hues to keep a lookout for along with a few reasons why:

  1. Yellow: A yellow tone brings along with it a couple of main suspicions, jaundice and “surfer’s eye”.A buildup of red blood cells that are normally filtered out by the liver can have several different causes but can trigger jaundice which often includes a yellowing of the eyes and skin. Surfer’s eye should really be given the nickname of “Outdoor A Lot Eye” as it is a sign of untreated UV damage from the sun combined with high winds or areas filled with dust.
  2. Blue: A tint of blue/gray might not be easy to detect by looking in a mirror, and often these tints are unavoidable because of long-term use of important medications.Tints of blue are still important to observe with help from your OD to consider or dismiss certain health conditions like genetic bone disease or iron deficiency.
  3. Red: Chances are we’ve all experienced eyes with a shade of red, whether it was thanks to allergies or exhaustion or any other typical culprit.
    However, it is still important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible since a red eye can also signal an infection or a broken blood vessel, especially if accompanied by discharge, pain, or blurred vision.
  4. Closeup of an eye of a black manBrown: Brown spots are on both ends of the spectrum. They range from completely harmless to life-threatening. High levels of melanin, the natural skin pigment which makes skin, hair, and the iris of your eyes a darker color can curate spots outside of the iris and within the sclera which are nothing to worry about.
    However, if a dark spot that resembles a freckle that changes over time develops during or after your 30’s, we suggest you make an appointment. These more serious brown spots are not at all melanin-related and can become cancerous if left untreated.

So, when the whites of your eyes just… aren’t quite white, give us a call at 701-746-6745! Keep note of what is accompanying your sclera color change and alert us about anything such as…

    • Blurred vision
    • Discharge
    • Pain
    • Light sensitivity
    • Swelling or bulging

…and our team at Lifetime Vision will handle the process to lead your eyes—and your entire self—back to health.

3 Signs That Your Scratched Cornea is Infected

woman at laptop eye painAll it takes is a little sand in your eye or too many hours wearing your contact lenses and you could end up with a scratched cornea. Although that might sound dreadful, it usually doesn’t even cause any noticeable symptoms unless it gets infected. At that point, you’ll definitely know something is up and will likely need to seek prompt care to get your eye to heal up right. Thankfully, our team at Lifetime Vision Center is here to help. Just let us know you need emergency eye care in Grand Forks, North Dakota, upon noticing any of the following symptoms.

Pain and Swelling

If a corneal abrasion causes symptoms, it often feels like a piece of debris is stuck in your eye. When the sensation goes beyond minor discomfort to actual pain, the scratch might be getting infected. Swelling often occurs as the pain worsens, although inflammation can arise if you rub your eye trying to get the suspected debris out.

Difficulty Seeing Clearly

With an infected abrasion right on your cornea, you’ll undoubtedly have a hard time seeing clearly. Your vision may look blurry after infection sets in — even if you normally have 20/20 vision. When your eyes start tearing up, the blurriness will get worse, leaving you unable to complete your normal daily activities.

Light Sensitivity

Light sensitivity often follows the pain and swelling, causing you to clamp your eye shut as bright lights shine your way. You might even find it impossible to leave the dark room without your eye tearing up and weeping uncontrollably. At that point, not even sunglasses will help. Your eye doctor may have you wear an eye patch to shield your eye from light until the antibiotics heal the infection.

If you do notice that you have something in your eye, you can potentially avoid getting a corneal abrasion by coming into see your emergency eye doctor right away. Otherwise, you just need to act fast if you experience any of the above symptoms. Either way, you can schedule your visit by giving us call at 701-746-6745. Upon receiving your call, we’ll help you find a convenient time to come in to our Grand Forks vision center and get the care you need.

Plastic Glasses or Wire Frames? What to Know, How to Choose

eyeglasses on eyechartPlastic eye glasses and wire frame eye glasses are both very different from one another. If you’re trying to decide between these two different types of eye glasses, it helps to have some basic information about each. Knowing the difference between plastic and wire frames can help. Here’s what you need to know about choosing eye glasses in Grand Forks, ND.

Plastic Frames, Pros and Cons

Plastic frames are colorful and vibrant – and often very noticeable. If you’re looking for a glasses frame that will express your personality and stand out against your face, then plastic frames may be right for you. However, there are some negative qualities to having plastic frames.

Namely, plastic frames can be heavier than wire frames. They’re also a little less flexible than wire frames, and they have nose pieces that cannot be adjusted. This means it’s important to find plastic frames that are well-fitted to your face, because you won’t be able to adjust the nose pieces grip your face properly.

Wire Frames, Pros and Cons

Wire frames are the classic eyeglass frames. They’re a tried and true product that are often seen as sophisticated and attractive at the same time. Since they’re lighter-weight than plastic frames, they can also be perceived as being more comfortable. However, there are some negative qualities to wire glasses frames.

They’re far less noticeable, so if you’re looking for a glasses frame that will express your individuality, you might be happier with plastic glasses. In addition, wire frames are easy to bend, which means that they can be easily broken if you are hard on your glasses.

Need to Choose the Right Eye Glasses? Call Today

The best way to choose the right eye glasses – either plastic or wire frames – is to try them on at the eye doctor office. Your eye doctor in Grand Forks, ND can help you decide which glasses look best on your face. In addition, your eye doctor can help you choose a pair that fits you properly. For more information about choosing the best eye glasses for your face, call us today to make an appointment.

What Causes an Astigmatism?

senior woman eye exam optometristAstigmatism affects the curve of the eye, specifically the lens. When one curve is round and the other is oval-shaped, you may start to experience blurred vision regardless of how near or far you are. This is a common condition, one that’s pretty easily treated though. If you’re wondering what the causes are, we’ll look at how it typically occurs and what you can do if you have one.

Slight Imperfections and Causes

Many people are born with astigmatisms, and it’s not always a cause for concern. A slight mismatch between the curves of your eye may not require any medical care at all. For some people, astigmatism is the result of surgery, disease, or injury to the eye. Squinting of any kind, whether it’s from sitting near a TV or reading in poor light, will not cause this disorder. It’s also possible that you can actually develop astigmatism from pressing too hard on your eyes frequently.

Can Astigmatism Occur with Vision Problems?

Yes. You might also experience either near- or farsightedness if you have astigmatism. With nearsightedness, your cornea is curved too much, while with farsightedness, your cornea is curved too little. If you have poor night vision, eyestrain, or headaches, these could be symptoms of astigmatism. Correcting this condition is usually done by wearing proper corrective eyewear.

Seeing a Doctor

It’s important to know that astigmatism can occur at any age. Misperceptions of different kinds of eye disorders can often cause people to dismiss astigmatism as a possibility. You should also know that there’s a wide degree of severity when it comes to this disorder. As long as you’re having regular eye checkups, your doctor will be able to tell you whether your astigmatism needs treatment. Usually, treatment comes in the form of custom eyewear but laser surgery may also be an option as well.

If you’re between eye checkups though and start noticing problems with your vision — enough that it’s causing interference in daily activities — it may be time to schedule an impromptu visit. This way, you can get timely updates about your eyes and determine the best course of treatment.

How to Protect Your Little One’s Eye Glasses

son mother trying on eyeglassesKids aren’t known for taking good care of expensive, breakable objects. If you’re a parent of a little one who needs corrective lenses, you might be nervous about how your child will treat their glasses. The following tips can help your child develop good habits with their glasses, while also preventing loss or breakage. Here’s what you need to know.

Develop Good Glasses Habits

Teach your child from the very beginning which habits can help them avoid breaking and losing their glasses.

  • Teach your child to wear their glasses every day, and not to take them off.
  • When your child does take off their glasses, teach them to put their glasses in a location where they’re easy to find.
  • Pick one spot in your child’s room where their glasses “live,” so your child will know where to put their glasses at the end of the day.

Use Special Tools to Prevent Loss and Breakage

There are many tools that can prevent your child from losing or breaking their glasses.

  • Strap. Straps help keep glasses on infants and toddlers who might be inclined to rip the glasses off their face.
  • Bluetooth tracker. These devices attach to the inside arm of the glasses and then allow you to find the glasses with a tracking app on your phone.
  • Sports glasses. If your child plays rough sports, consider buying them durable sports glasses.
  • Glasses case. Some children will diligently put their glasses away in a case which makes their glasses easy to locate. Buy your child a glasses case that is brightly colored, so it’s easier to spot in a messy room.

How to Find Your Child’s Glasses

Get used to noticing where your child puts down their glasses throughout the day. When your child can’t find their glasses, return to these places first. If your child is forgetful, be sure to buy glasses in a bright color that’s easy to see.

Does Your Little One Need Glasses? Contact Lifetime Vision

Buy the right glasses for your little one. The more comfortable and fitted they are to your child’s face, the more they’ll want to keep them on. To get started buying your child’s glasses, call Lifetime Vision today.

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

woman computer glasses laptopThe average American spends about 7 hours per day in front of a digital screen, according to the American Optometric Association. This impressive amount of screen time can lead to an uncomfortable condition known as computer vision syndrome. Here are five things you need to know about this modern-day health problem.

1. Computer vision syndrome is common.

Computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain, affects kids and adults. Up to 90 percent of computer users experience computer vision syndrome.

2. Symptoms of computer vision syndrome can be disruptive.

Classic signs of computer vision syndrome include headaches, eye fatigue, blurry vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain. These symptoms are usually temporary, but if left unaddressed they can get worse over time.

3. Causes of computer vision syndrome are usually preventable.

Risk factors for computer vision syndrome include:

  • Frequent scanning and refocusing while looking at a screen
  • Infrequent blinking, which can impair the healthy tear film over our eyes
  • Glare, poor ambient lighting, and high contrast on the screen itself
  • Poor posture and ergonomics

Research also suggests that chronic exposure to excessive amounts of blue light—which is emitted from digital devices like phones, tablets, and computers—may lead to long-term damage to eye tissues and increase the risk of conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts.

4. Uncorrected vision problems can worsen computer vision syndrome.

Refractive errors like astigmatism, farsightedness, nearsightedness, or presbyopia can make computer vision symptoms more pronounced and longer-lasting.

5. An eye doctor can help you avoid computer vision syndrome.

We know it’s not possible to completely unplug from our digital devices. That’s why our Grand Forks optometrists are happy to introduce our patients to solutions that can prevent computer vision syndrome. Here are our top recommendations:

  • Keep prescription eyewear up-to-date
  • Improve the ergonomics at your desk
  • Think 20/20/20: after 20 minutes of computer use, look away from your screen for 20 seconds at an object about 20 feet away
  • Ask us about our blue light blocking lenses and lens coatings!

Call the Lifetime Vision Center today at 701.746.6745 to schedule your next eye exam with a Grand Forks optometrist and stop struggling with computer vision syndrome!

Comprehensive Guide to Contact Lens Care

contact on finger toward caseIf you take care of your contact lenses, you’ll be able to wear them for as long as you need to. Here is a comprehensive guide to contact lens care to ensure that you get the most use out of them.

  • Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly whenever handling your contact lenses. Otherwise, bacteria and tiny particles like stray hairs or eyelashes can get transferred to the eye, where they can cause infection.
  • Avoid using your fingernails to insert or remove contact lenses. This will help to avoid unnecessary tears.
  • Find the cleaning solution that is recommended by your eye doctor and stick to it. Don’t experiment with different brands of contact lens cleaning solution.
  • Make a habit of cleaning your contact lenses when you remove them and before being stored in their case, as well as when you take them out and prepare to put them into your eyes.
  • Avoid napping or going to sleep at night with your contact lenses in unless you are wearing extended wear lenses.
  • Throw old lenses away and use brand new lenses according to the contact lens’ recommended wear time. Contact lens material tends to deteriorate over time and if you try to extend that time you can risk damage to your eyes.
  • If you notice a tear in your contact lens, throw it away immediately. Do not attempt to get another days’ use out of it.
  • Use special moisturizing drops made for contact lenses only. Do not attempt to use regular eye drops while wearing contacts.
  • Keep an extra contact lens storage case in your car, office desk, or purse at all times. This will ensure that you always have a safe place to store your lenses if you need to remove them for any reason.
  • Keep your contact lens cleaning solution bottle clean. Avoid touching it with your hands. Run the nozzle under hot water every now again to ensure that the tip is sterilized.
  • Always put the cap back on the cleaning solution bottle after use. This will help to avoid contamination.
  • Never let anyone else try on your contact lenses. If you have a friend or family member who is interested in trying out contact lenses, they can visit an eye doctor in Grand Forks and get a trial pair of their own.

If you have more questions about how to take care of your contact lenses, please contact us today. We’ll be happy to demonstrate how to use and care for contact lenses as well as answer questions that you may have.

What Causes Eye Twitching?

woman eye twitchingAlmost everyone has experienced eye twitching at least once. Eye twitching can be mildly annoying, distracting, and embarrassing. But every now and again, eye twitching can be a real problem, especially if it becomes chronic or happens at inopportune times, such as when driving, operating heavy machinery or trying to do small tasks like sewing. Interestingly, you’re actually more likely to have eye twitching when you’re trying to use your eyes for something important.

What is Eye Twitching?

Eye twitching is nothing more than a muscle contraction. There are very fine muscles in your eyelids. When they spasm—or the muscle contracts repeatedly—you experience that bothersome twitching sensation. Sometimes eye twitching is evident to others but often, you can feel the eye twitching, but others can’t see it unless they are very close. This is why, when you do experience eye twitching, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed; it’s probably not even something that anyone else is aware of when it’s happening to you.

What Causes Eye Twitching?

The most common cause of eye twitching is eye strain. When the eyes become tired or “overworked,” you’re more likely to get an eye twitch. People who do lots of close work, like writers, sewers, knitters, and graphic artists are more likely to get eye twitching if they habitually strain their eyes. Another common cause of eye twitching is excess caffeine. Caffeine, in fact, may cause twitching in other areas of the body when too much is ingested. Even alcohol consumption in excess can lead to temporary eye twitching.

Treatment For Eye Twitching

Eye twitching is usually a completely benign condition that goes away on its own. No treatment is generally needed for eye twitching unless it becomes problematic. If you have chronic eye twitching, it’s probably time to reevaluate your lifestyle. Are you working with adequate lighting? Is your computer screen too close to your eyes? Are you taking too much caffeine or alcohol? For those who don’t drink coffee, remember that tea and chocolate also have caffeine.

Those with dry eye syndrome may have more serious issues with eye twitching. If this describes your situation, you should consult with your Grand Forks eye doctor for treatment advice.