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Protect Your Eyes This Spring by Adopting These 5 Habits

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Spring is in the air! The warm weather, blossoming flowers and smell of freshly cut grass is a welcome relief for anyone who’s ready to put winter behind them. Walks in the park. Barbecues. Playgrounds full of children.

Despite all the spring excitement, it’s important to know that the change in weather can affect your eyes in more ways than one — from prolonged UV exposure and a heightened risk of eye injuries to dry eyes and allergies.

Here are 5 practical ways to protect your eyes this season:

1. Wear Sunglasses with 100% UV Protection

UV protection isn’t only essential for your skin, but also for your eyes.

Prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun’s strong UVA and UVB rays can cause ‘eye sunburn’ (photokeratitis), and UV exposure over months or years can put you at risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases in the future.

Which is why sunglasses are more than just a fashion accessory. When shopping for sunglasses, look for the label that says ‘100% UV protection.’ This way, you can enjoy the sun without a second thought for your eyes.

And if you believe sunglasses are only meant for sunny days, think again. The sun’s UV rays are so powerful that they penetrate through the clouds and reflect off of water, snow, ice, concrete and many other surfaces.

So before you head out the door, be sure to grab a pair of shades. For even greater protection, also wear a cap or wide-brimmed hat.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking water — especially on a hot day— is important not only for your overall health, but the health of your eyes. If your body becomes dehydrated your eyes will too, which can lead to symptoms of dry eye and other complications.

Many doctors recommend drinking six 8-ounce glasses of water each day, and more if you’re playing sports or spending lots of time in the sun. So keep a bottle of water close by and drink, drink, drink!

3. Hydrate Your Eyes

Sometimes, drinking water isn’t enough to keep dry eye symptoms at bay.

If your eyes are dry, irritated, itchy or bloodshot, you may have dry eye syndrome. Dry air and wind, air-conditioning and heating systems, certain medications and medical conditions can all cause dry eyes.

Call Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque to schedule a dry eye assessment and learn about your treatment options.

4. Wear Protective Eyewear

The beautiful spring weather calls for outdoor sports, bonfires, barbeques — and in some places, fireworks. Although these activities may be fun, they also pose a risk to your eye health and vision.

To protect your eyes from injury and exposure to extreme heat and smoke, make sure to wear protective eyewear like sports goggles or specialized glasses with polycarbonate lenses.

Most eye injuries can be prevented with the right kind of eye protection.

5. Seek Allergy Relief

Does the mere thought of springtime make your eyes tear and your nose run? You’re not alone. Seasonal allergies are common, and can be frustrating, especially when you’ve been looking forward to spending more time outdoors.

If you suffer from eye allergies, even a morning jog around the block can have you rubbing your eyes for the rest of the day.

Fortunately, there are ways to effectively treat eye allergies and make irritated, itchy eyes a thing of the past.

Contact Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque to learn about the different dry eye and allergy treatments we offer, or to choose eyewear that protects your eyes from sun exposure and injury. We’re here to help you protect your eyes this spring and always.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Dry Eye syndrome?

A: Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic condition that occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or there is insufficient oil in your tears.

Some of the most common causes of DES include:

  • Environmental factors – living in a dry, dusty or windy climate
  • Hormonal changes – especially during pregnancy and menopause
  • Certain medications – antihistamines, blood pressure medications and antidepressants, among others
  • Eyelid conditions – like meibomian gland dysfunction and blepharitis
  • Post-LASIK surgery

Symptoms can be mild or severe and cause your eyes to feel dry, sore, itchy, and watery. Treatment for DES varies, depending on the underlying cause, but can range anywhere from medicated eye drops and ointments to in-office procedures.

Q: How are eye allergies treated?

A: The most effective way to treat your eye allergies is to first find out what’s causing them.

Eye allergies can be triggered by:

  • Airborne substances found in nature such as pollen from flowers, grass and trees
  • Indoor allergens such as pet dander, dust and mold
  • Irritants such as cosmetics, chemicals, cigarette smoke and perfume

To alleviate your symptoms, your eye doctor may recommend OTC lubricating eye drops, medicated eye drops that replace the oil in your tears, or eye drops (or oral medications) that contain an antihistamine.

If these eye drops don’t provide enough relief, your eye doctor can discuss a range of in-office treatments or prescribe a stronger medication to provide long-lasting relief for your allergic eyes.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


What to Wear to Protect Your Eyes

Your eyes are among the most important organs in the body when it comes to discovering and interacting with the world around you. Unfortunately, they are also among the most exposed, and vulnerable to damage. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that proper protective gear is worn in places and situations where you might accidentally sustain an eye injury.

Whether it’s participating in sports, working with chemicals while cleaning or in a lab, or working on do-it-yourself projects around the home, it’s important to know what counts as proper protection, and what doesn’t.

Fortunately, our eye doctors at are here to explain.

Do Normal Prescription Glasses Count As Safety Equipment?

In short, no. Prescription glasses are built with materials that are primarily useful in promoting wearer comfort and helping you see better and more clearly.

The kinds of plastics and metals used in the frames are built for comfort, but may not hold up against flying shards of metal and wood.

Likewise, lens materials in prescription eyeglasses are chosen for their ability to be easily shaped and molded to give you optimum vision while minimizing aberrations. This ability to be easily molded does not lend itself well to also being impact-resistant.

Safety equipment gear for the eyes is also built with an extra guard around the sides to protect from flying debris and chemicals from all-around. This extra guard is not present in the vast majority of prescription eyeglasses.

So what IS considered proper safety equipment for protecting your eyes?

Personal Protective Equipment For Protecting Your Eyes

In general, there are three types of accepted safety equipment depending on your particular needs and preferences:

Safety Glasses

are made with shatter-resistant lenses, which are manufactured from materials like propionate plastic or polycarbonate. They also have side shields that help from debris and dust that may enter from the sides of, rather than in front of, the face.

What are safety glasses good for? These glasses are designed to be shatter-resistant and protect the eye from large, physical objects such as wood chips or metal or glass shards that could impact the eye, causing serious injury. Some types of safety glasses also offer laser light filtration, preventing reflections from the laser entering the eye, causing painful retinal burns.

What are safety glasses NOT good for? Safety glasses are not meant for protection from liquids or vapors.

Safety glasses can be purchased with or without prescription lenses and can also be ordered with bifocals.

Safety Goggles

These are another common type of personal protective equipment. They may be vented or non-vented.

Non-vented goggles are used as protection from mists, vapors, fumes, or other airborne hazards that require the eyes to be completely covered.

Vented goggles are meant to protect the eyes from liquid chemicals that pose no danger from vapor or mist. These also have a series of buttons embedded into the plastic that house something called a “baffle plate,” which allows air to pass through, but acts as a blockage so that liquid can’t get in.

Be aware that there are many types of goggles on the market, and some are not meant for certain kinds of work. Common, hardware-store goggles, for example, often have holes drilled into the plastic, which can let vapors and liquids into the mask, making them unfit for laboratory work.

Face Shields

These are actually not meant to be worn as the sole line of protection for your eyes. Rather, they are supplemental protection for the entire face, and goggles worn underneath the face shield block any vapor or liquid which may make it past.

Still not sure what kind of eye protection you need? Come visit our eye care practice to find out more!

At Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 505-806-1432 or book an appointment online to see one of our Albuquerque eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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World Keratoconus Day + Keratoconus Treatment Options

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Q&A

Do Normal Prescription Glasses Count As Safety Equipment?

In short, no. Prescription glasses are built with materials that are primarily useful in promoting wearer comfort and helping you see better and more clearly. Safety glasses can be purchased with or without prescription lenses and can also be ordered with bifocals. Safety goggles may be vented or non-vented.

What are Non-vented goggles ?

Non-vented goggles are used as protection from mists, vapors, fumes, or other airborne hazards that require the eyes to be completely covered.

How Can I Find a Keratoconus Specialist?

If you’ve just been diagnosed with keratoconus or have a family history, you’ll want to find the best keratoconus specialist near you for your ongoing treatment.

Keratoconus Develops Rapidly

One of the differences between keratoconus and other eye diseases is how quickly it can progress. With an eye disease that changes often, it is important to find an eye doctor you feel comfortable with. Keratoconus requires an ongoing relationship with frequent appointments for best management.

An optometrist that specializes in diagnosing keratoconus and the treatment of keratoconus will often have special equipment allowing them to recognize keratoconus sooner than other optometry clinics.

Sometimes Develops in Families

While it is not known exactly what causes keratoconus, one factor is that it can sometimes be hereditary. If your family has a history of keratoconus, it is recommended to find an eye doctor near you that specializes in keratoconus for early detection. Keratoconus can start developing during the teenage years.

Treating Keratoconus

Treatment options for keratoconus may include eyeglasses or contact lenses, custom scleral contact lenses or custom rigid gas permeable lenses, Intacs, corneal collagen cross linking, and eye surgery or a cornea transplant.

In the early stages, patients are often fitted for glasses or contact lenses. The prescription may change often as the disease progresses.

Custom scleral contact lenses are often prescribed as they can be more comfortable for patients with keratoconus as they vault over the cornea of the eye. Patients with keratoconus have a cone-shaped cornea which may make it difficult to wear soft contact lenses. It can be helpful if the optometrist managing your keratoconus is also able to fit you for custom scleral contact lenses. Many patients that suffer from corneal eye diseases will find custom scleral contact lenses a good option.

If Intacs, corneal crosslinking, and/or cornea surgery or corneal transplants is recommended, your eye doctor will refer you to an ophthalmologist who specializes in the surgical treatment of keratoconus. Together, both eye doctors will develop an individualized treatment plan before and after the surgery and will co-manage the treatment of your keratoconus.

Keratoconus Specialists Stay Informed

Having a cornea eye specialist managing your keratoconus means they stay informed of the latest treatments and best practices for managing keratoconus.

When looking for a keratoconus specialist to treat your eye disease, find an eye doctor near you that:

  • You feel comfortable with,
  • Has the necessary equipment for early detection of keratoconus,
  • Can fit you with custom scleral contact lenses,
  • Works with an ophthalmologist specializing in keratoconus surgical options if your corneal disease progresses and requires surgery,
  • Regularly works with other keratoconus patients and specializes in the treatment of keratoconus.

Albuquerque Optometrists that Specialize in Keratoconus

The optometrists at Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque are specialists in treating keratoconus. If you or your family has a keratoconus diagnosis or you’d like to find out, book an appointment at our Albuquerque clinic. We’ll get started with an eye exam to see where we can improve vision and increase the comfort of your eyes.

How To Prevent “Mask Fog” on Your Glasses

If you wear glasses and a face mask, you’ve probably struggled with “mask fog.”  Your lenses get all misty, requiring you to wipe your eyewear throughout the day. Below are a few strategies to help you prevent your eyeglasses from fogging up when wearing a mask.

But First, Why Do Glasses Fog Up? 

Quite simply, condensation forms whenever moist warm air hits a cool surface. Your specs fog up when the mask directs your warm breath upward instead of in front of you — which is great for preventing virus transmission but bad for anyone with less-than-stellar eyesight.

Is Your Mask Well Fitted? 

The mask should fit securely over your nose. Ideally, you’ll want to wear a mask with a nose bridge or one that can be shaped or molded to your face. When the mask fits properly, hopefully most of your breath will go through it, not out the top or sides.

Use Your Glasses To Seal the Top of Your Mask

This method works best with large, thick eyewear frames. By pulling your mask up higher on your nose and placing the lower part of your eyeglasses on the mask, you can get a snug fit that blocks your warm breath from escaping upward toward your eyewear.

Tape Your Mask to Your Face

You can always use tape to secure your mask across the bridge of your nose and the top of your cheeks. Use easy-to-remove tape, including adhesive, medical, or athletic. Just be  sure to stay away from duct tape. 

Soap and Water Help Prevent Fogging

This trick is one that healthcare professionals regularly turn to. All you need for this hack is soapy water (dish soap works best) and a microfiber cloth. Stay away from soaps with lotions in them as they can leave a thick residue, making it even harder to see.

Simply rub both sides of your lenses with a drop of soap, then buff the lenses with a soft microfiber cloth. This effective trick helps prevent your lenses from fogging up as a transparent, thin film of soap acts as a barrier. 

Anti-Fog Wipes and Sprays 

Another option is to purchase wipes and sprays designed to tackle foggy lenses. Read the fine print, as certain anti-fog solutions may not work as well, or may even damage lenses with  coatings that minimize glare and fingerprint smudges, for example. 

 

To learn more about ways to keep your glasses from fogging while wearing a mask, contact Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque today.

 

6 Signs You May Need Glasses

Many people don’t realize they have a vision problem. Perhaps they’ve gone years without glasses and haven’t noticed the gradual change in their vision. Or they’ve noticed a change, but put off a visit to an eye doctor. Regardless of whether you’re experiencing problems, make an appointment with our optometric team to maintain your eye health. 

 

There are many clues that your eyesight needs correcting, such as struggling to read up close, or having trouble seeing street signs, or barely deciphering faces while watching a film. If you’re still not sure you need glasses, consider these 6 questions. 

 

Are You Frequently Squinting and/or Experiencing Headaches? 

 

Unless it’s unusually bright, there’s no reason to be squinting if your vision is clear. Although squinting may briefly enhance your eyes’ ability to focus, if done for too long it can tax your  eyes and surrounding muscles, which can result in frequent headaches. 

 

If you have to squint while working on your computer or using digital devices, you may be experiencing not only headaches but also digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome. The cure is often a pair of computer glasses, or blue light glasses, which are designed to block out or filter blue light. This can reduce headaches and squinting when using your digital devices. 

 

Are You Struggling to See Up Close? 

 

If the texts on your phone or restaurant menu look blurry, you may be farsighted. While reading glasses are a great option for near tasks, you’ll need to take them off for other activities.  Consider getting progressive lenses, which change gradually from point to point on the lens, providing the exact lens power needed for seeing objects clearly at any distance. Progressive lenses help you comfortably see near, far, and in-between all day long. 

 

Do You Struggle to See Things at a Distance?  

 

If you’re having difficulty seeing objects at a distance, you may be myopic (nearsighted).  Myopia is the most common cause of impaired vision in children and young adults. Consider a pair of glasses with high-index lenses, which are thinner and lighter than other lenses, along with anti-reflective coating. 

 

Do You Have Blurred Vision at Night?  

 

Are objects or signs more blurry at night? Do you experience halos or glare around lights while driving at night? These may be symptoms of a vision issue, such as myopia — though they can also be attributed to more serious ocular conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma. To know the cause, get your eyes properly evaluated by our optometric team. 

 

If determined that it is indeed myopia, consider getting prescription glasses with anti-glare or anti-reflective (AR) coating, as they allow more light in and also cut down on glare. This can dramatically improve night vision and help you see more clearly when driving at night. 

 

Are You Experiencing Double Vision?

 

If you’ve been experiencing double vision, contact our optometric team, who will get to the root of the problem and provide you with a diagnosis. Double vision may be due to crossed eyes (strabismus), or a corneal irregularity, such as keratoconus, or another medical condition.

 

If you are diagnosed with any of these, you’ll likely need a pair of glasses with a prism correction that helps correct alignment issues. Special lenses prevent you from seeing double by combining two images into a single one.

 

However, note that if you experience sudden double vision, it may be a medical emergency that should be checked by an eye doctor immediately.

 

Are You Losing Your Place or Using Your Finger When Reading? 

 

If you’re frequently losing your spot or skipping lines when reading, you may have a vision problem. This could be due to strabismus, lazy eye, or astigmatism. 

 

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

 

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is essential to have a highly qualified optometrist examine your eyes to assess your vision and check for any eye diseases — and to do so as soon as possible. This is the only way to determine whether you need glasses or if something else is causing the problem. 

 

Even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms, it’s important to routinely get your eyes checked. Many eye diseases can be effectively treated before you notice major problems, so regular eye exams are important to maintain eye health. Contact Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque to make an appointment with our optometric team. The sooner you get your vision checked, the faster you’ll be able to see clearly and enjoy a higher quality of life.