Category Archives: Healthy eyes

Laser eye surgery

Laser Eye Surgery – Things to know

Laser eye surgery is a medical procedure that involves the use of laser to reshape the surface of the eye. This is done to improve or correct myopia (short-sightedness), hypermetropia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism (uneven curvature of the eye’s surface). The first laser sculpting procedures were performed over 30 years ago.

The cornea is the transparent tissue that covers the front of the eye. It helps to control focusing. During laser eye surgery, a computer-controlled excimer laser is used to remove microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea. The aim is to restore normal eyesight, without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

In one of the operations using the excimer laser, the thin outer layer of the cornea (called the corneal epithelium) is removed and the underlying layers are reshaped. This procedure is known as photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).

In a more commonly used procedure, a thin flap of corneal tissue is created with another laser known as a femtosecond laser. The most widely used one is known as the IntraLase. This flap is then lifted out of the way. The excimer laser reshapes the underlying tissue and the flap is replaced to cover the newly recontoured surface. Alternatively, an instrument with a very fine blade called a microkeratome can be used to make the flap before the excimer laser reshapes the cornea. This procedure is known as laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK).

What is myopia?

Myopia, commonly called shortsightedness, is a condition in which light is focussed in front of the retina, resulting in blurred vision. Shortsighted people can often see reasonably clearly at short distances, but will not be able to see distant objects clearly. There is currently no cure for myopia, but spectacles, contact lenses and refractive surgery can all provide good distance vision for people with myopia.

What is Hypermetropia?

When the distance between the cornea at the front of the eye, to the retina at the back of the eye, is shorter than normal, it is called Hypermetropia.

This shortness may make it difficult for the lens of the eye to focus on close-up objects.

Reasons why laser eye surgery may be considered

The reasons why a person may consider laser corneal sculpting include:

  • They can’t wear contact lenses and would prefer not to wear glasses for cosmetic reasons.
  • They want to engage in work or leisure activities that cannot be done while wearing glasses or contact lenses.
  • They don’t want the inconvenience of contact lens wear and the care required.

Medical issues to consider

People thinking about laser eye surgery should consider that:

  • You should be at least 20 years old before you consider laser eye surgery.
  • The refractive error (prescription in glasses) should be stable.
  • People with diabetes, uncontrolled rheumatic conditions, diseases of the immune system or a family history of keratoconus should be very careful in proceeding with laser eye surgery. An experienced refractive surgeon will be able to advise you appropriately.
  • Laser eye surgery carries extra risks if performed on people with abnormally shaped or very thin corneas. These are easily assessed during preoperative testing in a refractive surgeon’s office.

What happens during the procedure?

A excimer laser is a ‘cool’ type of laser. It doesn’t burn tissue, but vaporises small amounts of the cornea every time a beam of the laser is pulsed onto the surface of the eye. The diameter of the laser beam and the number of pulses that are directed onto the cornea are carefully controlled using computer technology, so that the surface of the cornea is reshaped.

The procedure is performed using local anaesthetic eye drops and takes between five and 10 minutes per eye. However, the time taken for the reshaping of the cornea with the excimer laser is usually less than a minute.

Long-term outlook for laser eye surgery

Some people who have laser eye surgery will still need to wear glasses or contact lenses to achieve optimum vision, although their natural eyesight should be much improved.

The long-term effects of laser corneal sculpting are believed to be minimal if the eyes are deemed to be well suited to the procedure.

Eye makeup

Throw out that old makeup!

Most people have no idea when their makeup was purchased.  So when should it be thrown away?  There are different expiry periods for different makeup.  Why should makeup be thrown away?

Unfortunately, it may also be a breeding ground for all sorts of creepy eye infections, like pinkeye and sties. Overall, makeup that contains water (liquid foundation, liquid eyeliner) is at a higher risk for going bad than powder makeup, because water provides bacteria with a friendly little home in which to thrive. Warm environments increase the risk for bacteria growth, too, so keep your makeup in a cool, dry place if possible.

There is no regulation for makeup expiration dates, so you’re on your own. Here are five reasons to suspect that your makeup has gone bad:

1. You’ve recently had an eye infection or been sick

We are not saying you should replace all your makeup at the first sign of the common cold, but if there’s a chance your makeup got all germy (example: your lipstick touched your cold sore), toss it.

2. It smells different

Aging lipstick can smell like stale oil. You know what your products should smell like — the second they start smelling different, throw them out.

3. The color has changed

If your foundation suddenly looks off on your skin, either you just got a tan or the product is going haywire on you. If there’s any inconsistency in color, get rid of it.

4. The texture has changed

Lip gloss that’s now gooey and clumpy? Foundation that’s separated? Goodbye.

5. It feels different on your skin

If that cream blush just doesn’t feel like whipped mousse on your cheeks anymore, it’s probably time to get a new one.

But don’t wait till your makeup has visibly curdled to switch it out. Here’s a handy makeup-tossing timeline for your perusal! Please note that these dates fall on the conservative end of the spectrum, so if the budget is tight, you can probably get away with holding on to that eyeshadow for an extra month or so.Mascara

After 2 months: Throw out your mascara.  Healthy eyes are prettier than thick eyelashes.

After 3 months: Exchange your liquid or gel eyeliners for new ones. Like mascara, the brush is constantly carrying bacteria from the eye back to the warm, wet bottle. Yuck!

After 6 months: People seem to disagree on when you should toss eyeshadow. Since it’s a powder, it should last forever (or at least for a year or two), but since it goes on right by your eye, it’s at higher risk of contamination. Same with cream eyeshadow: pass it forward more frequently than other cream products.Eyeshaddow

After 6-12 months: By now, you should have used up any liquid foundation, cream blush, facial serums, or face creams, but if not, it’s time to replace them anyway. Anything that you apply with your fingers is at higher risk for contamination than products that come in pump bottles, since your fingers can carry bacteria into the jar. You can keep pencil eyeliners for this long if you’re sharpening them regularly.

After 1-2 years: These are the lucky ones that never seem to go bad: powder foundation, powder blush, lipstick, lip gloss, nail polish. Just keep an eye on them for any change in color, scent, or consistency.

Always remember – when it comes to makeup, sharing is definitely not caring, so don’t even think of “handing down” your favorite shades to your little sister. You won’t live it down if a bout of pink eye can be blamed on you.

Eye strain

If this happens, see your Optometrist

If your sight is starting to fade and you realise that your eyes might not be as perfect as they once were, it might be time for an eye test. Check out our list of nine symptoms that should get you to call and make an eye appointment.

Ideally, one eye exam every year should help you to stay on top of your eye health, but some people might need to schedule more than one exam in a year. Vision can change quite a bit over the course of a year, especially for those over the age of 50, and it is important to know when you need to schedule an exam.

Here are nine things to remind you that you should book an eye exam:

  1. Your eyes are red, dry, itchy, or you are seeing spots, flashes of light, or floaters.
  2. You have diabetes or another health condition that affects your eyes. Also, if you have a family history of conditions like diabetes or glaucoma you may need exams more often, especially as you move into your 50s and beyond.
  3. You can’t remember when you last had an eye exam. If it’s been longer than a year, you’re overdue.
  4. You have difficulty driving at night and seeing street signs in the dark.
  5. You experience eye strain, headaches and/or blurred vision after spending an extended amount of time in front of a computer screen.
  6. You get motion sick, dizzy, or have trouble following a moving target.
  7. You hold books or the newspaper further away from your face and squint or close one eye to read them clearly.
  8. You notice any changes in your vision, especially after an incident of head trauma.
  9. You have dark spots in your vision.

Don’t wait until you experience any of these nine things before you schedule an eye exam. Keep in mind that an eye exam benefits more than just your eyes. Your eye doctor can detect a wide range of diseases like diabetes and macular degeneration just by looking at your eyes.

Book an appointment with Five Dock Eyecare.

Eye test for children

Keeping your eyes healthy – It’s worth it in the long run

Eye health is something that many of us take for granted and we all expect by the time we it our senior years, most of us will have some form of vision deterioration and will need to wear glasses.  But  there are number of things that we can all do to ensure that our eyes remain as close to perfect as possible.  Take a look at our “Five Dock Eyecare tips for healthy eyes” checklist:

Eat for your eye health

Our eyes need a few important nutrients to ensure that they function well and regenerate while we sleep.  Choose quality eye-healthy foods like citrus fruit, dark leafy greens, and whole grains. Try to incorporate foods that are rich in zinc such as beans, peas, peanuts, oysters, lean red meat, and poultry as the zinc will help eyes resist light damage. Oh, and if you’re are wondering about the wives’ tale that tells us carrots improve eyesight? It is actually true! The vitamin A in carrots is important for great vision. Some of the other nutrients that keep your eyes healthy include beta-carotene which are found in yellow or orange fruits and veggies, and lutein and zeaxanthin which come in leafy greens and colorful produce.

Wear your sunglasses

UV radiation will damage your eyes just like it does to your skin. This damage will eventually cause problems like cataracts, cornea burns, and even cancer of the eyelid and eyeball. Regardless if its sunny or cloudy – wear sunglasses or contacts that block 99% to 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays. Protective lenses don’t have to be expensive – see your friendly Five Dock Eyecare team to find the best shades for you. It’s always helpful to wear a hat as this will block more of the UV reflection. Snow, water, sand, and concrete all can reflect UV rays so always have those sunnies handy to protect your eye health.

 Take a 20-second break from your screen

Eye strain is a very real and counter-productive effect that comes looking at a screen for long periods of time.  Although it won’t hurt your eyes, it can make them feel tired and dry, and does nothing for productivity. More interesting is that we blink about half as often when we look at a screen. In order to minimise this problem and improve eye health, get into the habit of following the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Screen placement is also important.  Place your screen so it’s about 50cm away and slightly below eye level. Always ensure the light source is good and always use a screen filter.

Clean your contact lenses

Keep your eyes healthy by taking care of your contacts. Wash your hands every time before handling lenses and only use cleaners and drops approved by your optometrist. Clean, rinse, and dry the case each time you remove the lenses, and replace it every two to three months. You should never wear lenses when you’re swimming, using cleaning products like bleach or while you sleep. Try not to wear your contact lenses longer than recommended.

Know your family health history

A number of unrelated health conditions can affect your eyes. Conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes can reduce blood flow to the eyes. Immune system disorders in the lungs, thyroid glands, or elsewhere can inflame eyes, too. Other threats include multiple sclerosis, aneurysms, and cancer. Tell your optometrist about any current or past health issues, including family members with eye problems or serious illnesses.

Throw away your old eye makeup

Old makeup is a haven for bacteria!  Always throw out products after three months and try not to drop your products on the floor or leave them exposed on the bathroom bench. If you develop an eye infection, immediately get rid of all your eye makeup and see a doctor or your optometrist. Don’t ever be tempted to share cosmetics and don’t use store samples. Clean your face thoroughly before and after using makeup, and don’t apply cosmetics inside lash lines.

Get your eyes checked regularly

You should get your eyes checked regularly, even if you don’t wear glasses. Every two years is usually sufficient if you are aged between 18-60, or every year if you’re older, wear contact lenses, or have risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of eye disease.  Children should also have their eyes tested regularly to ensure that they can see and learn at optimum levels.

Eye test for children

Stop smoking

If you smoke, stop now – it is critical for your eye health. Smoking means a dramatic increase in incidence of macular degeneration as well as raising your risk of developing cataracts and dry eyes. It also weakens arteries in your body and the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. Smoking also raises your risk of a heart attack and is damaging to the retina which causes vision loss. The good news is that after you quit, your risk of eye disease is about the same as for non-smokers.  See your doctor to help start your quit campaign and see your optometrist to know if your eyes have any damage.

  Need to get your eyes tested? Book an appointment with Five Dock Eyecare!