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You Can Wear Dailies!

daily contact lenses in crestwoodToday’s latest technologies enable daily disposable contact lenses to be soft, comfortable, provide crystal clear vision, no blurring and glares, optimum oxygen breathability, and best of all they are disposable! No cleaning. No storage. No solution hassles. No mess!
Daily contacts or “dailies” are great for:

• People with an active lifestyle, who are on the go, busy, participate in sports, athletes, etc.

• People who don’t want to be bothered with cleaning, solutions, and care and maintenance of contact lenses. You never have to clean them! Forget all about the nightly cleaning routine or your cluttered counter of solution bottles. After a long day, simply throw them away and go to bed.

• People who want simple easy to remember schedules. Dailies provide the perfect easy-to-remember wear schedule. You’ll never need those calendar reminders about replacing your contacts. Simply remove them every night, and put in a fresh new pair every morning.

• If time is of the essence to you, and you love save time, Daily disposable contacts are the way to do. As well as eliminating daily cleaning time, you can carry spare pairs of daily disposable contacts with you, which will surely save you trips home.

• People with allergies. Daily disposables may actually help with eye allergies! Since there is less time for dirt or irritants to build up in the eye, daily contacts allow allergies a lower chance to flare up. Additionally, a fresh, smooth, clean, new lens surface every day is the gentlest option for irritated eyes.

• Great for children and teenagers! The lives of our kids are non-stop. There’s school, sports, after school activities, and social lives. This is one less thing to have to worry about forgetting. Lens care neglect can be detrimental to your child’s eye health. With dailies, you never have to remind them again to clean their contacts.

• People with continued discomfort with other contact lenses. We have found that the switch to dailies is usually our first step for these patients. That switch alone usually remedies the issue. There are also a variety of material combinations used in daily disposables, and a switch to a different type may fix the problem as well, depending on what the discomfort is.
Speak with your eye doctor today to see if you or your child are a candidate for contact lens wear, or if any of the new advances in contact lens technology could be beneficial for your visual needs!

Dry Eyes – Part 1 – Do I have Dry Eyes?

“Doctor, my eyes feel dry. They feel gritty, they burn, they get blurry. They’re irritated. Sometimes, they water.” Is this you or someone you know? These are not uncommon complaints heard in our office. These complaints are all part of Dry Eye Syndrome, but just because these symptoms are common, it doesn’t mean that we have to live with these issues. In fact, ignoring these symptoms can lead to serious eye disease.

Before we can understand Dry Eyes, we have to understand the role of normal tears. Normal tears have two main functions – they keep our corneal cells healthy and lubricated, and they form our primary optical surface so that we can see clearly and consistently. These tears come from glands located in the eyelids. Normal tears are different from Reflex tears. Reflex tears are the tears we get when our eyes become irritated, something gets in our eyes, or we cry for emotional reasons. These tears wash away the irritants, and this is why watery eyes may be the result of the irritation of dry eyes. They don’t stick to the eyes like normal tears do, so they don’t really solve the problem.

Why do we get dry eyes? Dry Eye sufferers have at least one, if not all four, of these problems:

  1. Tear film instability or hyperosmolarity.
  2. Inflammation
  3. Biofilm formation
  4. Obstruction of meibomian glands.

The Meibomian glands are found in our eyelids and secrete thin oil into the tear film which floats to the top of the tears and keeps them from evaporating. It is thought that meibomian gland dysfunction may be responsible for as much as 90% of dry eye problems. For this reason, doctors are starting to refer to Dry Eye Syndrome as Eyelid Inflammation, or Blepharitis. Sometimes it is called Meibomian Gland Disease or MGD. When our meibomian glands are not working properly, instead of secreting thin oil, they become plugged with a thicker paste-like substance, which can lead to the glands dying altogether.

Well then, what causes meibomian glands to malfunction? One reason has been linked to our modern diet which contains an especially high ratio of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids. Another reason goes to how we use our eyes today, specifically because of all the time we spend looking at computers, tablets, and smart phones. When we concentrate, whether using these devices or just reading, we don’t blink as much. Blinking causes meibomian glands to release some of their oil. Other causes include systemic conditions and inflammations such as arthritis, diabetes, rosacea and thyroid disease as well as medications we take such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and estrogens.

How do I know if I have dry eyes, eyelid disease, or how bad it is? If you are having any of the symptoms listed above: dryness, burning, grittiness, or other irritation, you should schedule an appointment with us or with your eye doctor. You should also schedule an appointment if you or someone else notices that your eyes or eyelids look red or have debris in your eyelashes. If you use any artificial tears, but find that you need to use them more than 2-3 times per day, this would also be a reason to schedule an appointment.

There are several tests that we use to determine how to treat your dry eye. These include:

  • A standardized questionnaire like the Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness (SPEED) survey or the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI)
  • Tear sampling to determine salt concentration
  • Tear sampling to determine the presence of inflammatory markers
  • Microscopic examination to look at the general appearance of the eyes and eyelids
  • Dyes to look for damaged and missing corneal and conjunctival cells
  • Tear film break-up time following a blink
  • Meibomian gland expression

EyeZen

eyezenRosen Optometry is excite to offer EyeZen eyeglasses. EyeZen are wonderful new blue blocking eyeglasses which address digital eye strain in two ways. EyeZen first filters out a lot of the harmful blue light which we are inundated with from our computer screens, tablets and cell phones. There is a lot more blue light coming from those devices compared to the other wavelengths. As well, there is much more blue light being emitted by the new light bulbs – the compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) then from our old incandescent bulbs.

The second way EyeZen relieves eyestrain is that the lens also has a subtle magnification at the bottom so your eyes don’t have to work so hard while reading. It is a single vision lens but acts a bit like a multifocal due to this nice enhancement. Patients say they feel much more comfortable and a lot less strain while using the EyeZen lenses as opposed to before they were wearing them.

Another great thing about EyeZen lenses compared to other blue blocking lenses is that Eyezen uses a clear blue blocking coating, but on most of the other brands you can see the blue blocking filter tint and color on the lens. EyeZen’s coating is completely invisible.

We are recommending these a good deal to young adults since they are using these digital devices a great deal, and as well to all those who work on and or use a computer four or more hours a day.

Even for patients who currently don’t need to wear glasses, if they are using any of these digital devices or computers for more than four hours a day, we still recommend EyeZen to relieve the eyestrain as well as protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the blue light emitted.

World Site Day Challenge

World-Sight-Day-2016-Event-ImageKaren and Steve Rosen, and their eye care staff believe in giving back to the community and want to thank you for your support of World Sight Day. The eye doctors and eyecare staff at Rosen Optometry, of South County St. Louis, participated in the World Sight Day Challenge on October 13th, 2016. Together we raised funds of $132, and Rosen Optometry matched it 100% for a total donation of $264.

Created as the annual day of education and awareness of blindness and vision impairment, 2016 marks their 10th year, and this global day saw its highest participation ever. Organized by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness through the Vision 2020 Global Initiative, World Sight Day is endorsed and made possible by Eye Health establishments all over the world, including Rosen Optometry and by Optometry Giving Sight.

The World Sight Day Challenge is a noteworthy fundraising effort facilitated by Optometry Giving Sight intended to raise money for educational training, and to provide eye care for persons who are blind or visually impaired from uncorrected vision, essentially needing an eye exam and glasses.

Two of the many ways your donations can make a difference:
• $50 will provide an educational kit to a student of optometry
• $100 can provide an eye exam and glasses to approximately 20 people

This year’s call to action “Stronger Together” was proven as thousands of eyecare professionals, students, companies and staff in the United States and all around the world raised necessary funds or made donations to give hope and provide sight to persons who are visually impaired or blind only because they don’t have the money to go to a qualified optometrist.

For the very first time, this year every school of optometry in North America participated in the World Sight Day Challenge, thus strengthening the already strong bond which exists with the schools of optometry in Africa, Asia and Latin America which are funded in part by Optometry Giving Sight, and which are currently providing 700 optometrists-to-be and optometric technicians, with their education.

Dry Eyes & Eyelid Disease

Relief is in Sight

“Doctor, my eyes feel dry. They feel gritty, they burn, they get blurry. They’re irritated. Sometimes, they water.” Is this you or someone you know? These are not uncommon complaints heard in our office. These complaints are all part of Dry Eye Syndrome, but just because these symptoms are common, it doesn’t mean that we have to live with the issues, explains Dr. Rosen. In fact, ignoring the symptoms can lead to serious eye disease. dry eye, St. Louis

Normal Tears and Reflex Tears

Before we can understand Dry Eyes, let’s review and understand normal tears. Normal tears have two main functions – they keep our corneal cells healthy and lubricated, and they form our primary optical surface so that we can see clearly and consistently. These tears come from glands located in the eyelids. Normal tears are different from Reflex tears. Reflex tears are the tears we get when our eyes become irritated, something gets in our eyes, or we cry for emotional reasons. These tears wash away the irritants, and this is why watery eyes may be the result of the irritation of dry eyes. They don’t stick to the eyes like normal tears do, so they don’t really solve the problem.

Why do we get dry eyes?

Our tears come from glands in the eyelids. One type of glands, called Meibomian glands, secrete thin oil into the tear film which floats to the top of the tears and keeps them from evaporating. It is thought that Meibomian gland dysfunction may be responsible for as much as 90% of dry eye problems. For this reason, some eye doctors refer to Dry Eye Syndrome as Eyelid Inflammation, Blepharitis, Meibomian Gland Disease, or MGD. When our Meibomian glands are not working properly, instead of secreting thin oil, they become plugged with a thicker paste-like substance, which can lead to the glands dying altogether. eyelid meibomian gland

Well then, what causes Meibomian glands to malfunction?

One reason may be our modern diet which contains an especially high ratio of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids. Another potential cause is how we use our eyes today: specifically, all the time we spend looking at computers, tablets, and smart phones. When we concentrate, whether using these devices or just reading, we don’t blink as much. Blinking causes Meibomian glands to release some of their oil. Other causes include systemic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and thyroid disease as well as medications we take such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and estrogens.

How do I know if I have dry eyes or eyelid disease; or how bad it is, if I do?

Appointment DryEyeIf you are having any of the symptoms mentioned above – dryness, burning, grittiness, or other irritation – you should schedule an appointment with us or with your eye doctor. You should also schedule an appointment if you or someone else notices that your eyes or eyelids look red or have debris in your eyelashes. If you use any artificial tears but find that you need to use them more than 2-3 times per day, this would also be a reason to contact us.

There are several tests that we use to determine how to treat your dry eye.

These include:

  • A standardized questionnaire like the Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness (SPEED) survey or the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI)
  • Tear sampling to determine salt concentration
  • Tear sampling to determine the presence of inflammatory markers
  • Microscopic examination to look at the general appearance of the eyes and eyelids
  • Dyes to look for damaged and missing corneal and conjunctival cells
  • Tear film break-up time following a blink
  • Meibomian gland expression
So, I have a dry eye problem. What should I do to make things better?

Good news! We specialize in Dry Eye and MGD and offer many treatment options that can be tailored to you and your problem.

Dry Eyes and Air Travel

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It is a common experience to have very dry eyes after long periods of time on airplanes. Everything about your surroundings while in transit, the temperature- and pressure-controlled cabin, the dry air being blown through the vents, and so on, all create an exceedingly dry environment that can easily take its toll on your eyes.

Fortunately, our eye care professionals here at Rosen Optometry are well aware of this issue, and have outlined a number of steps that you should be sure to take in order to reduce the chances of experiencing uncomfortable symptoms that often present themselves as part of what is often called “travelers’ dry eye.” Below are some tips to help you avoid dry eyes when traveling:

  • Dehydration can potentially make dry eye symptoms a lot worse. Ensuring that you are sufficiently hydrated at all times, by making sure to drink before, during and after your flight, can go a long way toward preventing dry eye symptoms. Also note that alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks such as tea or coffee can increase the chances of dehydration. Therefore, those who enjoy these types of beverages in-flight should be sure to drink extra fluids, such as water, to compensate.
  • Artificial tears are another important item of defense against dry eyes. We specifically recommend Oasis Tears or FreshKote artificial tears. Having these or another brand of artificial tears with you at all times during your trip will allow you to apply them as needed.
  • Sleeping in-flight can cause your eyes to dry out significantly. If you take a nap while during your flight, you should be sure to wear an eye mask. This will help minimize the amount of dry air that reaches your eyes while you sleep, reducing the chances of waking up to dry eyes.
  • Wearing contact lenses, even under normal conditions, can encourage dry eye symptoms. This becomes even more true in especially dry air conditions, such as those present in the cabin of an airplane. Those who wear contact lenses should consider switching to a pair of glasses during the flight to decrease risk.
  • The air conditioning vent above your seat is also a source of dry air that is blown directly onto your eyes. Turning off this vent can do a great deal to prevent dry eyes.

For more information about how to save yourself the discomfort of dry eyes on your next plane trip, come see us at Rosen Optometry, today!

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Red Eyes V. Dry Eyes: What You Need To Know

dry 20red 20itchy 20eyeRed eye and dry eye syndrome can look very similar, and are, therefore, quite easily confused. With both conditions, you may experience itchy, red and dry-feeling eyes. Dry eye syndrome can often be similar enough to simple red eye, that a person may think that their red, dry, itchy eyes are nothing more than something minor, such as allergies, and may go a long time with the severe discomfort that comes with dry eye syndrome. However, in the case of dry eyes, regardless of what measures are taken, the condition will not change significantly and an eye care professional should be consulted to discover the cause and bring relief to the dry eye sufferer. Fortunately, Dr. Steven Rosen, of Rosen Optometry in St. Louis, Missouri, is a leading expert in dry eye syndrome. Dr. Rosen has compiled some points of difference between red eyes and dry eye syndrome below, which help him differentiate between common red eye and dry, and diagnose the type of dry eye you have, if necessary, and treat it properly.

Red Eyes

Red eyes do not generally represent as large an issue as dry eye syndrome and, in general, you shouldn’t worry too much about them. Most of the time red eyes are caused by allergens, such as pollen, or irritants such as smoke or dust, in the atmosphere. These irritants cause small blood vessels throughout your eyes to become inflamed and enlarged, becoming much more visible and turning your eyes a reddish hue. This is where the term “red eye” comes from.

The vast majority of times, red eye will heal up and return to normal without any need to seek medical attention. A note of caution, however should be considered: The great number of conditions that can cause dry eyes makes it very hard to know exactly what the cause may be. Therefore, if your red eyes are accompanied by a high fever, headache and/or a great deal of eye pain, please go to the doctor immediately. Besides this cautionary note, however, red eyes are almost always minor and should not cause anxiety unless accompanied by these additional symptoms.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Doctors generally discuss two broad causes for dry eye syndrome. Either:

  • The eyes don’t make enough tears, and the eye cannot be comfortably hydrated

OR

  • The eye produces tears which are flawed. They often lack one or more essential parts normally included in tears to allow them to properly coat and hydrate the eye.

Dry Eye Treatment

The most common treatment is a type of specialty eye drops called “artificial tears.” These special eye drops combat the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye syndrome by imitating real tears as closely as possible. In order to do this in the best way possible, there are many different formulations of artificial tears. Each formulation addresses a different underlying cause of your dry eye. Dr. Rosen specifically recommends either Oasis Tears or FreshKote Restasis, as he often sees that these brands help his patients a great deal in combatting dry eye symptoms.

Dr. Rosen is also able to detect your risk for dry eye syndrome by measuring the salt content of your tears with a cutting-edge technology known as TearLab. For more information about dry eyes, come visit Rosen Optometry today.

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Why Do We Need Glasses?

JanBlogThe most well-known part of a comprehensive eye exam is the basic vision test. When you have a general vision test, one of the main conditions the eye care practitioner is checking for is a refractive error. A refractive error means there is an abnormality in the shape of the eye, changing the eye’s ability to focus light directly onto the retina.This causes blurred vision and can usually be corrected by wearing prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and possibly, alternate treatments such as vision therapy, ortho-k, LASIK or refractive surgery such as LASIK.

 

The term, “refractive error” refers to a problem with the process of refraction that is responsible for sight. Normally, light rays that enter your eye are refracted or bent through the cornea and the lens, and ultimately converge or are focused onto a single point on the retina. From the retina, messages are sent through the optic nerve to the brain which then interprets these signals into the image that we are seeing.

 

In order for this process to work effectively, the anatomy of the eye including the length of the eye and the curvature of the cornea and the lens must be just right to be able to focus the light onto the retina. When this is not the case, a refractive error will occur.

 

There are several different types of refractive errors, depending on which part of the eye is affected, and it is possible to have multiple refractive errors at the same time:

Myopia or nearsightedness:

In myopia the length of the eyeball is too long which results in light coming to a focus in front of the retina, rather than on the retina. This allows the individual to see well when objects are close but not clearly when looking at objects at a distance.

 

Hyperopia or farsightedness:

Hyperopia is when the eyeball is shorter than normal and can result in near objects being blurry. However, people experience hyperopia differently. Sometimes distant objects are clear while other times people may experience overall blurred vision near and far or no problems at all. In children particularly, the lens may accommodate for the error allowing for clear vision but may cause fatigue and sometimes crossed eyes or strabismus. Hyperopia causes eyestrain or fatigue especially when looking at near objects for a period of time. Often people with 20/20 vision may still need glasses at their desk to relax their eyes and improve concentration.

 

Astigmatism:

Astigmatism is usually the result of an irregularly shaped cornea (although it can sometimes also be due to a misshapen lens). The cornea, which is normally round, is more football-shaped in an eye with astigmatism, resulting in multiple focus points either in front of the retina or behind it (or both). People with astigmatism usually have blurred or distorted vision to some degree at all distances, near and far.

Presbyopia:

Presbyopia is an age-related condition which usually begins to appear sometime after 40. As the eye begins to age, the lens stiffens and can no longer focus clearly on objects that are close.

 

It’s important to note that presbyopia is often confused with hyperopia, as both cause problems focusing at near distances. However, high hyperopia can also cause blur at far distances as well, especially in dim lighting, and depth perception problems can result in motor vehicle accidents. In these instances people with hyperopia could use glasses at any distance.

If you are having trouble seeing, it is important to have an eye exam to determine the cause of the problem and to effectively correct your vision. Even if your vision is fine, you should schedule a routine eye exam on a regular basis to ensure that your eyes are healthy and that any potential problems are caught early.

Eye Safe Toys and Gifts for This Holiday Season

christmas - brown paper package‘Tis the season for giving, and parents, grandparents, family and friends need to know which toys and games to leave off the list because they can pose a risk to children’s health and eyesight. Last year nearly 252,000 emergency visits were due to toy-related injuries, almost half of which were to the head or face. Further, about 1 in 10 children’s eye injuries treated in the emergency room can be traced back to toys, most of which occur in children under 15 years of age.

The most common types of eye injuries that occur from toys can be anything from a scratch on the cornea (the front surface of the eye) to very serious injuries that can threaten vision such as traumatic cataracts, corneal ulcers, bleeding inside the eye and retinal detachment.

Most of these injuries can be prevented by taking the proper measures to evaluate the safety of gifts before they are purchased and to supervise children during any play with toys that could have the potential to cause damage or harm.

Here are some tips on how to select safe toys for children this holiday season:
Check age recommendations on all toys to make sure they are age appropriate and suitable for the child’s maturity level. If younger siblings are present, ensure that any toys made for older children are kept out of reach.
When possible, check toys for a seal of approval that the product meets national safety standards from a toy safety testing organization such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the Canadian Toy Testing Council.
Do not purchase toys that have a projectile or sharp, protruding parts. Toys such as darts, guns, arrows or sharp propelling toys can cause serious eye injuries that can lead to permanent eye damage and even vision loss. Even high-powered water guns such as super soakers or soft foam dart guns can cause significant damage when shot at close range.
Purchase safety eyewear with polycarbonate lenses to accompany sports equipment, chemistry sets or woodworking tools. Speak to your optometrist to learn more about the best option for your child’s hobby of choice.
Check that toys with sticks or handles such as swords, fishing rods, pogo sticks, brooms or pony sticks have rounded edges or handles and avoid or supervise use with little children.
Any toys or devices that have a laser or bright light (such as laser pointers or flashlights which are sometimes used by kids to play laser tag) can be dangerous. Bright lights such as those produced by high-powered flashlights can cause temporary vision loss that can lead to a risk of a fall or accident. Further, laser pointers are not safe for use by children as the light intensity can cause permanent vision loss if shined in someone’s eyes.
When purchasing a toy for a child that is important to you, make sure you are considering what is most important – their safety. Ask us if you have any questions about the eye safety of a toy or gift you are considering.

Demodex, Blepharitis and What You Can Do

Many people have never heard of demodex mites. Many don’t realize that their dry, red, itchy eyes could come as a result of a condition, known as blepharitis, that is caused by these surprisingly common microscopic parasites that live on their bodies, and especially in their eyelashes. Even those people who have heard of blepharitis and demodex mites, often don’t know what to do about blepharitis and its accompanying dry eye symptoms. Below, we’ll discuss what demodex mites are and how they cause blepharitis, as well as what you can do to get rid of the debris left behind by demodex and treat your blepharitis.

Demodex mites, also known as face mites or eyelash mites are microscopic parasites that live on the face and hair follicles of humans. Although most people have these parasites on them, they are usually contained by the immune system. However, in situations of sickness and age, the immune system becomes weakened, and demodex mites become less controlled and can begin to do damage to skin and hair follicles. Although there are two types of demodex mites, Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis, the longer Demodex folliculorum is the type that gets into the hair follicles, including eyelashes, and causes blepharitis and dry eye.

Demodex mites possess mouths that are sharp and needle-like, allowing them to sting right into the skin and hair follicles to suck out nutrients. They thrive in a moist environment, and become most active in the dark. There are five stages in the life cycle. After mating on the surface of the skin, they go back into it and lay eggs, taking bacteria with them and excreting wastes and secretions, laying eggs and dying within its layers. This pulling in of bacteria, and the piling up of excrement and dead mites begins to affect the eyelids and cause blepharitis.

Obviously, the solution to this issue is to make sure that the debris left behind by these demodex mites is cleaned up before it begins to cause issues. This is where BlephEx comes in!

BlephEx is a painless in-office procedure, using a patented hand-piece, medical grade micro-sponge, used to brush away debris and other remnants of demodex and bacteria that cause blepharitis and dry eye. The procedure usually lasts between 6 and 8 minutes and patients usually say it is quite comfortable, with some reporting a slight tickling feeling. Many times, your eye doctor may instruct you on how to maintain your eyelid health after blephex treatment, including using warm compresses to clean away debris.
For more information about demodex, blepharitis and BlephEx, contact your eye doctor today!

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