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Is It Really That Bad to Sleep or Shower In Contact Lenses?

Is it safe to wear contact lenses while showering or sleeping?

No. It’s absolutely not safe to wear contacts while immersed in water or when sleeping (unless you have contacts specifically intended for overnight wear).

Sleeping in your contact lenses can dry out your eyes and potentially harm your vision as a result of infection. Contact lenses should also be kept away from water as it’s a natural breeding ground for bacteria and microorganisms, which can get trapped under the contact lens, putting you at risk of a waterborne eye infection.

Why Does Sleeping in Contacts Increase the Risk of Infection?

To stay healthy, your corneas require hydration and oxygen. Blinking keeps your eyes wet, and the tears you produce allow oxygen to enter your eyes.

Sleeping in standard contacts limits the amount of oxygen and hydration that reach your eyes. As a result, your corneas are more dry and susceptible to corneal abrasion, and they have a harder time fighting bacteria, causing your eyes to be more prone to infection.

If, after sleeping in contact lenses, you experience blurred vision, discharge from your eyes, redness or watering, you may have an eye infection. Left untreated, infection can lead to corneal damage, and—in extreme cases—loss of vision.

What are the Risks of Showering While Wearing Contacts?

Contact lens wearers are more likely to develop keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea, if their lenses come into contact with water. Left untreated, keratitis can cause vision loss.

In microbial keratitis, microorganisms invade the cornea and cause an infection of the eye. The microorganisms that cause these infections can be found in a variety of water sources, including rivers, lakes and streams, showers, tap, a pool or jacuzzi. Normally, the antimicrobial properties of tears protect your eyes, but that process is hindered by contact lenses.

Furthermore, contact lenses can stick to your eye when exposed to water, potentially leading to corneal abrasions. These scratches may enable microorganisms found in non-sterile water to penetrate the cornea and cause an infection.

Eye Care Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

  • In order to avoid eye infections, it’s important to follow the tips below. However, do not consider these tips as medical advice. Always speak to your eye doctor for individual advice on wearing and caring for your contact lenses.
  • Avoid water while wearing contacts. Keep your contacts away from water. Make sure to remove your contacts before showering, bathing, or swimming. Don’t rinse or store your contacts in water, and if it does occur, make sure to throw away or disinfect them thoroughly.
  • Don’t sleep in your contacts. Avoid wearing your contacts when sleeping, unless you have special overnight lenses or your eye doctor has told you that it’s safe to do so.
  • Use clean hands. Always wash your hands and dry them thoroughly before touching your contacts.
  • Follow product instructions. Always follow the directions when cleaning or disinfecting your contacts.
  • Store contacts properly. Make sure your contacts are exclusively stored in fresh contact lens solution. Never reuse old solution.
  • Wear contacts for the proper length of time. Avoid wearing your contacts for longer than the recommended time period.

So, remove those lenses before going to bed and showering. If you experience symptoms like eye pain, discharge, or sensitivity to light, immediately remove your lenses and consult Derby City Eye Care in Crestwood without delay.


Who can wear contact lenses?

Almost everyone can wear contact lenses, no matter their age, prescription or lifestyle.

What if I accidentally fall asleep with my contacts?

If you fall asleep with your contacts on, you may wake up with them attached to your eye’s surface. If they don’t come out easily, blink and apply lens drops until the surface of your eye is moist. That should make it easier to remove the lenses.

Are Contact Lenses Safe For Young Children?

Here’s a question we often get at our practice: Is my child too young for contact lenses?’ This is an important question, and the answer may surprise you.

For children with myopia (nearsightedness), contact lenses can be a convenient method of vision correction. It allows kids to go about their day without having to worry about breaking or misplacing their glasses, and enables them to freely participate in sports and other physical activities.

Local Contact lens supplier near you in Crestwood, Kentucky

Some children and young teens may ask their parents for contact lenses because they feel self-conscious wearing glasses. Contact lenses may even provide children with the confidence boost they need to come out of their shell. Moreover, these days, it is very popular for children to wear single-use one-day disposable soft contacts, since there is no cleaning or maintenance involved.

Some parents may deny their child’s request for contacts due to concerns about eye health and safety. There’s no reason to worry: contact lenses are just as safe for children as they are for anyone else.

Derby City Eye Care Eye Clinic and Eye exam, contact lenses, myopia in Crestwood, Kentucky

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Crestwood eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

At Derby City Eye Care, we provide children, teens, and patients of all ages with a wide variety of contact lenses. If you’re concerned about the safety of contacts for your child, we’ll be happy to explain and explore ways to ensure maximum safety, optimal eye health and comfort. To learn more or to schedule a pediatric eye exam for contact lenses, contact us today.

What Are the Risks of Having My Child Wear Contact Lenses?

Local Eye exam, contact lenses, myopia in Crestwood, Kentucky

Read what our patients have to say on Google Reviews

A study published in the January 2021 issue of The Journal of Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics found that kids aren’t at a higher risk of experiencing contact lens complications.

The study followed nearly 1000 children aged 8-16 over the course of 1.5-3 years to determine how contact lenses affected their eye health.

The results indicate that age doesn’t have an effect on contact lens safety. In fact, the researchers found that the risk of developing infections or other adverse reactions was less than 1% per year of wear — which is comparable to contact lens wearers of other ages.

But before you decide that contact lenses are right for your child, you may want to consider whether your child is ready to wear them. During his or her eye doctor’s appointment, the optometrist may ask about your child’s level of maturity, responsibility, and personal hygiene. Since many children are highly motivated to wear contacts, they tend to display real maturity in caring for their lenses. That said, in the initial stages, parents may need to play an active role, as their child gets used to inserting and removing the new contact lenses.

It’s important to note that just as with any other medical device, contact lenses are not risk-free. Anyone who wears contact lenses has a chance of developing eye infections or other complications with contact lenses. However, when worn and cared for according to your eye doctor’s instructions, contact lenses are low-risk and perfectly safe for children and teenagers.

So, go ahead and bring your child in for a contact lens consultation! We’ll help determine if your child is ready for contacts and answer any questions you or your child may have. To schedule your child’s contact lens fitting or eye exam, contact Derby City Eye Care in Crestwood today.

Call Derby City Eye Care on 502-200-1920 to schedule an eye exam with our Crestwood optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT


Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

How to Disinfect Glasses to Help Prevent COVID-19

What You Should Know About Night Blindness

Protective Sports Eyewear is a Serious Matter

Are Sore, Itchy Eyes a Sign of COVID-19?

5 Reasons To Wear Sunglasses In The Fall

When we think of fall accessories, the first things that come to mind are warm sweaters, plush scarves, or a snug pair of boots. Here’s another essential item to add to your list: a good quality pair of UV-blocking sunglasses.

But why is it so important to protect your eyes when the sun seems to be hiding behind clouds on most days? While it may not make much sense, you’ll get a better understanding by the time you finish reading this article. So let’s dive in and explore the 5 reasons you should protect your eyes from the sun in the fall.

Local Contact lens supplier near you in Crestwood, Kentucky

Sunglasses: Summer Vs. Fall

The Sun’s Position

While we may squint more in the summer, the sunlight’s path to the eyes is more direct in the fall as the sun sits closer to the horizon. This places our eyes at greater risk of overexposure to UV rays.

Changing Temperatures

Irritating symptoms like dry, red, or watery eyes are often due to the season’s cool and harsh winds. The colder the air, the stiffer and thicker the eyes’ tear oils (meibum) become. Because thicker meibum doesn’t spread as evenly over the surface of the eyes, the tears can’t offer sufficient protection and moisture.

Minimize irritation by shielding the eyes from cool winds with wraparound sunglasses.

Derby City Eye Care Eye Clinic and Sunglasses, Eye Protection and Fall Fashion in Crestwood, Kentucky

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Crestwood eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

UV Rays

Exposing your eyes to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is problematic year-round, as it can result in serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. That’s why it’s important to wear 100% UV-blocking sunglasses anytime you’re outdoors, no matter the season.

Make sure to sport your sunnies even on cloudy days, as up to 90% of UV rays pass through clouds. Furthermore, outdoor objects like concrete and snow reflect a significant amount of UV rays into the eyes.

Fall’s Dangerous Sun Glare

Because the sun is positioned at a lower angle in the fall, it can produce a brutal glare that poses a danger for driving. Rays of light that reflect off of smooth surfaces like the metal of nearby cars can be so bright to the point of blinding the driver.

You can combat this dangerous glare by wearing polarized sunglasses. These lenses reduce the glare’s harmful effects by filtering out horizontal light waves, such as the ones reflected by a shiny car bumper.

Local Sunglasses, Eye Protection and Fall Fashion in Crestwood, Kentucky

Read what our patients have to say on Google Reviews

Looking for Sunglasses Near You?

Here’s the bottom line: you need to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses in the fall and year-round, no matter the season or climate. Investing in a stylish pair of durable, UV-protective sunglasses is — simply-put — a worthwhile investment in your eye health.

So if you’re looking for advice about a new pair of high-quality sunglasses for the fall, with or without prescription lenses, visit Derby City Eye Care. If standard sunglass lenses are too dark for you at this time of year, ask us about green or brown tinted lenses; they transmit more light and contrast to the eyes than standard grey tints.

We’ll be happy to help you find that perfect pair to protect your eyes, suit your lifestyle needs and enhance your personal style. To learn more, call 502-200-1920 to contact our Crestwood eye doctor today.

Call Derby City Eye Care on 502-200-1920 to schedule an eye exam with our Crestwood optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT


Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

Visiting Your Optometrist During COVID-19

June 27 Is National Sunglasses Day!

Why Does Your Eye Doctor Dilate Your Pupils for an Eye Exam?

Can you Really Go Blind from Looking at a Solar Eclipse?

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.

Derby City Eye Care Eye Clinic and Mask Fog, Optometry, Eye Health in Crestwood, Kentucky

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Crestwood eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

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.

Local Mask Fog, Optometry, Eye Health in Crestwood, Kentucky

Read what our patients have to say on Google Reviews

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 Derby City Eye Care in Crestwood today.

Call Derby City Eye Care on 502-200-1920 to schedule an eye exam with our Crestwood optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT


Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

5 Ways to Ensure Healthy Vision

Diet + Exercise + Eye Exams = Good Vision

The Best Foods for Your Eyes

Back to School Video with Dr. Fowler

Derby City Eye Care COVID-19 Updated Policies and Procedures

Our primary goal at Derby City Eye Care has always been to ensure that we are providing the highest standard of care to our patients. In light of the current pandemic, and in compliance with the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, Kentucky Department of Health, Kentucky Optometric Association, and our local government officials, we are now taking extra precautions to do this as safely and efficiently as possible. To this end, we have updated our office policies and procedures as follows:


  • External office doors will be locked


    • To limit the number of individuals and visitors coming in and out of the office, all external doors will be locked at all times except to allow the entering/exiting of doctors, staff, and patients
    • Only those patients with pre-scheduled appointments will be allowed to enter the office
    • Patients under 18 years old, and patients with disabilities, may have 1 guardian/caregiver accompany them into the office and testing rooms, if necessary


  • Coronavirus screenings before entry


    • All doctors, staff, patients, and guardians will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and elevated temperature before entering the office
    • If anyone has been sick with a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, or if they have come in contact with anyone they suspect or know to be sick, within the past two weeks, they will not be allowed into the office and will be rescheduled
    • If anyone has a temperature above 99.9 degrees (Fahrenheit), they will not be allowed into the office and will be rescheduled


  • Masks and face coverings


    • All doctors and staff are required to wear masks while they are in the office – especially since we work with a vulnerable patient population
    • Patients and guardians are highly encouraged to wear a mask or cloth face covering for the same reason


  • Modified waiting area for social distancing


    • All but two chairs have been removed from the waiting room (and are spaced more than 6 feet apart) – magazines and advertising materials have also been removed


  • Enhanced hygiene compliance


    • Every patient and guardian must wash their hands upon entering the office
    • All doctors and staff will wash their hands as much as possible including (but not limited to): upon entering the office, before touching patients, after contact with patients, in between patients, and before exiting the office


  • Enhanced sanitizing compliance


    • All surfaces that have come in contact with a patient or guardian during their visit must be sanitized before another patient can enter the office, including (but not limited to): door handles, chairs, clipboards, writing utensils, counter tops, sink handles, and equipment – this will be done using soap and water, alcohol pads, disinfecting wipes, and/or disinfecting sprays


  • Prioritizing patient populations/services


    • To ensure that Derby City Eye Care is alleviating eyecare demands placed on other healthcare providers and facilities during this crisis and taking care of the essential eye care needs of our patients in an organized manner, we are currently prioritizing the following groups when scheduling appointments:

1) New and existing patients with eye emergencies (sudden vision loss, flashes and floaters, red eyes, etc.)

2) Existing patients with systemic and eye health conditions (diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, etc.) who have had a recent change in vision

3) Existing contact lens patients whose prescription is expired or who have had a recent change in vision

4) Existing patients who have recently broken their glasses or who have had a recent change in vision

If you have not had a change in vision within the last month or two, we ask that you please delay your visit to our office for at least 3-4 weeks

Even though things will look and feel a little different the next time you visit our office, please know that we are happy to be caring for you again, and we genuinely appreciate all your patience and support during this challenging time.

Dr. Fowler

Contact Lens Wear and the Coronavirus – Is it Safe?

by Dr. Jeremy Fowler

There have been many reports in the news lately that suggest an increasing number of people are becoming infected with the coronavirus due to wearing contact lenses. However, there is currently no scientific evidence showing that this is actually the case. In reality, the potential for contact lens related infections has always existed, but proper hygiene, wear, and care can keep you safe.

When a person is sick with a virus, they spread that virus by sneezing and coughing virus particles in microscopic droplets from their nose and mouth. These droplets land on nearby surfaces or are inhaled through the nose and mouth of individuals nearby. The virus can also be transferred when someone touches an infected surface, then touches their nose, mouth, or in some cases their eyes, without first washing their hands. Once someone is infected, it typically takes 2-10 days before they start to show signs of the infection, such as fever, coughing, sneezing, and fatigue.

Anyone who thinks they may have a viral infection should stop wearing contact lenses immediately and should not resume contact lens wear again until they are symptom-free for several days.

On the other hand, healthy individuals who want to wear contact lenses can continue to do so, without fear of infection, by following these few simple steps:

  1. WASH YOUR HANDS – before you even think about touching your contact lenses, or the case they are stored in, you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then dry your hands with a clean cloth or unused paper towel. Whenever possible, repeat this step frequently throughout the day.
  2. AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE – once your contacts are in your eyes, try not to touch any part of your face – especially your nose, mouth, or eyes – to limit the possibility of infection.
  3. KEEP AWAY FROM THE WATER – water can carry and sustain many different types of microscopic germs. You should never shower or swim in contact lenses, and do not rinse them with or store them in water (or saliva) either.
  4. AVOID SLEEPING IN CONTACTS – studies show that sleeping in contact lenses increases your chance of getting an infection up to 10 times the normal rate. And, contact lens related infections tend to be more severe and take longer to heal than non-contact lens related infections.
  5. DISINFECT PROPERLY – after removing your lenses, you should use fresh multipurpose or hydrogen peroxide solution to clean and store your lenses overnight. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidance from your optometrist for best results.

Safe contact lens wear is in the power of your hands. Don’t let anyone tell you different!

Coronavirus Update


Dear Derby City Eye Care Family,

In light of Governor Beshear’s recent announcement that optometry offices can resume providing care to their patients, we are pleased to announce that we will be reopening on Monday, May 4.

Please understand, though, this will not be “business as usual.” Under normal circumstances, we enjoy taking time to get to know you, your eye health history, and all your vision needs. But the current situation with the coronavirus requires that we shorten conversations and limit interactions to just the essentials.

The Governor’s latest guidelines also recommend implementing several new measures to protect the health of our staff and patients during this unprecedented time. To meet these standards, we have established new policies and procedures that you can read about here, and will see the next time you come to our office.

If you would like to schedule a telehealth or in-person appointment with us, or if you have questions regarding your eye care or health, please visit our website,, and fill out the appointment request form. Since we are working with reduced staff and hours at this time, we may be unable to answer your calls as promptly as usual, but we will respond as soon as possible.

We are happy to be caring for our patients again soon, and genuinely appreciate all your patience and support during this challenging time. We will get through this together!


Dr. Fowler

Dr. Fowler Interview with Custom Publications Regarding Daily Contact Lenses

Power of One™ Concept Proves Itself Over and Over

Doctor builds his contact lens practice by promoting one-day and one-month replacement, with one-year exams

When Jeremy Fowler, OD, graduated from optometry school 10 years ago, he went to work in an optometric practice where two-week replacement contact lenses were the norm. One day, he sat with a representative from Alcon who told him about the Power of One™ concept. “It seemed novel and simple to me, and being just out of school, I didn’t have any particular allegiance to one specific lens replacement strategy. So I followed their advice to promote one-month and one-day contact lenses, with an emphasis on one-year return visits for a comprehensive eye exam.” It soon became his most successful strategy and one he has used in practice ever since.

Dr. Fowler recently opened a practice in a new Walmart Supercenter in the Louisville, Kentucky area. “When I started this practice, I said I wanted to be on the cutting edge of technology, focused on giving my patients the best options for their eye health and comfort.”

His personal experience is a factor. He wears DAILIES® AquaComfort PLUS® contact lenses. “I have tried several different contact brands and lenses, comparing the comfort and vision in my own prescription. Some brands were uncomfortable and others I had to adjust the correction to get crisp vision; but with DAILIES® AquaComfort PLUS® lenses, the comfort and correction were just right,” he says.

His testimonial must make an impact, as about 70 percent of Dr. Fowler’s contact lens patients are in daily disposables. “They are comfortable, clean and convenient. For anyone who wears contact lenses part time, as I do, it should be the obvious choice. There is a huge untapped potential market for part-time wearers or those who have never considered contact lens wear,” he says. He explains that his status as a part-time wearer adds credence to the idea. “I have this option for you, and it’s one I personally use. If you want to wear something other than your eyeglasses – when you’re going out for dinner or somewhere for the weekend or working in the yard and you want to wear your sunglasses – these daily disposable contact lenses are a great option.” He’ll also plant the seed that many patients enjoy these lenses so much that they end up wearing them all the time. “So often, patients react by saying, ‘Why hasn’t anyone else offered me this?’”

Dr. Fowler also says that having a complete line of contact lenses in spherical, toric and multifocal designs in the same family is a big help. Recently, he had a patient whose job as a respiratory therapist presented challenges with contact lens wear. He works with patients on oxygen who must be in a very dry environment. “He told me that his eyes were constantly red and irritated, so I switched him from a monthly toric lens to the DAILIES® AquaComfort PLUS® toric. He called me two weeks later to say how much he appreciated the change in his comfort and appearance.’”

In most offices, when patients are happy with their vision and contact lens comfort, doctors don’t usually hear from them in between comprehensive exams. But unhappy patients may come in or call frequently with complaints – or they might just drop out of contact lenses altogether, and possibly the practice. “I’ve learned to think outside of the box with my patients,” Dr. Fowler says. “To bring them from unhappy to happy. That’s true for a patient like the respiratory therapist and it’s true for the presbyope who is frustrated with monovision.”

Whenever he moves a patient into a different lens design or material that he believes is a better match, the patient often expresses amazement – and some frustration – that no one else had suggested the option. “I’m not finding some unknown solution; I just listen to what they’re telling me.”

The monthly lens option

AIR OPTIX® Plus HydraGlyde monthly replacement lenses also play a role in Dr. Fowler’s practice. “Some patients prefer monthly replacement lens, and I want to provide them with an option that is designed for outstanding comfort from day 1 to day 30. The entire AIR OPTIX family of contact lenses is a great choice because they have lots of oxygen and the Smart Shield Technology resists deposits.”

Most importantly, Dr. Fowler doesn’t peg patients as either a daily or monthly lens wearer. “I often suggest to my AIR OPTIX® contact lens patients that they also try some DAILIES® contact lenses. It doesn’t have to be either-or. I tell them, ‘You might choose DAILIES® when you’re doing outdoor activities and wear your AIR OPTIX® lenses at work.’”

That’s the kind of customized, problem-solving recommendations that keep his patients coming back.

Dr. Fowler discusses Macular Degeneration with South Oldham Lion’s Club

The final topic for tonight’s discussion is macular degeneration. A few of you mentioned to me earlier that you have a friend or family member that has been diagnosed with this condition. Macular degeneration is a progressive deterioration of the central retina that disrupts and distorts the vision. Currently, there is no cure for this condition, and it is often very devastating to those who get it.

The macula is a very small part of the retina, but it does about 80% of the work needed to navigate the world we live in. We use our macula to read, see color, perceive movement, and recognize faces. The rest of the retina just fills in the gaps. If the macula is not working properly it can cause a lot of problems.

Macular degeneration happens when the blood vessels under the central retina fail to remove dead cells and other trash from the back of the eye. As this trash accumulates, healthy cells and blood vessels get choked off from the nutrients they need to survive. Over time, the healthy cells die, the blood vessels leak, and vision is lost.

There are actually two types of macular degeneration: the dry (non-bleeding) form and the wet (bleeding) form. About 90% of people with macular degeneration have the dry form. Most of these individuals have vision distortion, but less than 10% of them have significant vision loss. On the other hand, 90% of people with wet macular degeneration have a significant loss of their central vision. You can’t see through blood, and the longer it stays there the more damage it does.

Several things can increase your risk of getting macular degeneration. Number one, of course, is age! The actual name of the condition is really age-related macular degeneration. There are currently 11 million Americans over the age of 50 with the condition, and 30% of Americans over 75 have it. Genetics also plays a factor – if it runs in your family, you are more likely to get it than not. Macular degeneration is almost exclusively found in Caucasians and affects twice as many women as men. Excessive exposure to the sun and smoking are also risk factors, as are other co-morbid conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration? Initially, you might have some difficulty recognizing familiar people or places until you get really close to them. You may also notice that certain objects seem distorted when you look at them – like a wall or a picture. They may appear to have a bump or a wavy area where they would normally be straight. Over time, macular degeneration also causes colors to fade – instead of being vibrant and bright they will appear dull and gray. Reading will also become problematic as words may seem to move, jumble, or otherwise not make sense.

Because there is no cure for macular degeneration, a lot of our treatments are aimed at trying to make an individual as functional as possible within their environment. This may include using brighter indoor lighting. Usually, the more light you have the better you are able to see, so that can be useful. Large print books and magnifiers are also helpful.

If the degeneration does progress to the wet form, treatment becomes much more invasive – and painful. The primary treatment is an ocular injection where medication is placed into the eye to dry up the blood. Lasers are also occasionally used, but once you laser the retina the tissue is scarred for life and is no longer useful.

So how do you avoid all of this? For starters, get regular eye exams – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The earlier we catch it, the better the chance there is of slowing it down. Also, be sure to wear a hat and sunglasses anytime you are outdoors, and please don’t smoke. Finally, eat a balanced diet with lots of lutein and zeaxanthin. These super vitamins are found in things like tomatoes, red peppers, green peppers, yellow peppers, and carrots. They help remove the trash from the retina, so they are very useful in delaying or preventing this condition.

So I guess we went a little bit long, but you guys had some really great questions. Thank you again for letting me speak tonight. I am happy to answer any questions afterward, or like I said earlier, feel free to stop by the Crestwood Walmart and talk to me there.

Dry Eye Blog with Dr. Jeremy Fowler

As healthcare professionals, optometrists attend continuing education meetings multiple times throughout the year to keep them up to date on the latest advances in eye care. These educational opportunities occur at local, state, and national meetings, and may focus on one or several varying topics of interest.

This year I chose to attend a conference that would educate me further on an ocular condition that I share with many of my patients – dry eye. As electronic devices continue to become more ubiquitous in our culture at home, at work, and at play (at increasingly younger ages), I have seen a surge in the number of patients presenting to my office with moderate to severe dry eyes. But this increase in dry eye is not just happening in Crestwood or Louisville, Kentucky – it is happening all over the world. And the eyecare community has taken notice.Business Man Desk Computer 1280x853

In 2007, the first report of the International Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS) was presented by the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS). This groundbreaking report unified the definition of dry eye, classified different types of dry eye, and made recommendations on the appropriate testing, management, and therapeutic treatments for various forms of dry eye. It was met with enthusiasm throughout the eye care community and put to much use over the years that followed.

Time, research, and technology progressed, and soon the TFOS realized the need to update its landmark report. When they released the DEWS II, in 2017, it included a revised, more specific definition of dry eye, increased classifications and types of dry eye, and new suggestions for testing, management, and treatment of dry eye. It is now the gold standard reference text for any eyecare professional participating in the treatment and management of dry eye disease.

I recently attended the New Technologies and Treatments in Eye Care conference in Nashville, Tennessee. I chose this meeting specifically because one of the keynote speakers is a global ambassador for the TFOS and was directly involved in writing some of the content for the DEWS II report. I knew that if I wanted to learn about the latest technology and treatment of dry eye (for myself and my patients), this was the place. I wasn’t disappointed!

dry eye doc chalk

I learned detail after detail about the new classifications and types of dry eye (many of which have overlapping signs and symptoms). I discovered many common environmental and medical exacerbators of the disease. I saw several new testing techniques for dry eye, and spoke with a few vendors about new technologies they have recently developed to track dry eye progression. I even attended some smaller break-out sessions of the conference where I got to experience first-hand some of the latest treatments designed to slow or even prevent the progression of dry eye disease. As I talked with other doctors from around the country about their dry eye practices, I also discovered a few new ways to share this newfound knowledge with my dry eye patients.

Now that I am back at Derby City Eye Care, whenever a patient presents to my office with mild, moderate, or severe evaporative dry eye, aqueous dry eye, or a combination of both, I am better equipped to educate and treat their disease with a little more confidence and thoroughness than I did before. It is my sincere goal that every patient in my practice knows the joy of clear and healthy vision, and it has been so rewarding over the last few weeks to see the quality of life difference this new education provides for my dry eye patients.