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Why Are Dilated Eye Exams So Important?

Having your eyes dilated during an eye exam may seem like a nuisance. But when you consider the benefits of a dilated eye exam, the temporary blurred vision and sensitivity to light that typically follow are definitely worth it.  

What Are Dilated Eye Exams? 

At some point during a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will shine a bright light into your eyes to examine the back of your eye, called the retina. The problem is that bright light causes the size of the pupil’s opening to shrink, which makes it hard for the optometrist to see a large portion of the retina. 

That’s why eye doctors apply special eye drops in each eye to keep the pupils open. A dilated pupil allows for a much more accurate assessment of your eye’s structures, including the focusing lens, blood vessels and tissues at the back of the eye called the retina, as well as the optic nerve and macula. 

Dilating the eyes makes it easier for your optometrist to detect the following conditions and diseases: 

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma 
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Macular degeneration
  • Retinal tumor 
  • Retinal detachment or retinal tears
  • Eye floaters

It’s important to note that many of these conditions can develop without noticeable symptoms, until they cause vision loss at which point treatment may be more challenging, making dilated eye exams all the more crucial. 

The Dilation Process

First, your eye doctor will apply eye drops to each eye to trigger dilation of the pupil. Your eyes should be fully dilated about 10-20 minutes later. 

Your eyes will remain dilated for 4-6 hours, and during this time you may be sensitive to light. That’s because the larger pupil allows more light than usual to enter the eye. Many patients find it more comfortable to wear sunglasses until their eyes return to normal. 

Reading and using a computer may be difficult with dilated eyes, and your vision may be blurred. Some patients report feeling a tightening sensation in their eyelids, or headaches. 

Dilated eye exams are a crucial part of keeping your eyes healthy. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call StylEyes in West Des Moines today!

Q&A

#1: At what age should one have a dilated eye exam? 

You should have your dilated eye exam no matter your age. Most eye doctors will dilate a new patient at their first exam regardless of age to get a baseline of their retinal health.

#2: Will I be able to return to work after a dilated eye exam? 

Everyone reacts differently, so it’s hard to tell. If your job requires you to focus on small print or detail, it may be challenging. Typing and writing may also be difficult with dilated pupils. To be on the safe side, book your appointment at the end of your work day, clear your schedule after your eye exam and only plan to do activities which aren’t visually demanding. 

The Importance of Eye Wellness Screenings

Did you know that not all eye exams are the same?

Eye wellness screenings utilize a high definition scan of the retina that reveals ocular anatomy beneath the surface of the eye, in full color. These exams allow your eye doctor to diagnose and treat sight-threatening eye diseases early on, before they cause significant vision loss and when treatment is often the most effective.

Eye Wellness Screening Exams

Most retinal diseases do not show any obvious symptoms until it is too late and eye damage has already occurred. Eye wellness screenings utilize innovative technologies to provide an in-depth view of the retina, the part of your eye that captures the image of what you are looking at.

Retinal exams enable your eye doctor to identify serious underlying eye diseases, including:

  • Retinal diseases
  • Macular eye diseases
  • Glaucoma
  • Brain/Eye tumors
  • Diabetic retinal damage
  • Eye damage caused by strokes, high blood pressure, and other systemic conditions

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

An Optical Coherence Tomography scan, also called an OCT scan, is the latest advancement in imaging technology. It is a painless, non-invasive test that provides your eye doctor with 3D color-coded, cross-sectional images of the retina. .

These scans use light to attain a high-resolution picture of the structural layers of the back of the eye. The scanning laser, which uses light without any radiation, is used to analyze the layers of the retina and optic nerve for any signs of eye disease. The OCT scan can provide an early diagnosis for conditions including, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

Ultra-Wide Field Retinal Imaging (UWF)

UWF technology creates digital images of the retina; however the image is a wider view than traditional retinal images. This scan captures up to 200 degrees or 80% of the retina. These images are taken in seconds and typically without eye drops or dilation of the pupil that are used in traditional retinal exams.

The UWF retinal exam produces an image that is as unique as your fingerprint and provides your eye doctor with a wide view to look at the health of your retina. During the exam, you simply look into the device one eye at a time and you will see a flash of light to let you know the image of your retina has been taken. The UWF image is shown immediately on a computer screen so your eye doctor can review it with you during your visit.

With any retinal exam, the detailed images help with early detection and treatment of eye conditions such as glaucoma, dry and wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachment.

To screen for underlying eye diseases, schedule a retinal eye exam StylEyes in West Des Moines, today!

Contact Lenses Wear & Care Do’s and Don’ts

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Contact Lenses & Eye Care

Here’s a shocking statistic: According to the CDC, more than 99% of the people who wear contact lenses in the U.S. engage in at least one risky or unsanitary behavior with their lenses!

Contact lenses are a safe and convenient way to correct your vision — as long as they are worn and cared for properly. Engaging in risky behavior when it comes to your lenses can put you at risk of developing eye infections or cause eye damage.

So, if you wear contact lenses, continue reading to learn the correct contact lens protocol. To ask any questions about your contact lenses or schedule a contact lens consultation, call StylEyes in West Des Moines today.

The Do’s of Contact Lens Wear and Care

  • We can’t stress this enough: Do wash your hands! Before touching your eyes or handling your lenses, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. After rinsing, dry your hands on a paper towel or clean lint-free cloth.
  • Do disinfect your lenses when you remove them from your eyes, using only solutions recommended by your eye doctor.
  • Do remove your contact lenses before sleeping, swimming, and showering. Contact lenses and water do not mix due to the risk of infection.
  • Do clean your contact lens case weekly with warm soapy water and replace it every 3 months.
  • Do carry a pair of glasses with you in case you need to remove your contact lenses.

The Don’ts of Contact Lens Wear and Care

  • Don’t overwear your lenses. Replace them as often as your doctor recommends. So, replace your monthlies every month, your weeklies every week, and discard daily lenses before bedtime.
  • Don’t rub your eyes while wearing contact lenses.
  • Don’t use tap water or saliva (ever!) to rinse or rewet your contact lenses.
  • Don’t allow makeup to get into your eyes when wearing contact lenses.
  • Don’t share your contact lenses with anyone — seriously, don’t.
  • Don’t wear your contact lenses if your eyes feel irritated or appear red. Give them a chance to de-stress before inserting them back into your eyes.
  • Don’t skip your annual eye exam. Your eyes will thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Kristina Wittrock

Q: What are the latest trends in contact lenses?

  • A: Many contact lens manufacturers are now producing “daily” disposable contact lenses. These are lenses that are inserted in the morning and thrown away at night. This style of contact lens wear is both convenient and healthy. With these lenses, patients buy fewer solutions and don’t have to keep up with how old their lenses are and when to change them. Daily disposables are also beneficial in causing less allergy and dryness while reducing the risks of infection. Daily lenses are now offered in all types of prescriptions from distance vision to astigmatism and multifocal/bifocal prescriptions.

Q: Is wearing contacts better for sports activity?

  • A: Yes, wearing contacts provide a wider field of view thus preventing avoidable injuries. Prescription sports goggles work well but when your actively sweating you goggles will fog up and start to move around a lot. I recommend contacts a lot for my active patients.

Contact Lenses – Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In West Des Moines, Iowa. Visit StylEyes for contact lenses and trendy eyeglasses that match your style.

Whether you wear contact lenses or not, regular eye exams can help detect eye disease early and give you a chance to discuss all of your eye-related concerns with your eye doctor. To schedule your annual eye exam, call StylEyes in West Des Moines today!

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.

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.

At StylEyes, 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?

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 StylEyes in West Des Moines today.

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The Importance of Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

Are you planning on wearing contact lenses for the first time? Do you need a new contact lens prescription? Are your current contacts not as comfortable as you wish they were? Your eye doctor will perform a contact lens eye exam to ensure that your vision with contacts is clear, comfortable, and safe, providing you with the right lenses for you.

What is a contact lens exam?

If you wear or want to wear contact lenses, you’ll need an eye exam for contact lenses, in addition to your regular comprehensive eye exam. Special tests are performed during a contact lens exam to evaluate your eyes and vision with contacts.

Are eyeglass prescriptions the same as contact lens prescriptions?

No, a prescription for glasses cannot be used for contact lenses. An eyeglass prescription is for lenses that are positioned approximately 12 millimeters from your eyes, whereas a contact lens prescription is measured for lenses that sit directly on the surface of your eye.

The prescription for contact lenses also includes the brand, lens diameter and curvature, which are not part of an eyeglass prescription.

Contact lenses fitting: One size does not fit all

One contact lens size doesn’t fit all eyes. If a contact lens is too flat or too steep for your corneal shape, you may experience discomfort or even eye damage. Your eye doctor will take certain measurements to determine the best contact lens design and fit for your eyes.

Corneal curvature

This measures the curvature of your eye’s clear front surface (cornea) so the eye doctor can select the optimal curve and diameter for your contact lenses. If your eye’s surface is somewhat irregular because of astigmatism or other conditions, you may require a special lens.

Pupil and iris size

The size of your pupil and iris (the colored part of your eye) is also important in determining the best contact lens design.

Tear film evaluation

This test evaluates the quality of your tears, to determine whether they will be able to keep contact lenses and your cornea sufficiently hydrated throughout the day. If you have dry eye disease, standard contact lenses may not be right for you.

Trial lenses

Following the eye exam, you will be provided with trial lenses to verify that the chosen contact lenses offer clear and comfortable vision. This will allow the eye doctor to make any fine adjustments to the prescription.

Contact Lens Eye Exam Near You

Wearing the correct contact lenses for your eyes allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of wearing contacts, while keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable.

If you’re already a contact lens wearer, visit your eye doctor at least once a year to make sure the lenses are still providing you with optimum vision and comfort.

Contact StylEyes in West Des Moines to book your contact lens eye exam today!