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solar eclipse glasses on child

Are Solar Eclipse viewing glasses safe?

Many of you have obtained solar eclipse viewing glasses, but are they really safe to view the solar eclipse directly? If so, how long can one safely look at the eclipse before risking eye damage? The absolute safest way to view the eclipse is indirectly (pinhole viewing) with or without the eclipse glasses, but what about looking at the sun with them on? What is the difference between ISO certified glasses and non-ISO certified glasses? What part of sunlight is dangerous to the eye and do the eclipse glasses block it? Regardless of what’s stamped on the temple how do you know if your glasses are really ISO certified? What about welders glasses?

While I don’t have all the answers, it’s important to know that the ISO standard is in place to ensure that there is energy being blocked from the eye in the infrared and not just visible and UV parts of the spectrum. Infrared light is the wavelengths of light the sun emits that are damaging to the light-sensing tissue on the back of the eye, called the retina.  Most people think black glass is safe to use to view the sun, but even black glass can pass dangerous light from the infrared. What’s risky is that the infrared may be so dim or not at all visible yet still transmit at levels that are damaging to the eye.  If you spend too much time looking at the sun through glasses that don’t fully protect from the infrared (10 seconds or more generally) damage is likely to occur.

Welders glasses aren’t safe because generally, welding doesn’t expose welders to infrared light, so they are not designed to block infrared, only UV and visible light.  Generally, if a filter is not ISO certified it should be assumed to be transparent in the infrared. However, if the filter has a mirror-like appearance the metal coating DOES protect in the infrared for the most part. The problem with metal coatings is the occurrence of pinholes that can let damaging levels through. Pinholes, however, are easy to notice.

In summary, you should not view the eclipse through any kind of eclipse viewing glasses, ISO certified or not for any period of time. If the glasses have a mirror coating I still don’t recommend you look directly at the sun but if you do anyway be certain minimize the viewing time below 5 seconds…probably WELL below 5 seconds to be on the safe side.

Thanks to Optical Scientist Robert Winsor for his help with this information.

Posted in Blog, Eye Care, Eye Health, Kansas
solar eclipse eye care

Protect those peepers: 4 tips for safe solar eclipse viewing

Nine times out of 10, doctors of optometry aren’t on board with their patients staring at the sun, but this August is that one rare exception.

“In fact, it’s a tragedy not to look,” Myron Wasiuta, O.D., rather emphatically points out. “It needs to be looked at because it’s one of the most impressive and memorable sights you’ll ever see.”

Let’s be clear: Staring at the sun is still bad for your eyes in virtually all circumstances, but this particular concession is reserved for one of nature’s most remarkable phenomena-a total solar eclipse. This Aug. 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will envelop the entire nation, but it’s a narrow, 70-mile-wide band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina where the exception to the rule applies. And even then, only for a few minutes at most.

The 2017 Eclipse Across America is noteworthy for a path that makes it visible from most Americans’ backyards; 500 million people across North America will see at least a partial eclipse, yet only about 12 million live within the path of totality. That means it’s especially important for Americans to clearly understand how to safely view the eclipse.

Read full article here.

Posted in Eye Care, Eye Health, Kansas

Beginner’s Guide to Contact Lenses

contact lens beginner's guide

Fed up with your glasses always getting in the way? It’s time for contacts!

Contact lenses are truly a miracle of modern science. They help you see clearly and you hardly notice them in your eyes. Despite all the advantages of contacts, they do require you to develop a few new habits to keep your eyes and vision healthy and clear.

Whether you were too excited to listen to your eye doctor during your contact lens fitting or have an upcoming lens fitting on the calendar – here’s some pro tips to keep your eyes, and your vision, healthy and clear:

  1. Be careful with your lenses. This might seem obvious but whenever you are handling your contacts, make sure to use caution and focus. The last thing you want is to tear or drop your lens.
  2. Wash your hands every single time – no exceptions. Dirty hands spread all kinds of germs to your contacts, and in turn, onto your eyes. This can lead to serious eye infection and irritations.
  3. Just as your hands need to be clean, so does your lens case and contact solution. Make sure to clean your lens case with water and let it fully dry before using it again. You should also use a fresh lens case every month. Lastly, remember to close the top of your lens solution bottle to avoid germs making their way to your eye.
  4. Water and contacts don’t mix. When you are taking a shower or going for a dip in the pool, it’s smart to them take out.
  5. If you have any kind of eye pain or discomfort – don’t wear your contacts (and go see your eye doctor, of course). Contact lenses often make eye problems worse.
  6. Know the wear schedules of your contacts. Whether it’s daily disposables, weekly disposables, or extended use lenses, make sure to swap out your lenses accordingly.

Ready for contacts? Dr. Gregor specializes in fitting contacts for hard-to-fit patients. Schedule an appointment online today for a contact lens exam and fitting!

Photo credit: andy.simmons via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Posted in Blog, Eye Care | Tagged , , , ,

How Your Eyes Change Over Time

How Your Eyes Change Over Time

As the years fly by, we all get a little older and a little wiser. Unfortunately, just like the rest of our bodies, our eyes can go through some big changes as we age. Some of these changes are totally natural and can easily be corrected with glasses or routine procedures. However, there’re some age-related conditions that are more serious, which can greatly impact your quality of life.

So what are the natural changes? For starters, most people over the age of 40 will start to experience presbyopia. That’s just the fancy medical term to say your eyes are getting older and your near vision is not so clear. Presbyopia is unavoidable and comes with the territory of growing older. Luckily, your vision can be corrected with a simple pair of reading glasses. You always see cheap reading glasses at the drugstore because presbyopia is so common.

We’ve talked about cataracts in another blog. In some instances, cataracts could be an age-related condition. As you age, your lenses will naturally cloud leading to reduced vision. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent cataracts from developing as you age.

More serious age-related eye conditions include macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among American seniors. These eye conditions can usually be caught early and treated successfully, which makes your annual eye exam so important!

What can you do? The best thing you can do to prevent age-related vision problems from developing is leading a healthy and active lifestyle. A healthy diet, avoiding smoking, and getting exercise can keep your body and your eyes healthy. The most important thing you can do is to make sure you see you eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam every year.

Are you due for an eye exam? Schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Gregor today!

Posted in Eye Care, Eye Exam, Eye Health | Tagged , , , , , ,

Tips to Protect Your Eyes when Applying Makeup

eye makeup tips

We’re willing to bet just about every women, at one point in time, has poked their eye applying mascara. It comes with the territory of applying makeup so close to your eye. Other than having surgeon-like hand skills, we wanted to share a few tips to keep your eyes protected when you are getting ready to head out.

Remember the Three Month Rule
Cosmetics vary in shelf life, but when it comes to eye makeup – keep the three month rule in mind. Bacteria builds up on makeup, so reaching for fresh eye makeup every three months will help you avoid unwanted bacteria infecting your eye. Make a little note in your calendar after the first application and you’ll be able to keep any unwanted bacteria at bay.

Sharing is not Always Caring
It’s nice to share, but not for eye makeup. Everybody has different bacteria on their skin, which might not play nice with others. So it’s best to avoid sharing makeup when possible.

Watch out for Contacts
If you wear contacts, applying eye makeup can be tricky. Put in your contracts before you apply makeup so prevent any stray pieces of makeup getting between your contact and your eye. Nothing’s worse than something stuck under your contacts!

Take it Slow with Allergies
Makeup can cause allergic reactions on your skin and your eyes. Go slowly and only add one new piece of makeup at a time to your collection. That way you’ll be able to notice if something causes your allergies to freak out. And remember to always check the label ingredients that might trigger your allergies.

Clean, Clean, Clean
This might seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people forget this. Wash your hands and your face before applying makeup. Squeaky clean hands will prevent unwanted bacteria making their way to your eyes and a clean face makes application that much easier.

Is it time for your next eye exam? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Gregor online today!

Posted in Eye Care | Tagged , , , ,

What You Should Know About Cataracts

blurred vision cataracts awareness month

Did you know about 22.3 million Americans have cataracts? It’s true – cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness round the world. June is Cataracts Awareness Month, so we wanted to do our part to spread the word about this vision-stealing condition and what you can do to prevent it.

What are cataracts?

Just like a camera, your eyes use a lens to see. The lens sits just below your iris and is responsible for helping you see clearly. A cataract occurs when the proteins that make up your lens begin to clump together and cloud your lens. The clouding of your lens prevents light from passing through, which leads to vision problems and eventually blindness.

How can I prevent cataracts?

There are 3 types of cataracts: nuclear sclerotic, cortical, and posterior subcapsular. Nuclear sclerotic cataracts are most often caused by old age. Those with diabetes are at risk of developing cortical cataracts.

Posterior subcapsular cataracts have been linked to many factors including: smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, exposure to UV rays, prolonged use of steroid medications, alcoholism, eye injury, and family history.

When you look at what causes cataracts, it becomes clear that a healthy lifestyle can be the key to preventing cataracts from occurring later in life. Quitting the smoking habit, eating right, and wearing sunglasses when outdoors are small steps that you can do to keep your vision healthy for a lifetime.

What happens if I have cataracts?

If you have been having vision problems, go see your optometrist. Optometrists are specialized in detecting and managing ocular diseases. Cataracts, like other ocular diseases, will not simply go away.

Vision can be restored through cataracts surgery, but only your eye doctors will be able to determine if you are good candidate for surgery.

If you are having vision problems, schedule an appointment online today with Dr. Gregor.

Posted in Eye Care, Eye Health, optometry | Tagged , , , , ,

Contact Wearer’s Guide to Summer

contact-lens-guide-for-the-summer

Summer is a busy time for most us. Between trips to the pool, outside shopping trips, vacations to the beach, and exercising outside, there is a lot of fun to have. If you are a contact lens wearer, you know all the summer fun can leave your contacts feeling dry and uncomfortable. So what can you do?

The good news is that with a little know how and preparation you can have you eyes feeling great throughout the summer months. Here’s your contact wearer’s guide to the summer:

The first rule is the most obvious – wear sunglasses. We’ve talked about how sunglasses are your first line of defense to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. UV rays can cause eye stain, making your eyes likely to dry out. Contacts can sometimes make your eyes more sensitive to light. So pick up a pair of UV blocking sunglasses and never leave home without them!

Just as you shouldn’t leave home without your sunglasses, the same goes for lubricating eye drops. The discomfort of dry eye and dry contacts will only get worse. A few drops of lubricating drops can go a long way in making your eyes feel great no matter your summer adventure may be. (Make sure you get the drops labeled for contacts lens use!)

Contacts don’t play well with water, especially pool, sea, and lake water. If your contacts don’t fall out in the water, you’ll likely dry them out because of the salt levels of pool water and seawater. Next time you are going for a swim, remember to pack your goggles (you can even get prescription goggles).

Consider a switch to single-use contracts. Single-use contacts are perfect for the summer because you get a fresh pair every day, so you don’t have to worry about dry contacts. If you are swimming in a lake, single-use contacts are another great option. Lake water contains bacteria, which can latch on and grow on your contacts. Having a fresh pair of contacts will prevent bacteria being on your eye for long periods of time.

Want to learn more about single use contacts, sunglasses, or how to prep for your summer adventures? Visit Gregor Eye Care in Overland Park or schedule an appointment online today.

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Why Sunglasses aren’t just for Looking Fashionable

sunglasses

Sunglasses make everybody look cool and fashionable, but there is much more to sunglasses than fashion. Sunglasses are your first line of protection against sunlight and harmful UV rays that come with it.

Did you know extended exposure to UV rays has been linked to ocular diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts, and more? It’s important to protect your eyes from UV rays year-round, but it is even more important in the summer when the sunlight is intense and prolonged.

Sunglasses are an often overlooked accessory because “nice” sunglasses are thought to be expensive and an unnecessary cost. People often think they can get the same level of protection from cheap sunglasses. While there are some cheap options that protect your eyes – not all sunglasses are created equal. Look for sunglasses that are rated to block out 99 to 100% UVA and UVB radiation.

Kids Need Shades Too

Kids spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer, which exposes their eyes to long hours of UV rays. The truth is your child’s eyes are more sensitive to harmful UV rays than adult eyes – so protect your child’s eyes early and often. Stop by Gregor Eye Care and we’ll help you find the perfect sunglasses for your child.

Ready to get a fresh pair of shades? Schedule an appointment today with our optical stylists to shop our collection of designer sunglasses.

Posted in Eye Care, Style | Tagged , , , , ,

Understanding Dry Eye

dry eye

Dry eye is one of the most common eye problems our patients report. In fact, about five million American 50 years of age and older are estimated to have dry eye. Dry eye is common with old age, but there are many other factors that cause dry eye – even for the young and fit. So what exactly is dry eye and where does it come from?

What is dry eye?

Tears are not just for holding back when you run your toe into the coffee table – they are vital to your eye health and your comfort. When your eyes stop producing natural tears to hydrate themselves, you experience dry eye.

This can lead to swelling and inflammation on the surface of your eye, which can cause a host of problems if left untreated. Pain, scars on the cornea, ulcers, and in extreme cases partial loss of vision can occur. No need to get overly concerned – dry eye can easily be managed with the help of your optometrist.

Why dry eye?

When you come to your optometrist looking for help with your dry eye, the first thing she will do is figure out the source of your dry eye. Dry eye be the result of various factors – maybe even a combination of factors. Common causes for dry eye are:

  • Age
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Eye disease
  • Inflammation
  • Medications
  • Contact lens wear

What Can I Do?

If you think you are experiencing dry eye, there is no need to panic. Simply schedule an appointment with Dr. Gregor. We’ll be able to determine the proper treatment plan and work with you every step of the way to keep your eyes healthy and feeling great!

Posted in Eye Care, Optometrist

How to Make Your Vision Last a Lifetime

lifetime of healthy vision

May is Healthy Vision Month! Together with the National Eye Institute, we are dedicated to spreading the word about ways to keep your eyes and your vision in top shape.

Unfortunately, most people only consider their vision health once a year – when they come in for an annual eye exam. Annual eye exams are well and good, but there is much more than goes into keeping your vision healthy for a lifetime.

We encourage you to take these important steps to protect your sight for a lifetime of clear vision.

Get a dilated eye exam. Getting a dilated eye exam is the only way to detect eye diseases early, because with many, there are no warning signs. If you are due for an eye exam, schedule an appointment online today. If you want to see what your eye care professional sees during a dilated eye exam, check out NEI’s new eye exam animation!

Live a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, managing chronic conditions, and not smoking can lower your risk of eye disease.

Know your family history. Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease, since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease yourself.

Use protective eyewear. Protect your eyes when doing chores around the house, playing sports, or on the job to prevent eye injuries from happening. This includes wearing safety glasses, goggles, safety shields, and eye guards that are made of polycarbonate.

Wear sunglasses. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation, so you can keep your eyes healthy. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can increase your risk for getting an eye disease. A wide-brimmed hat offers great protection, too!

Want more healthy vision tips? Read more from the Gregor Eye Care blog.

Posted in Eye Care, Eye Exam, Eye Health | Tagged , , , ,

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