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Coronavirus and Your Eyes – What You Should Know

As coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, health professionals are demanding that people limit their personal risk of contracting the virus by thoroughly washing their hands, practicing social distancing, and not touching their nose, mouth, or eyes. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that the eyes play an important role in spreading COVID-19.

Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through droplets that an infected person sneezes or coughs out. These droplets can easily enter your body through the mucous membranes on the face, such as your nose, mouth, and yes — your eyes.

But First, What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, causes mild to severe respiratory illness associated with fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms typically appear within 2 weeks of exposure. Those with acute cases of the virus can develop pneumonia and other life-threatening complications.

Here’s what you should know:

Guard Your Eyes Against COVID-19

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes. Although we all engage in this very normal habit, try to fight the urge to touch your eyes. If you absolutely must, first wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Tears carry the virus. Touching tears or a surface where tears have fallen can spread coronavirus. Make sure to wash your hands after touching your eyes and throughout the day as well.
  • Disinfect surfaces. You can catch COVID-19 by touching an object or surface that has the virus on it, such as a door knob, and then touching your eyes.

Coronavirus and Pink Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, refers to an inflammation of the membrane covering the front of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis is characterized by red, watery, and itchy eyes. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing and sneezing, too.

According to a recent study in China, viral conjunctivitis may be a symptom of COVID-19. The study found conjunctival congestion in 9 of the 1,099 patients (0.8%) who were confirmed to have coronavirus.

If you suspect you have pink eye, call your eye doctor in Oswego right away. Given the current coronavirus crisis, we ask patients to call prior to presenting themselves at the office of Ronald Weingart, OD, Vasana Lerdvoratavee, OD and Chula Lerdvoratavee, OD, as it will allow the staff to assess your condition and adequately prepare for your visit.

Contact Lenses or Eyeglasses?

Many people who wear contact lenses are thinking about switching to eyeglasses for the time being to lower the threat of being infected with coronavirus.

Wearing glasses may provide an extra layer of protection if someone coughs on you; hopefully that infected droplet will hit the lens and not your eye. However, one must still be cautious, as the virus can reach the eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms around your frames. Unlike specialized safety goggles, glasses are not considered a safe way to prevent coronavirus.

Contact Lenses and COVID-19

If you wear contacts, make sure to properly wash your hands prior to removing or inserting them. Consider ordering a 3 to 6 month supply of contact lenses and solution; some opticals provide home delivery of contact lenses and solutions. At this stage there is no recommendation to wear daily lenses over monthlies.

Don’t switch your contact lens brand or solution, unless approved by your optometrist or optician.

Regularly Disinfect Glasses

Some viruses such as coronavirus, can remain on hard surfaces from several hours to days. This can then be transmitted to the wearer’s fingers and face. People who wear reading glasses for presbyopia should be even more careful, because they usually need to handle their glasses more often throughout the day, and older individuals tend to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications. Gently wash the lenses and frames with warm water and soap, and dry your eyeglasses using a microfiber cloth.

Stock up on Eye Medicine

It’s a good idea to stock up on important medications, including eye meds, in order to get by in case you need to be quarantined or if supplies run short. This may not be possible for everyone due to insurance limitations. If you cannot stock up, make sure to request a refill as soon as you’re due and never wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy.

It is important that you continue to follow your doctor’s instructions for all medications.

Digital Devices and Eyestrain

At times like this, people tend to use digital devices more than usual. Take note of tiredness, sore eyes, blurry vision, double vision or headaches, which are symptoms of computer vision syndrome if they are exacerbated by extensive use of digital devices, and might indicate a need for a new prescription in the near future. This usually isn’t urgent, but if you’re unsure, you can call our eye doctor’s office.

Children and Digital Devices

During this time your children may end up watching TV and using computers, tablets and smartphones more frequently and for more extended periods too. Computer vision syndrome, mentioned above, can affect children as well. We recommend limiting screen time to a maximum of 2 hours per day for children, though it’s understandably difficult to control under the circumstances.

Try to get your child to take a 10 to 15 minute break every hour, and stop all screen time for at least 60 minutes before sleep.

Children and Outdoor Play

Please follow local guidelines and instructions regarding outdoor activities for your children. If possible, it’s actually good for visual development to spend 1-2 hours a day outside.

From all of us at Scott Eye Care in Oswego, we wish you good health and please stay safe.

Top 8 Lighting Tips for People With Low Vision

You’ve got Low Vision and you need some ways of minimizing the effects on your daily activities. One of the best ways to do this is with lighting. Changing the lighting in your home or office can make a significant, positive impact on your functional vision.
Check out Ronald Weingart, OD‘s tips for making life with Low Vision more manageable.

Home Is Where the Light Is

Older Woman with Low Vision, Posing with Adult Daughter

Home may be where the heart is, but the lighting is pretty important, too. You may have fixtures that are elegant and classy, fun and colorful, or basic and functional. But no matter how they look on the outside, the bulbs inside are central to how you spend your days and nights.

Using brighter bulbs can give you better vision clarity, so that you can easily maneuver around the things in your home. Using dimmer bulbs may help prevent uncomfortable reactions to strong lights and glare, or simply make it easier to recognize the faces of the people around you.

What’s Your Type?

Thanks to advancements in technology and interior design, there are various types of lighting to choose from without compromising on style, décor, or functionality
Let’s briefly review the 4 most common types of light bulbs:

Incandescent: Although close to natural sunlight, this type of light tends to be concentrated on a few areas, leaving others in a bit of shadow or glare. It is also no longer mass produced since the mid-2000’s when more energy efficient bulbs hit the market.

Halogen: A type of incandescent bulb that is more energy efficient with a longer life. It provides a strong light with great illumination in a room and is best for viewing contrast between objects, images, and surroundings.

Fluorescent: A happy combination of brightness and safety, these bulbs are manufactured in a variety of brightness levels and colors. They are used in both commercial and residential spaces and in the outdoors and indoors, so they offer a lot of versatility.

LEDs: Perhaps the most popular type of lighting due to its many applications, Light-Emitting Diodes (or LEDs, for short) are the most energy

efficient and longest-lasting bulbs on the market. They are best used for when you need light concentrated on a certain spot for a specific function or task. They also come in a variety of colors and designs.

In addition to choosing the right light bulbs, it’s important to understand the difference between lux, lumens, wattage, and CRI (Color Rendering Index). That’s because they can have a big impact on the quality of life for people with vision difficulties Lux is a way of measuring how intense a light is, also known as ‘illumination’. For example, a typical living room probably has 50 lux, while a grocery store or shopping mall may have closer to 750 lux.Grandmother with Low Vision, Wearing Eyeglasses Lumen means how much light is emitted from a particular lighting source. The higher the lumen, the brighter the light. Wattage is the amount of energy that a product consumes, similar to a mobile phone battery’s usage.
Color Rendering Index, or CRI, is how a lighting source displays color when compared to natural light. So you may see something in

the sunlight that looks dark green, while in artificial light, it may appear a much brighter shade of green.
Both Lux and CRI are the most important factors for your lighting needs because they affect how you see the world.

Keep Doing What You Love

With Macular Degeneration and other eye diseases, it’s essential to use different kinds of lighting for the things you do every day, like reading, writing, watching TV, going online, shopping, or cooking. Bright lights may work best for doing housework, while low lights may be the most comfortable for reading or watching TV.

Ronald Weingart, OD will be happy to recommend the light bulbs that are the most comfortable for doing the things you love.

Timing Is Everything

Day or night can make a huge difference in your Low Vision lighting needs. For example, putting your living room lights on a timer so that the lights go on in the evenings and off before going to sleep makes your life just a little bit easier. Automatic dimmers let you control the brightness of lights, while smart sensors or motion-detectors can turn on or off simply by walking near them.

Maybe It’s The Lamp

When you need light to view something close up, try using a swivel lamp. It lets you move the light exactly where you’d like it to be. Flexible floor lamps give the right amount of illumination without causing eye strain or headaches, especially helpful for Glaucoma patients. Special Low Vision lamps let you control magnification, position, or even the color of the light, from a soft yellowish white to a brighter pure white.

Mimic The Sun

Senior Woman with Low Vision, Wearing Eyeglasses

Natural sunlight can be either beneficial or harmful for Low Vision patients, depending on how mild or severe their case may be. For some, sunlight

can be helpful when reading a book or writing. For those with sensitivity to light, the brightness can cause a glare or pain. In these cases, patients should use lamps that simulate sunlight, without the harmful side effects.

 

Don’t Leave Home Without It

It’s a fast-paced world out there. Take your lighting devices with you! A small pen light can help you read a menu in a dark restaurant, find your keys in a parking garage, or open the door when coming home at night. Even in brighter light, a handheld lighting device can give you a small, focused light wherever and whenever you need it most.

Distance Makes The Light Grow Fonder

Many Low Vision patients have trouble with distance vision. Viewing an image or object from a distance is just as important as the level of brightness in the room. That’s why it’s necessary to use Low Vision lighting tools that are completely adjustable so they aren’t placed at a fixed distance. Being able to move the neck of a desk lamp, for instance, makes it easier to see a book or photo with greater clarity.

Go ahead and try these lighting tips to help your day-to-day functioning with Low Vision. Ronald Weingart, OD can tell you where to buy these kinds of light bulbs and devices. If you have any questions or concerns, speak with our staff at Low Vision of Fox Valley and we’ll be glad to help.

For A Free Phone Consultation Call 833-933-0052

Trouble Seeing Your Grandkids' Faces?
Low Vision Devices Can Help

Are you frustrated that your poor vision is it getting in the way of life?
Is it hard to do simple things, such as seeing your adorable grandchildren's facesolder woman w glasses

You’re not alone. Many people develop vision problems later in life, which can be difficult and overwhelming. Your vision problems may become so severe that you become dependent on those around you to perform simple tasks. For those who are accustomed to an active and independent life, this is very challenging.

However, there’s no need to suffer. Our eye clinic carries low vision devices to help you see again.

What Is Low Vision?

Low vision generally refers to vision impairment that can’t be corrected fully with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, medications, or surgical procedures. Low vision means significant vision loss, but does not include complete blindness.

People that have low vision are often classified into two groups: partially sighted and legally blind. Those that are considered partially sighted have visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/200 with the aid of corrective lenses. Those that are considered legally blind have visual acuity that is no better than 20/200 with regular corrective lenses.

What Are The Causes Of Low Vision?

The major culprits of low vision problems are age-related retinal conditions. Cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, cancer of the eye, stroke, eye injury or trauma, albinism, or brain injury can cause low vision.

What Are The Symptoms Of Low Vision?

Possible symptoms include blurred or hazy vision, night blindness, loss of central vision, and loss of peripheral vision.

What To Do Now

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Low vision eye diseases such as macular degeneration or glaucoma, while not completely curable, can be treated by our experts. Our low vision doctors have the latest technologies, low vision aids, and glasses to help you see again. Inexpensive optical and non-optical aids, as well as electronic and digital magnifiers, can be extremely effective in treating low vision.

Act Now

Having trouble seeing your grandkids can be a tough and painful experience. We can help! Contact us today at to see how we can help you regain your independence and start living life to the fullest. Our low vision center offers patients low vision aids and glasses that will improve your vision and give you healthy and happy eyes.

For A Free Phone Consultation Call 833-933-0052