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8 Ways to Prevent Common Eye Drop Mistakes

Woman Putting in Eye Drops 1280×480 e1524035985163Whether used to treat dry eye, allergies, conjunctivitis, ocular inflammation, or glaucoma, eye drops are among the most common products found in household medicine cabinets. Eye drops may also be prescribed following eye surgery in order to prevent infection or reduce inflammation.

To get the greatest benefit from eye drops, you need to use them properly. If used incorrectly or overused, eye drops can actually damage eye health.

If you’re struggling to use your eye drops as directed, don’t give up! Just follow these simple tips to obtain the greatest benefit from your eye drops and to minimize any side effects.

Tips For Properly Using Eye Drops

 

  1. Always read the label.
    You wouldn’t believe how many people mistakenly put the wrong product into their eyes. Eye drop bottles may easily get mixed up with ear drops or other medications. Such mix-ups can potentially damage your eyes, and even result in chemical burns.
  2. Remove contact lenses before applying eye drops
    It’s rather common for people to forget to remove their contacts prior to applying eye drops. This is problematic, because contact lenses interfere with the distribution of the drops, drastically reducing their effectiveness. Keep in mind that you should wait at least 20 minutes after administering the drops before reinserting your contact lenses. That way, you prevent any eye drop residue from adhering to the lenses.
  3. Apply one drop at a time
    When you apply drops in quick succession, you’re wasting your drops, since applying them too quickly pushes out the first drops before they have a chance to be absorbed. If the instructions on the label say that you need to apply two drops, apply a single drop, wait a few minutes, and then apply the next one.
  4. Apply drops on the center of the eye
    When applying eye drops, aim for the middle part of the eye. Targeting the inner part will lead the drops to collect near your nose and drip down your face.
  5. Avoid blinking your eyes vigorously after applying eye dropsInstead, gently close your eyes for a few moments or blink as you normally would. By blinking vigorously, you will end up pushing the eye drops out of your eye.
  6. Keep eye drops in your eye to prevent side-effects
    Your tears drain through a small canal into the back of the nose, which has many blood vessels.
    When you apply eye drops to your eye, the drops can enter the tear system and rapidly absorb into the bloodstream. To prevent this from happening, place pressure on the lower tear ducts (situated by the bridge of the nose) after applying the drops.
    Doing so will help reduce any potential side-effects, such as an increase in blood sugar or blood pressure (in the case of topical steroid drops).
  7. Avoid having the tip of the bottle touch your eye
    Always make sure you hold the bottle at least 1 inch away from your eye. If the tip does touch the eye, it may lead to infection, as the bacteria from your eye can contaminate the solution.
  8. Don’t mix eye drops
    If you have multiple prescriptions or use over-the-counter drops, apply them at different times during the day. Combining too many drops at once may reduce their effectiveness.

Though applying eye drops may seem like a straightforward task, not everyone does it right. If you have questions or are having difficulty applying eye drops, speak with Dr. David Mark at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians in today.

Did You Know That 20% of People Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

jen theodore pSGmANK36LQ unsplashEver heard the saying “to sleep with one eye open”? It’s generally used as a metaphor when advising one to stay vigilant. But sleeping with eyes open is a common eye and sleep disorder known as nocturnal lagophthalmos. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation estimates that about 1 in 5 people sleep with their eyes open.

This condition is problematic because it can interfere with sleep and impact eye health. People may not get as much sleep, or sleep as soundly as they’d like, due to the pain and discomfort caused by the eyes drying out during the night.

Nocturnal lagophthalmos generally indicates an underlying medical condition, such as a thyroid problem or an autoimmune disorder. If upon waking you experience irritated, dry, tired, red, or painful eyes, or if you suspect you might be sleeping with your eyes open, speak with Dr. David Mark at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians today.

What Happens When You Sleep With Your Eyes Open?

People who have nocturnal lagophthalmos may not even know they have it. It is difficult to evaluate whether your eyes are closed when you’re actually asleep. However, some important indicators may point to the condition, including:

  • Eyes that feel scratchy, irritated and dry
  • Blurred vision
  • Red eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Tired eyes

For those with nocturnal lagophthalmos, the eye loses the protection of a closed lid and becomes dehydrated, causing the tear layer to evaporate and the eyes to become dry. Nocturnal lagophthalmos also reduces the eye’s ability to discharge contaminants such as dust and debris that fall into the eye during the night. These contaminants can potentially lead to:

  • Eye infections
  • Corneal damage, such as corneal abrasion, sores and ulcers
  • Eye dryness and irritation
  • Poor quality sleep
  • Loss of vision

Why Do We Close Our Eyes to Sleep?

There are several reasons why it’s important to close our eyes while we sleep. Closed eyelids block light, which stimulates the brain to wakefulness.

Closing our eyes also protects and lubricates the eyes while we sleep. If your eyelids don’t close, your eyes become more susceptible to dryness, infections, and debris that can scratch and damage the cornea.

Why do Certain People Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

There are a number of reasons people might sleep with their eyes open. The most common reasons for nocturnal lagophthalmos include:

Problems With Facial Nerves and Muscles

Issues with facial nerves and muscles surrounding the eyelid can cause the lid to remain open during sleep. Weakness in facial nerves can be attributed to several factors.

 

  • Injury or trauma
  • Stroke
  • Tumor
  • Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes temporary paralysis or weakness of facial

muscles.

  • Autoimmune disorders and infections, such as Lyme disease, chickenpox, Guillain-Barre syndrome, mumps, and several others.
  • Moebius syndrome, a rare condition that causes problems with cranial nerves.

Damaged Eyelids

Eyelids can become damaged as a result of surgery, injury or illness, making it difficult to fully close the eyes during sleep. Furthermore, a condition known as floppy eyelid syndrome can also interfere with eye closure, and is often associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is commonly linked to eye diseases like glaucoma and optic neuropathy.

Thyroid-Related Eye Problems

A common symptom of Grave’s disease, a form of hypothyroidism, is protruding eyes. The bulging eyes, known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy, can prevent the eyes from closing.

Genetics

There also tends to be a genetic component to nocturnal lagophthalmos, as it often runs in families. Whatever the cause, the symptoms of nocturnal lagophthalmos are uncomfortable and the consequences can lead to ocular complications.

Can Nocturnal Lagophthalmos Be Treated?

This condition can be treated in several ways, depending on the underlying cause and severity of symptoms. Treatments include:

  • Administering artificial tears throughout the day, providing a film of moisture around the eyes that protects them at night.
  • Wearing an eye mask or goggles to protect the eyes from external debris and visual stimulation. These items are uniquely designed to generate moisture for the eyes while you sleep.
  • Using a humidifier, which provides a moisture-rich environment to prevent your eyes from drying out.
  • Wearing eyelid weights to help keep the eyelids closed.
  • In acute cases, surgery may be recommended.

Make sure to consult your eye doctor before undertaking any of these treatments.

Because nocturnal lagophthalmos sometimes signals an underlying condition, it is especially important to contact Dr. David Mark at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians in Sunnyvale for a proper diagnosis and to receive prompt treatment. If nocturnal lagophthalmos is left untreated for an extended period, patients risk seriously damaging their eyes and vision.

When Routine Eye Exams Return 

woman wearing a mask 640When stay-at-home restrictions begin to lift in many areas, optometry practices will open their doors for routine care, and eye exams for glasses, contact lenses, and eye surgery will be offered once again.

Practices are implementing strict precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to ensure everyone’s safety. Below are a few of the changes you should expect when you come in for your eye exam.

Expect the Following Changes at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians

Silicon Valley Eye Physicians in Sunnyvale has strict protocols in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other infections. You should expect the following during your next appointment:

  • Your optometrist will wear a face mask, gloves, and eye shield or face-covering safety shield, while patients will be required to wear a face mask.
  • You will need to wash or disinfect your hands upon entering the practice, as well as when you enter different rooms.
  • Packed waiting rooms will be a thing of the past. We will be spacing out seating to reduce capacity, and scheduling appointments to limit patient interaction.
  • If you aren’t feeling well or have been in contact with someone who is ill, we ask you to let us know prior to your visit, and we will postpone your appointment by two to three weeks.
  • We will space out appointments in a way that will allow our staff to sterilize office fixtures and equipment before and after each patient’s visit. Exam rooms will be completely disinfected between appointments.
  • We will frequently wipe down counters, chairs, equipment, and doorknobs. In the dispensary, eyeglass frames will be promptly disinfected after use.
  • We will utilize a large shield during the slit lamp part of the exam, which requires the nearest doctor-to-patient contact. The protective shield will prevent respiratory droplets from being spread. (The slit lamp shines light into the patient’s eye, enabling Dr. David Mark to examine the internal health of your eye.)

The only constant in life is change. COVID-19 has led to rapid changes across most industries, and optometry is no exception. We continue to adapt to this new reality, to ensure that our patients receive the care they need, in comfort and safety. .

Is your vision blurred? Are you seeing spots or floaters? Are your glasses broken? Do you need contact lenses? Contact Silicon Valley Eye Physicians in Sunnyvale today for help.

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