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Dr. Dulce Walker, O. D.
Optometrist

8205 Spain NE, Ste 207
Albuquerque, NM 87109

For a free phone consultation call 505-453-4914
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Year: 2020

What Causes Low Vision And Blindness In Children?

Low Vision And Blindness In Children 640×350Every year, more than half a million children suffer from low vision or blindness in North America. Having impaired vision makes it difficult to read, play sports, participate in social events, and recognize faces. Low vision can also make it difficult to navigate outdoors, especially on crowded sidewalks and busy streets.

Often, the first signs of low vision can manifest as a child appearing clumsy or inattentive, when the true problem lies in their vision.

We understand how impaired vision can adversely impact a child’s life, and we’re here to help. Our low vision doctors offer a variety of helpful strategies vision aids that can help maximize your child’s remaining vision, thus ensuring the highest quality of life under the circumstances.

Read on to learn about some common causes of low vision and blindness in children and discover how a low vision optometrist can help children with impaired vision live their best lives.

Leading Causes of Pediatric Low Vision and Blindness

Albinism

Albinism is an inherited condition that affects melanin production. Melanin is the pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes that gives each person their own unique coloring. Some people with albinism have very little melanin, while others have no melanin at all.

Aside from making a person look different on the outside, albinism can also affect how the eyes function. Healthy amounts of melanin are used in the development of the retina (light sensitive lining at the back of the eye). Reduced amounts of melanin in the eyes, or none at all, can cause a range of vision problems including:

  • Poor eyesight — nearsightedness or farsightedness
  • Low vision — irreversible vision loss
  • Astigmatism — where the clear part at the front of the eye (cornea) isn’t curved correctly or the lens is abnormally shaped, causing blurred vision
  • Photophobia — light sensitivity
  • Nystagmus — involuntary, rapid eye movements
  • Squint — eyes pointing in different directions

Vision problems associated with albinism last a lifetime, but typically don’t worsen over time.

Pediatric Cataracts

A cataract is the opacity or cloudiness that occurs in the eye’s lens, which is crystal clear in a healthy eye. Some cataracts are small and won’t interfere with vision, while others are large and can cause severe vision loss.

An estimated 3 out of 10,000 children have cataracts. Common causes of pediatric cataracts are genetics, infections, and abnormal lens development in utero. Not all cataracts interfere with vision, as some are small or on the outer edges of the lens. If a cataract interferes with the child’s vision, it should be surgically removed as soon as safely possible.

Pediatric Glaucoma

Pediatric glaucoma (also referred to as childhood or infantile glaucoma) is generally diagnosed before a child’s first birthday. Glaucoma causes an increase in the eye’s internal pressure, which can lead to permanent optic nerve damage. Aside from vision loss, symptoms of pediatric glaucoma include enlarged eyes, photosensitivity (light-sensitivity), excessive tearing, and cloudiness in the cornea. In many cases, childhood glaucoma can be effectively managed and treated.

Retinal Diseases

Certain retinal diseases, like Stargardt macular dystrophy, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), Usher syndrome, Leber congenital amaurosis, and Bardet-Biedl syndrome can cause low vision or blindness in children. Children with these retinal diseases should be closely monitored by a low vision optometrist as the condition progresses.

Ocular Trauma

Ocular trauma is a leading cause of acquired monocular blindness (blindness affecting one eye) among children. According to a study published in The Journal of Ophthalmology, about a quarter of a million children are treated for serious ocular trauma yearly in the USA alone. Up to 14% of those cases resulted in visual impairment or blindness. Whenever possible, ensure that your child is wearing protective eyewear when doing certain crafts, playing sports, or engaging in any activity that could pose a risk to their eyes.

How a Low Vision Optometrist Can Help

Many children with vision loss can live full and independent lives. While we may not be able to restore lost vision, we do offer several low vision aids and devices that can help maximize a child’s usable vision. This will enable the child to make the most of their sight, continue to function as independently as possible, and not miss out on the joys of being a kid.

If you have a child with low vision, contact Low Vision of New Mexico today. We can help.

Low Vision of New Mexico serves patients from Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and Los Alamos, throughout New Mexico.

REFERENCES

Why Do Colors Appear Less Vibrant?

colors 640You’re deciding which clothes to wear, but wonder why their bright colors suddenly seem subdued. Or perhaps they look faded with your right eye but not your left eye.

Odd, right?

Not seeing colors the way you used to is often a symptom of optical problems, especially as we age. Let’s take a look at some of these diseases and explore ways a low vision eye doctor can help you improve or at least maximize your vision.

Cataracts occur when protein deposits accumulate on the eye’s crystalline lens and turn it opaque. Once-clear vision becomes cloudy and colors begin to fade.

The good news is that cataract surgery is a very safe procedure that replaces your cloudy lens with a new, clear lens. If you’ve had cataract surgery to restore clear vision, you’ll notice right away that colors appear much brighter than before. A few years after cataract surgery, some patients notice that colors may start to appear subdued. This is normal and can be treated very quickly using a laser procedure.

Glaucoma results from high pressure build-up inside the eye, which damages the optic nerve, reduces vision and can lead to blindness. Color-vision deficiency — the inability to tell certain colors apart — can be one of the signs that glaucoma is starting to affect the eyes.

The difficulty in distinguishing between blue and yellow colours is often associated with early glaucoma, whereas red-green deficiencies are generally associated with advanced glaucoma. However, there are times when it is difficult to measure or quantify acquired color vision deficiency, and color tests performed with standardized color test charts frequently characterize it as combined or nonspecific color vision deficiency.

Macular degeneration primarily affects older people by causing a deterioration of the macula, the center of the retina. This leads to blurriness and significant vision loss. Experiencing difficulty distinguishing between similar colors and hues is an early sign of the condition.

Optic neuritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the myelin coating on nerve fibers, causing blurriness and partial vision loss in one or both eyes. Colors, especially shades of red, become subdued, and it becomes harder to distinguish against a similarly colored background. Fortunately, the condition is usually temporary.

Diabetic retinopathy affects people with diabetes when high blood-sugar levels damage blood vessels in the retina. This causes these tiny blood vessels to swell, leak fluid, or close, and can even cause abnormal new blood vessels to grow. These new vessels are very fragile and prone to being damaged. Symptoms often include fading colors, blurriness, vision loss, and more.

What to Do When Color-Related Difficulties and Other Visual Symptoms Arise

If you notice that your color vision is reduced, you may be in the early stages of a range of eye diseases. It is important for any eye condition to be diagnosed and treated early on so it can be effectively treated.

If these eye diseases are not managed early, the color-related problems you’re experiencing could worsen, eventually affecting your vision permanently, resulting in what is known as low vision. Low vision indicates that your vision has deteriorated to a point which makes your everyday tasks challenging and can negatively impact your quality of life.

If you notice that colors are diminished or you are experiencing other worrying symptoms affecting your vision, immediately consult Dr. Dulce Walker. We will examine you by:

  • Dilating your pupils
  • Evaluating your visual acuity
  • Providing a visual field examination
  • Providing a colour vision assessment
  • Conducting eye pressure tests

The sooner we identify the underlying cause behind your reduced color vision, the sooner you will be able to start treatment to improve or maximize your vision.

Low Vision of New Mexico helps patients in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Los Alamos, and throughout New Mexico.

References

How to Know If You’re at Risk for Glaucoma

happy senior outside 640×350Glaucoma is a dangerous eye condition that can cause blindness. The condition occurs when fluids in the eye put pressure on the optic nerve. It is a leading cause of blindness worldwide, with more than 3 million cases in North America alone.

By testing your vision, dilating your pupils, examining your eyes, and testing your eye pressure, Dr. Dulce Walker can detect whether you have glaucoma. Additional tests can determine whether your peripheral vision has declined.

Because glaucoma’s early stages affect the peripheral nerves in your retina, your side vision is damaged before your central vision. Furthermore, as this nerve damage is almost always pain-free, often this condition is discovered only after causing irreversible vision loss. While glaucoma’s effects can be managed, its damage is permanent.

Be Aware of the Risk Factors

You should be alert to the dangers of glaucoma, especially if you:

  • are over 40 years old
  • are African American or Hispanic
  • have diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell anemia, or high blood pressure
  • have a family history of glaucoma
  • sustained an eye injury
  • have extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness
  • have used corticosteroid medications
  • notice any vision loss

How Do I Know if I Have Glaucoma?

Contact Dr. Dulce Walker at Low Vision of New Mexico, who will dilate the pupil of your eyes and perform a comprehensive eye examination to determine whether you have the condition. If you do, we will start treatment immediately, usually by prescribing eye medications to prevent the glaucoma from worsening, and schedule follow-up visits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a thorough dilated eye exam by age 40 to catch glaucoma and other eye diseases early.

Other proactive steps the CDC advises to prevent glaucoma include:

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • monitoring your blood pressure
  • staying active
  • not smoking

 

Low Vision of New Mexico treats patients with glaucoma — and people at risk for it — in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Los Alamos, and throughout New Mexico.

References

The 3rd Person in the Exam Room

adult woman with senior womanMany of the people who enter our offices seeking low vision care do so with a mixture of anxiety and trepidation. By the time we see them they will have already tried over-the-counter reading glasses, a variety of routine eyeglass prescriptions, hand-held magnifiers, and probably retinal treatments and AREDS vitamins — often to no avail.

Not only has their vision not improved, but they have been repeatedly told by their physician that “nothing more can be done,” at least from a medical perspective.

Eager for solutions, they reach out to Low Vision of New Mexico to give it one more try, often accompanied by a friend or loved one.

We recognize how important it is for many patients to have a “3rd person in the exam room.” Having a support person can be invaluable for the patient, in a variety of ways, by providing emotional support and guidance during and after visits to the practice. This support person can be a significant other, spouse, partner, adult child, aide, or caregiver.

Reasons to Have a Support Person Present at the Low Vision Evaluation

There are many reasons for having that third person in the room. One of them is the familiarity that helps calm the patient’s anxieties. Furthermore, even if a patient’s memory is intact, they rarely remember all the suggestions and recommendations discussed during the doctor’s visit — something a support person can help with.

The support person may be able to fill in any missing information regarding the patient’s visual needs and medical history if the patient isn’t able to do so.

Accompanying the patient to exams can give the support person a deeper understanding of the patient’s visual capabilities and limitations. They may be dismayed at the patient’s poor vision during the eye chart testing or elated to discover that the patient has usable vision that can be enhanced with the use of low vision aids and devices.

The “3rd person” can act as a cheerleader, encouraging the patient to try activities they thought were beyond their visual abilities. They can encourage the patient to try telescope glasses or read small print using a microscopic lens.

The support person can also help and remind the patient to correctly follow the instructions when using the low vision aids by, for example, ensuring the patient is holding the reading material at the correct reading distance and situating the desk lamp for maximum benefit and brightness.

Bring a Support Person to Your Next Low Vision Consultation

To ensure the best outcome, we highly recommend that patients invite a support person to join them for their vision evaluations and consultations with Dr. Dulce Walker.

To learn more about how Low Vision of New Mexico can help low vision patients make the most of their vision, please contact Dr. Dulce Walker today.

We serve low vision patients from Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces,Los Alamos, all throughout New Mexico.

Reading Tips For Those With Macular Degeneration

Woman 1.7FD w Cap.KinkadeThe most serious symptom of macular degeneration (AMD) is the loss of central vision, with those in the more advanced stages of AMD experiencing a smudge or black spot in the center of their vision. This makes it difficult to read and causes many people to give up on reading.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Below you will find a list of low vision devices and strategies that can help people with AMD read more easily and comfortably.

Members of The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists are experts in determining which low vision devices will work best for you for reading.

Low Vision Devices for Reading

Reading Magnifier

Hand-held magnifiers are the most commonly used visual aids for spot reading among those with AMD and other low vision conditions. In the correct power, they are useful for reading medicine bottles, prices, labels, oven dials, etc. While you can find small pocket magnifiers, full-page illuminated magnifiers, and magnifiers that are mounted on adjustable stands, only your low vision doctor can determine exactly what power you need.

Portable Electronic Magnifiers

A portable electronic magnifier resembles an iPad or a tablet. By holding this device in front of your reading material, you can view the magnified version on its LED screen.

High-Power Reading Glasses

Strong magnifying reading eyeglasses enable a person with severe visual impairment to read the fine print. Your low vision eye doctor will determine the correct near prescription and demonstrate how they work.

Video Magnifier

Although traditional optical magnifiers, such as magnifying glasses, are generally very helpful, some people benefit more from a video magnifier. A video magnifier, or closed-circuit television (CCTV), has a camera that transmits magnified images (up to 50x or higher) and displays them on a large monitor or TV screen. You can sit as close to the screen as you like and adjust the magnification, brightness, and contrast for reading clarity.

Tele-Microscopic Glasses

Tele-microscopic lenses are mounted on the eyeglass lenses and may be prescribed for one or both eyes. They allow people with low vision to read, use a computer, write, and perform other tasks at a comfortable distance.

Certain low vision devices require a prescription from an eye doctor as they are custom-made for your specific needs. Consult Dr. Dulce Walker, who will help determine which vision aids are best for your needs, based on your lifestyle and level of vision impairment.

Other Strategies To Help You Read With Macular Degeneration

Increase in Contrast

It’s important to ensure a stark contrast between the text being read and its background. Newspapers don’t offer much contrast because the grey letters sit on an off-white background.

Many electronic screens allow you to tailor the contrast to your needs: black lettering on a white background; white lettering on a black background; black lettering on a yellow background; and yellow lettering on a dark black background. Try the different color combinations and settle on the color contrast combination that offers the best contrast for the most comfortable reading experience.

Increase Lighting

Increasing the amount and type of lighting can greatly improve reading ability in those with AMD.

Direct light. A standard table lamp usually won’t provide sufficient light for reading a book. Consider getting an adjustable gooseneck lamp that allows you to focus the light directly onto the reading material.

Sunlight. Because natural sunlight is the ideal lighting for reading, try to arrange your furniture in such a way that you can sit near a window for comfortable daytime reading.

Lightbulbs. Use the brightest light bulbs for each light fixture in the house. These include LED, halogen, and full-spectrum light bulbs (which mimics natural sunlight more than incandescent bulbs). Be careful with halogen, however, as they may create excessive heat. Replace any fluorescent lighting in the house, as it can cause glare, particularly for those with low vision. For reading, however, the best option is to use lower strength light bulbs and bring the lamp closer.

E-reader. Kindles and other e-readers conveniently include a built-in light that allows you to adjust brightness for more comfortable reading.

Large Print Books or Larger Fonts

Consider purchasing large print books online or in book shops, as they include larger fonts, more spacing and better contrast. If you opt for electronic books, you can conveniently increase the font size, rendering it easier and more enjoyable to read.

Adjust Spacing

Your electronic reading device allows you to adjust the spacing between the lines as needed. By widening the space between lines, you will find reading easier and will experience less eye strain.

Speak with Dr. Dulce Walker for more advice on reading with macular degeneration or to get low vision aids and devices.

Low Vision of New Mexico serves low vision patients in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and Los Alamos, throughout New Mexico.

 

What Services Can I Get Using Tele-Optometry?

Tele-optometry is a branch of telemedicine that can cover a wide range of problems and treatments related to vision and ocular health. Tele-medicine delivers medical care through digital medical equipment and telecommunications technology, such as online videos accessible through smart phones and tablets. This allows patients to easily receive screenings, diagnoses, prescriptions and monitoring from the comfort and safety of their home. 

Optometrists can provide virtual medical eye consultations for a variety of eye problems, including:

  • Eye infections (i.e.conjunctivitis/pink eye)
  • Itchy eyes and allergies
  • Eye pain and redness
  • Scratched eye (i.e. corneal abrasion) 
  • Flashers & floaters
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Distorted vision 
  • Dry eye syndrome 
  • Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid) 
  • Dermatitis

Other services:

  • General Consultations
  • Refractive Surgery Follow-Ups
  • New Prescriptions 
  • Prescription Refills

Which Digital Devices Can I Use For a Virtual Eye Evaluation? 

Laptop/Desktop:

You can easily do your tele-optometric visit from any laptop or desktop that’s equipped with a camera and a microphone. Having a strong internet connection will help ensure high-definition video calls.  

Smartphones/ Tablets/ iPads: 

Many smartphones, tablets, and iPads now have very high-resolution cameras, which are great for taking quality pictures and videos that doctors can use to provide a diagnosis.

How Can an Eye Doctor Diagnose Through a Digital Platform? 

The optometrist will provide a diagnosis based both on the images and the information you supply, and if the eye doctor believes that your issues require emergency care, you will be referred to a specialist to better help treat your condition. With tele-optometry, you can feel confident that you are receiving care from a licensed, practicing eye doctor from the comfort of your home. 

Will Insurance Cover My Virtual Eye Care Visit? 

In most cases insurance plans will cover telehealth visits, but to be on the safe side, we ask that you double-check with your insurance provider prior to the visit.

If you’re experiencing certain eye concerns, including red eyes, pink eye, itchy eyes, flashes, floating spots, or double vision, contact us today to receive a diagnosis and effective treatment plan. 

Make a tele-optometry appointment before going to the emergency room or urgent care clinic to avoid the wait and any potential exposure to COVID-19. Contact us at  Low Vision of New Mexico at Albuquerque to schedule your in-home eye evaluation today! 

COVID-19: Protect Your Eyes From Too Much Screen Time

You and your children are likely spending more time on mobile devices and computer screens than ever before. Too much time spent staring at screens can cause computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain, in certain people. While not serious, this condition can be very uncomfortable, potentially causing:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness

Below are some useful tips to help you and your children avoid computer vision syndrome:

Blink more! 

Staring at a screen strains the eyes more than reading printed material because people tend to blink 30-50% less. This can also cause your eyes to dry out. Be mindful of blinking and make it a habit when focusing on a screen, as it will keep your eyes healthy and lubricated.

Follow the 20-20-20 Rule 

Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object located 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Doing so will allow your eyes to relax and will give both you and your eyes some rest.

Keep your distance

Your eyes work harder to see close up than at a distance. Try keeping your monitor or screen at arm’s length, or about 25 inches away.

Lighting matters

Make sure that your surrounding light is similar in strength to the light emanating from your screen. Contrasting levels of light, such as looking at a bright screen in a dark room, can strain the eyes.

Take breaks from the screen

You may want to stipulate ‘screen free’ time for yourself and/or your children, such as during meal times or for several hours throughout the day. Engage in hobbies that don’t require a screen, such as drawing, reading books, doing puzzles, playing an instrument or cooking (among many others).

Don’t use devices before bed

Studies show that blue light may affect your body’s circadian rhythm, also known as the natural wake and sleep cycle. Stop using screens one to two hours before bedtime or use nighttime settings to minimize blue light exposure.

Although it may require a bit of planning to protect your family’s eyes during this stressful time, ultimately, it’s all about balance — and what works for you and your family may differ from others.

From all of us at Low Vision of New Mexico at Albuquerque, we wish you good health and please stay safe.

COVID-19 –  What Constitutes an Eye Care Emergency? 

coronavirus 4914026 640

An eye care emergency is defined as medical care for conditions requiring prompt medical attention due to a sudden change in ocular or visual health.

Eye trauma, chemical exposure to the eyes, foreign objects in the eye, and ocular infections are all considered eye emergencies and should be given immediate medical attention. If you have an eye emergency, it’s critical to get immediate care in order to avoid permanent damage to your vision.

While some may opt to visit an emergency room for an eye injury, research shows that most emergency room visits for eye emergencies could have been treated by an experienced optometrist. Furthermore, going to the hospital for an eye emergency during the coronavirus pandemic isn’t the fastest or safest way to treat the problem; the hospitals are already overloaded and you risk catching the virus during your visit.

Dr. Walker can offer personalized treatment for a wide range of eye emergencies and other ocular conditions. Call Low Vision of New Mexico for further instructions or call the number provided in the voicemail.

What Is an Eye Emergency?

Eye emergencies refer to any sudden onset of symptoms or obvious eye trauma that affect vision. These emergencies range from severe eye pain or vision loss to a sudden blow to the eye or chemical exposure. Call us if you experience any of the following:

  • Eye pain
  • Bleeding of the eye
  • Blood in the white of the eye
  • Swollen or bulging eye
  • Vision loss or double vision
  • New eye flashes or floaters
  • Pupils that are unequal in size
  • Severe photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Being hit in the eye
  • Bruising around the eye
  • Eye discharge
  • Suspected eye infection
  • Severe burning, stinging, itching eyes
  • Scratched or cut eye or eyelid
  • Split contact lenses in the eye
  • A piece of broken eyeglass lens in your eye
  • Foreign object stuck in the eye

If you’re uncertain whether or not your condition is an emergency, contact Low Vision of New Mexico immediately.

What Should I Do If I Have An Eye Emergency?

If you have a cut or foreign object in your eye, or if you suffered from other forms of eye trauma, DO NOT:

  • Rub your eye
  • Attempt to remove any foreign objects embedded in the eye
  • Use tweezers or swabs in your eye
  • Put any ointments or medication into your eye

First Aid for Eye Injuries

Refer to the following guidelines to prevent any long-term vision loss or eye damage.

Chemical Exposure

If a contact lens is in the eye, do not attempt to remove the contact lens using your fingers. Instead, flush saline solution or water over the lens immediately as it may dislodge the lens. Contact lenses can trap harmful chemicals against the cornea, causing unnecessary damage.

Seek emergency medical care promptly after flushing.

To avoid eye exposure to toxic or abrasive chemicals, always wear protective eyewear and use caution when handling these types of products.

Foreign Objects

Although your first instinct may be to rub your eye to get the foreign object out, try to resist the urge–as rubbing can further damage the eye.

If the object isn’t embedded in the eye, you may try to remove it by flushing it out. First, wash your hands with warm water and soap to prevent contamination or infection. Then, flush the eye thoroughly with clean water or preferably saline, if available. You can also try to induce tearing by using your fingers to gently lift the upper eyelid over the lower eyelid. Causing the eye to tear may flush out the foreign object.

If the object is visible, and not embedded on the eye, you can try to gently wipe it away with a damp, clean washcloth.

Seek immediate medical attention if the above methods do not work.

Blows to the Eye

To treat a black eye, apply a cold compress to decrease swelling and support healing. Use the compress for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, allowing the eye to rest between applications. A cold compress can be made by wrapping a bag of peas, or other soft frozen items, in a clean cloth.

Never place ice directly on the skin; use a clean cloth between the skin and ice.

Call Dr. Walker immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms after the eye is impacted:

  • Changes in vision
  • Persistent or increasing pain
  • Bleeding or any blood on the outside or inside the eye
  • Any visible difference to the appearance of your eyes

Cut or Puncture to the Eye

This type of injury always requires immediate medical care, so after you call us, make sure to follow these precautionary measures to avoid further injury:

  • Don’t attempt to remove something embedded in the eye
  • Don’t wash the eye or eyelid
  • Try to shield the eye with something protective, for example – use a pad of cotton wool as an eye shield and tape it to the surrounding eye area

If you have an eye emergency, don’t delay treatment. Timing is everything — the earlier you get treatment, the less vision damage you’ll have over the long term. Take immediate action by contacting Low Vision of New Mexico today. Dr. Walker will treat any eye emergency you have or refer you to specialized care (i.e. surgery), as needed.

Low Vision of New Mexico serves patients from Albuquerque, all throughout New Mexico.

How to Disinfect Glasses to Help Prevent COVID-19

Coronavirus and Your Eyeglasses

Did you know that our glasses (this includes the lenses and the frame) can potentially transfer viruses, such as COVID-19, to our eyes, nose, and mouth? This is because viruses — as well as bacteria —  are easily transferred from our surroundings to our hands and then from our hands to our glasses.  

In fact, research has shown that coronavirus can remain on glass surfaces for as long as 9 days. If we’re not careful, we can easily touch our glasses then touch our eyes, nose, or mouth, thus continuing the contagion cycle. 

The danger is even higher for people with presbyopia, age-related farsightedness that generally affects those aged 40 and above. Presbyopes who wear reading glasses tend to put them on and take them off several times throughout the day. What’s more worrisome is that this age group is at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.

The good news is that disinfecting your glasses is easy! Let’s delve into ways you should and should not disinfect your lenses at home. 

What NOT to Use to Cleanse Your Glasses

Many of us may have rubbing-alcohol at home, and although it may seem like a perfectly good idea to use it to disinfect your specs, we discourage you from doing so. It may be too harsh for your eyeglasses, especially if you have any special coatings on your lenses.

Other products you should stay away from include ammonia, bleach, or anything with high concentrations of acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, which can damage lens coatings and some eyewear materials. 

How to Safely Disinfect Your Glasses

Now that we’ve eliminated the substances and chemicals that should not be used on your lenses, let’s see what is safe to use to clean eyewear.

Dish Soap and Water

The absolute easiest and most efficient way to disinfect and clean your lenses is to use lukewarm water with a gentle dish soap. Massage the soap onto each lens, rinse, and dry using a microfiber cloth (not paper towels, as the fibers can easily scratch lenses). While you’re at it, don’t forget to include your frame’s nose pads and earpieces.

Lens Cleaning Wipes 

Pre-moistened lens wipes are excellent for cleaning your glasses, as well as your phone, tablet and computer screen. They remove bacteria, dust, dirt and germs from your glasses and the formula restores shine to glass surfaces without leaving any streaks or residue. The durable material is tough enough to remove stains, while being gentle enough not to scratch your screens or lenses. Contact Low Vision of New Mexico to find out how you can access these. 

So, In Summary:

  • Do not use rubbing alcohol to disinfect your glasses.
  • Avoid using household cleaners or products with high concentrations of acid. 
  • Clean your glasses with a gentle dish soap and lukewarm water, or lens wipes.
  • Dry your glasses with a microfiber cloth to prevent smudging and scratching. 

Disinfecting your glasses shouldn’t be stressful or worrisome. Just follow the easy steps above to protect your lenses and your health. 

On behalf of everyone at Low Vision of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we sincerely hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe during this uncertain time.

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 Albuquerque right away. Given the current coronavirus crisis, we ask patients to call prior to presenting themselves at the office of Dr. Walker, 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 Low Vision of New Mexico in Albuquerque, we wish you good health and please stay safe. 

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