What is Conjunctivitis?

You may not think of conjunctivitis as an ocular disease in Austin, TX, but it is categorized as such. Often referred to as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis is quite common, affecting over 3 million people annually. Defined as an irritation or inflammation of the white part of the eyeball, known as the conjunctiva, it is characterized by the white part of your eye turning red, watering, and itching. In severe cases, the eyes may crust or discharge.

Is Conjunctivitis Contagious?

Certain forms of conjunctivitis are contagious. However, in order to catch conjunctivitis from another person, you will need to come into contact with their eye secretions. Unfortunately, by the time someone realizes they have this condition, they’ve likely already passed it on to others.

What Causes Conjunctivitis?

In most instances, conjunctivitis is caused by allergies, such as hay fever, or by bacterial or viral infections. It can also sometimes be caused by a contaminated foreign object or liquid in the eye. When newborns get conjunctivitis, the most common cause is a block tear duct.

See Your Eye Doctor For Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis can cause severe discomfort or even pain. It may negatively impact your ability to see well. If you feel that you may have conjunctivitis, contact your eye doctor in Austin, TX. Your eye doctor will be able to offer you something to make you more comfortable or even shorten the recovery time.

How is Conjunctivitis Treated?

If your conjunctivitis is allergy-related, it may be treated with antihistamines. If your eye doctor determines it to be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, antibiotic eye drops may be prescribed.

Your eyesight is important. Should you have a severe case that has your eyes crusting or discharging, don’t hesitate to see your eye doctor, since a lack of treatment could result in other problems. Talk to your eye doctor to learn more about conjunctivitis.

Computer Vision Syndrome: Diagnosis and Treatment Options

If you spend hours a day in front of a computer screen, you may be at higher risk of developing a disorder called computer vision syndrome, or CVS. CVS happens because your eyes are not changing direction and focus regularly. Instead, they’re following the same path repeatedly, as they travel across your screen. This causes eye strain often accompanied by discomfort. Northwest Hills Eye Care in Austin, TX, can diagnose and treat the symptoms of CVS.

Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome may cause a number of problems, including:

  • Double Vision
  • Blurred Vision
  • Headache
  • Dry Eyes
  • Eye Redness and Irritation

If you notice symptoms such as these, and you spend significant amounts of time online, talk with your vision specialist regarding treatment for computer vision syndrome.

Treatment for CVS

You can help to improve the symptoms of CVS by making simple lifestyle changes. The place to begin is with a regular vision screening at Northwest Hills Eye Care. Our friendly and professional vision specialists will perform diagnostic tests to determine whether you have computer vision syndrome. Upon diagnosis, you may be fitted for specially tinted lenses that filter out glare, or bifocal lenses that assist your eyes as they change focus from near to far. But you can help improve the symptoms of CVS, too, by following simple recommendations, including:

  • Taking frequent breaks from your computer screen throughout the day
  • Using the rule of 20-20-20, which means looking away from your screen every 20 minutes and focusing on something 20 feet away for 20 minutes
  • Upgrading the lighting in your workspace
  • Adjusting the screen and display settings on your computer
  • Ensuring your computer is at the right height — below eye level and roughly two feet away from your face.

Contact Northwest Hills Eye Care in Austin

If you suspect you may be experiencing signs of computer vision syndrome, contact Northwest Hills Eye Care in Austin, TX, today to book a friendly consultation.

woman with green eyes

My Eyes are Red and Itchy. Could it be Pink Eye?  

Does one or both of your eyes look red and feel itchy or gritty? Is discharge coming out of one or both eyes? You may have pink eye.

Also known as conjunctivitis, pink eye is a common condition that affects about 6 million people in the United States each year. The condition causes inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the transparent membrane covering your eyelid and the white part of your eye.

Pink eye develops as the result of a bacterial or viral infection of the eye or an allergic reaction. Sometimes babies develop conjunctivitis when a tear duct is not completely open.

Do I Have Pink Eye?

You may have conjunctivitis if you have been in contact with someone who has pink eye. Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria or virus is highly contagious. The condition can spread to others as soon as symptoms appear, and can remain contagious as long there is discharge from the eyes or until you have been on antibiotics for 24 hours.

You may have pink eye if you are experiencing symptoms of conjunctivitis, which include:

  • Redness in one or both of your eyes
  • Itchiness in one or both of your eyes
  • A gritty sensation in one or both of your eyes
  • A discharge that forms a crust over one or both eyes during the night; this crust may prevent you from opening one or both of your eyes in the morning
  • Tearing

An eye doctor can determine if you have pink eye and the type of treatment you need. While pink eye can be irritating and often unsightly, it rarely affects vision. Treatment can help reduce irritation and discomfort associated with conjunctivitis. Treatment with antibiotics can also reduce the length of time you can spread the disease.

Why is Conjunctivitis So Contagious?  

If you or your loved one has ever had conjunctivitis, you’ve probably been warned by your eye doctor to be careful about spreading it to someone else. But just why is conjunctivitis so contagious? How can something that only affects your eyes be transmitted to someone else? The answer lies in how humans tend to behave as well as how the infection itself behaves.

Conjunctivitis Can be Bacterial or Viral

The important thing to know about conjunctivitis is that it can be caused by either a bacterial infection or a viral infection. Bacteria and viruses tend to behave in different ways and can be transmitted in different ways. Bacterium tends to be transmitted by direct contact. Imagine if you have bacteria on a tissue and then someone else picks up that tissue and the bacteria gets on their hands. Viruses may be transmitted through the air. The common cold is a virus that can be spread through sneezing or coughing. The virus particles travel through the air and then land on someone else. Because conjunctivitis can be either bacterial or viral, it is more contagious than some other infections.

The Incubation Period For Conjunctivitis is Long

Another reason that conjunctivitis is so contagious is that the incubation period is long. A person can be infected without exhibiting symptoms for between 24 and 72 hours. Since bacteria can survive on surfaces for around eight hours, you could accidentally be contaminating surfaces around your home, office or classroom without realizing that you’re spreading conjunctivitis.

People Touch Their Eyes and Faces All the Time

The main reason why conjunctivitis spreads so easily has to do with how people behave. While reading this article you probably touched your face at least once. People unconsciously touch their eyes and faces all the time. If fingers have come into contact with conjunctivitis, that gets transmitted into the eyes.

If you do develop conjunctivitis, do your best to stay home and wash hands often. This will help to contain the spread.

 

Are False Eyelashes Safe to Use?

Austin, TX eye doctors are often asked by patients if false eyelashes are safe to use. Wearing false eyelashes is extremely popular in Austin and all over Texas and beyond. And, with the wide range of false eyelash styles and types to choose from, they offer a versatile and stylish way of making up the eyes without the use of mascara. But are they safe for the eyes?

The Hazards of False Eyelashes

Anything that comes so near the eyes can be hazardous, including eye shadow, eyeliner, and mascara. Even eye creams that purportedly reduce the appearance of fine lines can be hazardous. For that reason, there is potential danger with false eyelashes.

Potential hazards with false eyelashes include:

  • allergic reaction
  • eye infection
  • eye injury
  • temporary or permanent damage to natural lashes

These hazards are related to certain things about putting on, wearing, and removing false eyelashes. For instance, you could accidentally get eyelash glue in the eyes. Eyelash glue often contains formaldehyde, a harsh chemical. Your eye might react suddenly to the materials used to make the eyelashes, resulting in redness, swelling, and watering of the eyes. A stray lash could get in the eye and make its way behind the eyeball. Stray bits of lash embellishments like glitter could get in the eye.

Handle With Proper Care

For all the dangers of false eyelashes, plenty of people manage to wear them without incident. If you want to wear them, your Austin eye doctor would like to see you be able to wear false eyelashes with safety and comfort. Here are some safe handling tips:

  • Never share false eyelashes with others
  • Always wash hands thoroughly before applying them
  • Opt for lashes without formaldehyde
  • Avoid glitter lashes
  • Store in a protective case when not in use

If you have had issues with false eyelashes, consider switching back to mascara. If you have a specific false eyelash problem now, please contact us right away for assistance.

Conjunctivitis: Common FAQs for Concerned Parents

Pediatric acute bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye) is one of the most common illnesses among children. As many as five million kids will get pink eye every year, and many of these instances will include a visit to an eye doctor for help. As a parent, it is always concerning when your child has an issue with their eyes. Here is a look at some of the most common questions parents often have about conjunctivitis in kids.

Is pink eye a threat to visual health?

Pink eye is essentially an infection of the eye. Therefore, if the condition goes untreated, it definitely could cause problems with visual health. Children have eye components that are still growing and forming, and infection can interfere with that process. Treatment for pink eye should be prompt because of this fact.

How contagious is pink eye?

Pink eye is highly contagious. Most children who get pink eye in one eye will have bilateral infections because of the easy spreadability. If you have other children in the house, keep in mind the condition can be contagious as soon as the symptoms show up and stays contagious even after the treatment initially begins.

How will an eye doctor treat pink eye?

Pink eye is most often treated with a round of oral antibiotics. More severe cases may involve something like antibiotic eye drops or something more intense.

Why do some people get pink eye repeatedly?

If your child is getting pink eye repeatedly, it is important that you work closely with your child’s pediatrician and eye doctor. Sometimes, an underlying problem, such as environmental irritants, may be to blame. However, children in daycare or preschool can also be more at risk because the condition is so easily spread from child to child.

Talk to an Eye Doctor in Austin for Pink Eye Concerns

Regular eye care is important for children. Even though pediatricians can treat conjunctivitis, it is always a good idea to have the guidance of an optometrist as well. Reach out to us at Northwest Hills Eye Care in Austin to discuss your pink eye concerns as a parent.

Helpful Tips For Living With Low Vision

It can be challenging for visually impaired people to carry out daily living activities such as shopping, cooking, and even watching TV. The challenges extend into their ability to work as expected, maintain relationships with friends and family, and comfortably participate in social and recreational activities. In severe cases where their vision diminishes, these individuals may even suffer depression. Apart from taking them to the hospital to treat the depression symptoms, it helps to find other alternative treatments to help them cope with the diminishing vision. Below are some of the most common techniques used to offer relief.

Use Contrast to Your Advantage

In such cases, dark and light colors are used to achieve contrast and emphasize certain things like having white plates and a black table cloth.

Label Items Around Your Home

Labels are useful, especially when they are bold and different in texture. Using them regularly makes it easy for people struggling to identify them over time easily.

Enlarge Everything You Can

Using large display screens for items can help such individuals. Companies should consider having these patients in mind when creating watches, weighing scales, and TV prints. This can easily improve these individuals’ quality of experience because they can easily see what others are enjoying with the enlarged numbers and letters.

Keep Home and Office Tidy

When you minimize clutter on gadgets such as phones, you will likely help these individuals see better. They can find stuff on the phone with so much ease. It is important to establish an organizational discipline.

Ask for Help

Do not feel ashamed to seek help whenever you are stuck. After all, many service providers will be more than willing to help people with such issues get the help they need as long as you ask for it.

Anyone with low vision issues can access the help they need to improve the quality of their life. Talk to your eye doctor for more tips about living with low vision.