Eye Spasms, Twitches and Tics

Eye spasms, twitches and tics are fairly common. While the top eyelid can twitch, it’s more commonly only the bottom lid of one eye that’s affected and is caused by muscle twitches. The majority of these types of twitches come and go, but they can sometimes last weeks or even months.

They can be caused by many things, such as stress, alcohol, dry eye, eye strain, caffeine, allergies, lack of sleep or even poor nutrition. If your alcohol or caffeine intake has increased recently, try cutting back. Dry eyes can be caused by aging, alcohol, caffeine, heavy computer use (which can be alleviated with computer glasses), and even certain medications (allergy medication, anti-depressants, etc.). Check with your eye doctor because there are many ways to treat dry eyes nowadays. While itchy/watery eyes can be treated with anti-histamines, those same drugs can cause dry eye so consult with your doctor before taking anything. And if you think it might be due to a nutrition deficiency (lack of magnesium has sometimes been attributed to eye twitches), it’s best to consult with your family doctor before randomly buying and taking supplements or vitamins. While these twitches tend to be temporary and not very serious, there are more serious conditions that should be diagnosed by a doctor.

In more severe cases where twitches don’t go away and involve the entire eye or half the face, botox injections can help stop the involuntary muscle contractions. Check with your eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

While you and your doctor work on figuring out the cause of the twitch, don’t feel self-conscious about it. Take comfort in knowing that these twitches are generally so subtle that others don’t usually notice the tiny muscle contractions.

11 Fun Facts About Our Eyes

Ever feel like your eyes are like your car? That you have no idea how it works or what’s happening under the hood, but as long as the engine’s running (or you can see) everything’s A-OK? The eyes are pretty complex — there are seven main parts in the eye that transmit information to the brain, detect light, and focus. Here are some fun facts you may not know about your eyes:

Optic Nerve

  1. The average blink lasts about one tenth of a second.
  2. We blink approximately once every five seconds.
  3. Most muscles and bodyparts take some time to warmup to their full potential but our eyes work at full capacity all the time.
  4. Our eyes heal quickly. It can take as little as 48 hours for our eyes to heal a corneal scratch.
  5. Approximately half the brain is involved in sight.
  6. The optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain has never successfully been reconstructed; as such, doctors have yet to find a way to transplant an eyeball.
  7. The cells in our eyes have different shapes. Cylindrical cells allow us to see shapes, and conical cells allow us to see color.
  8. Heterochromia is when someone has two different colored eyes.
  9. Our eyes have a small blind spot in the back of the retina, where the optic nerve attaches. But we don’t notice because our eyes fill in each other’s blind spot.
  10. The muscles that control our eyes are the most active in our body.
  11. 80% of vision problems worldwide are avoidable or even curable.

Dangers of Colored Contacts

Thinking about getting some cheap colored contact lenses from the drug store, beauty salon or dollar store? You might want to think again. Sure, the price is right, but federal law prohibits the sale of contact lenses (even colored lenses) without a valid prescription. Additionally, most of these stores don’t have the training or knowledge to provide instructions on how to care for your contacts.

So what’s the trade-off for saving a few bucks? Infection of the cornea due to improper care, called keratitis, is very common. And improperly fitted lenses can cause abrasions of the cornea. The abrasion can become infected and may lead to ulcers. Left untreated, ulcers can cause irreversible damage to the cornea such as scarring that permanently affects vision. Complications increase if you are a first-time contact lens wearer.

So is it worth it? Even one night of wearing these ill-fitting contacts can put you at risk. And when combined with dehydration due to alcohol, the risks are even greater. Please, save your eyesight and consult a licensed optometrist to get fitted for your colored contacts, whether for Halloween or regular use.

For more information, see this article on ABCnews.com.

Experiencing Dry Eyes? Flaxseed Oil Might Help.

Do you experience dry eye symptoms such as burning, stinging or redness? Does it affect your ability wear contact lenses or cause twitching of the eyes? Flaxseed oil and fish oil contain omega-3 fatty acids that have multiple health benefits, one of which includes prevention of dry eyes, and many doctors are now recommending a daily supplement of the omega-3s.

Protection and Prevention
The omega-3 in flaxseed oil is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); when digested, it is converted to two other omega-3s, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which protect cell membranes and have been shown to reduce inflammation, and may help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and arthritis.

Precautions
Before starting any nutritional supplement, it’s always a good idea to consult with your family physician or eye doctor before taking significant quantities. This is especially true if you take prescription or non-prescription drugs, as adverse drug interactions can occur.

Both flaxseed and fish oils can increase the risk of bleeding and reduce blood clotting when used with blood thinners (even aspirin) so be careful and consult with your doctor.

Vitamin E deficiency can be caused by long-term use of fish oil so it’s a good idea to look for fish oil supplements that also contain vitamin E if your multi-vitamin doesn’t already contain it.

For more information, take a look at this article.

The New Dailies Total 1

If you have ever asked or thought:

“Is there a way to make my lenses as comfortable at the end of the day as they were earlier in the day?”

or

“Why do my eyes look red after my lenses have been in for several hours, and how can I make that go away?”

or

“I had to give up wearing contacts, but wish there was a way to be able to wear lenses comfortably.”

Then these new lenses may be the answer to those issues. Dailies Total 1 is the first water gradient lens ever developed. The central core of the lens is silicone hydrogel material (33% water) which delivers superior breathability. The outer portion of the lens is a hydrophilic (water loving) ultra-soft surface gel designed to provide exceptional comfort. This outer layer is 80% water which approaches 100% water at the surface of the lens. What this means to you is a lens that virtually melts into your natural tear film. 90% of patients report that they don’t even feel the lens on their eye, and that even includes at the end of the day.

Check out this video that shows how the lubricity of Dailies Total 1 compares to other contact lenses.

What You Should Know About Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the thin membrane that lines the inner eyelid or white part of the eye. If it becomes inflamed, the eye becomes red or pink, hence its name. Treatment of pink eye depends on what caused it. Possible causes can include viral infections, bacterial infections, pollutants, allergens and underlying diseases of the body. Some common symptoms of pink eye are:

  • Redness
  • Tender and swollen areas in front of the ears
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • White, green or yellow mucous discharge
  • Crustiness and sticky matter around eyelids, especially upon awakening
  • Itching or burning of the eyes
  • Watery eyes

Highly contagious forms of conjunctivitis are viral and bacterial in origin. To prevent spreading of the infection, be sure to wash hands frequently, avoid touching eyes and don’t share common objects such as linens, towels, or make-up.

If you think you have conjunctivitis, have your eyes checked for medical treatment. And be sure not to use eye drops prescribed from previous infections or those prescribed for someone else as they can be inappropriate and can worsen your current infection.

Ultraviolet Rays and Your Eyes

Many people are aware of ultraviolet (UV) radiation’s effects on the skin, but did you know that UV light can also damage your eyes and vision significantly?

Acute effects of excessive UV exposure to the eyes can lead to a photokeratitis of the cornea, also known as as “welder’s flash” due to an artificial UV source, or “snow blindness” if caused by indirect sunlight reflected off shiny surfaces like snow or ice. Staring at the sun or solar eclipses can lead to a “burn” of the retina (located in the back of the eye that processes light) called solar retinopathy. Severe solar retinopathy will permanently damage a patient’s central vision. Do not look directly at the sun.
Long-term exposure to UV radiation from the sun is a common cause of cataracts, which is a clouding of the natural lens in your eye. Patients with significant cataracts will report blurry vision and an increase in glare. Up to 10% of all skin cancers occur on the eyelids, of which basal cell carcinoma is the most common type. A pinguecula is a yellowish, slightly raised thickening of the conjunctiva overlying the white part of the eye (sclera). A pterygium is an elevated, wedged-shaped growth of the conjunctiva that extends onto the cornea. Both conditions can make the eyes look red and inflamed.

Whether the source is natural, like the sun, or man-made, like tanning beds, UV radiation can harm your eyes in many ways. See your optometrist annually for an eye exam, to learn more on UV effects, and to learn how to protect your eyes for a safe, healthy year!

Which Contact Lenses Are Right For You?

Contact lenses are divided into two main categories: soft and rigid gas permeable. Soft contact lenses (SCLs) are made of a polymer-plastic combined with water, which allows oxygen to pass through the lenses. The newer line of SCLs is made with a silicone hydrogel material that allows greater oxygen to pass through, promoting better corneal health and the option for extended-wear (overnight) use. Unlike older versions of hard lenses, rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses are made with silicone polymers that allow abundant oxygen transmission to the cornea as well.

SCL designs can vary from being spherical (nearsighted or farsighted prescription that is uniform) to toric (more than one prescription on the lens for patients with astigmatism), multifocal (having far and near prescriptions), or multifocal toric. Like SCLs, RGP lens designs can be spherical, toric, and bifocal but specialty designs like scleral (large diameter RGPs that may help with corneal irregularities), keratoconic (for patients with keratoconus, a thinning corneal disorder), or corneal refractive therapy (CRT) lenses (used overnight to correct your vision) are also available.

The customary annual replacement of RGP lenses offers simplicity, but many patients prefer disposing their SCLs more frequently on either a daily, bi-monthly, monthly, or quarterly replacement schedule. Frequent lens replacement with disposable SCLs improves health, comfort, and can be very convenient when patients inadvertently lose or tear their lens.

Colored SCLs give the unique option to change your eye color completely with an opaque color tint or enhance the existing color of your eyes with an enhancement or translucent tint. A visibility tint of light blue or green is aimed to improve handling and is available in both SCLs and RGPs.

Contact lenses can be worn on a daily basis or occasionally for social events or recreation. Have an eye exam to discuss if you are a good candidate for contact lens wear. Based on your prescription and the health of your eyes, your optometrist will prescribe the most appropriate contact lenses for you.

Is One Pair of Glasses Sufficient for Your Lifestyle?

Hiking, running, tennis, work: We have specific shoes for each activity, why should our eyes be any different? Using the computer, working, driving and playing sports each call for their own eyeglasses. For instance, distance glasses are needed for driving, but when intense focus is required in activities like reading or needlepoint, reading glasses may be essential.

Computer glasses reduce eyestrain by focusing at the intermediate range (shorter than driving distance, but farther than reading distance). Occupational lenses are specially designed for work-related tasks, placing the reading segment higher in bifocals and trifocals. For driving, polarized lenses or an anti-reflective coating are essential to helping reduce glare. Sports and protective eyewear should have polycarbonate lenses for safety. Contact lenses while playing sports are another option which give better peripheral vision, an unobstructed field of view and better compatibility with goggles or head gear.

Give your eyes the care they deserve; eyeglasses made to fit your lifestyle and specific visual needs are important in maintaining healthy eyes.