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15 Things You Do That Can Harm Your Eyes

Eye health isn’t just about going for that yearly eye exam. Certain actions you take (or don’t take) in your daily routine can also have drastic effects on the health of your eyes and vision. Here’s our list of 15 things you may be doing that could pose damaging risks to your eyes.

It’s important to note that before changing any of your habits, consult with a medical professional to make sure they are right for you and your overall health.

1. Smoking

We all know that smoking can cause heart disease and cancer, but its effects on the eyes are far less known to many. The truth is that smoking can actually lead to irreversible vision loss by significantly increasing the risk of developing macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. It can also cause dry eye syndrome. If you are a smoker, do your eyes (and body) a favor and try to kick or reduce the habit.

2. Not Wearing Sunglasses

Exposing your eyes to the sun’s harmful UV radiation can damage the eye’s cornea and lens. Overexposure to UV rays can also lead to cataracts and even eye cancer. That’s why it’s important to always wear 100% UV-blocking sunglasses while outdoors, all four seasons of the year. Always check the sunglasses have FDA approval.

3. Sleeping with Makeup On

When you sleep with eyeliner or mascara, you run the risk of the makeup entering the eye and irritating the cornea. Sleeping with mascara on can introduce harmful bacteria to the eye and cause an infection. Abrasive glitters and shimmery eyeshadow can scratch the cornea as well. Be careful to remove all makeup with an eye-safe makeup remover before going to bed.

4. Buying Decorative Contact Lenses Without a Prescription

Although ordering decorative lenses without first visiting your optometrist may sound more convenient, purchasing them without a prescription isn’t worth the long term risks. Decorative contact lenses are sometimes made by unlicensed manufacturers who tend to use poor-quality or toxic materials that can get absorbed through the eyes into the bloodstream. They also may contain high levels of microorganisms from unsanitary packaging and storage conditions.

5. Not Washing Your Hands Thoroughly

Frequently washing your hands helps to reduce the possibility of bacteria and viruses entering the eye. Pink eye (conjunctivitis) and corneal ulcers are common eye conditions that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. When washing your hands, be sure to use warm water, soap, and thoroughly wash in between each finger and over the entire palm area. If you plan to insert or remove your contact lenses, wash and then dry your hands completely with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.

6. Overwearing Contact Lenses

Wearing contact lenses for longer periods of time than intended can lead to inflammation of the cornea (keratitis), conjunctivitis, eyelid swelling, and contact lens intolerance. Always follow the recommended wear time as instructed by your optometrist.

7. Being Nutrient Deficient

Poor nutrition can cause permanent damage to the visual system. Try to include lots of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet, along with adequate amounts of Omega-3. Some of the best vitamins and nutrients for eye health include Vitamins A, C, E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc.

8. Using Non-FDA Approved Products

Whether it’s eyebrow enhancers, eye makeup, or eyelash growth serums, always choose products that have been FDA approved and/or meet government safety regulations. Non-approved products have been known to cause infections or allergic reactions in or around the eye area.

9. Not Cleaning Your Contacts Properly

If you are wearing contact lenses that need to be replaced once every two weeks or once a month, maintaining the highest level of contact lens hygiene is essential. Optometrists will tell you that a common reason patients come in to see them is due to an eye infection from contact lenses that haven’t been properly cleaned or stored. Some patients use their contact lens cases for too long, which can also cause eye irritation. To avoid eye infections, carefully follow your eye doctor’s instructions on how to clean, store, and handle your contact lenses.

10. Showering or Swimming with Contact Lenses

There is a significant amount of bacteria that can be carried in tap water and swimming pools. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that water and contact lenses don’t mix. If you need vision correction while swimming, it may be worth investing in a pair of prescription swimming goggles.

11. Not Following Medication Instructions

When it comes to eye disease, following the medication instructions is crucial. Forgetting to insert eye drops, or administering the incorrect dosage could dramatically reduce the effectiveness of treatment, or even do harm. Speak with your eye doctor if you’re not sure about when or how to take your medication.

12. Not Taking a Holistic Approach

Your eyes are just one part of the whole system — your body. Ignoring health conditions you may have, like high blood pressure or elevated blood sugar, can pose serious risks to your eyes.

13. Not Wearing Protective Eyewear

Shielding your eyes with protective glasses or goggles while working with potentially sharp or fast-moving objects, fragments or particles (wood working, cutting glass, welding, doing repairs with nails, certain sports) is the best defense against eye injury. In fact, 90% of all eye injuries could have been prevented by wearing protective eyewear.

14. Using Unsafe Home Remedies

Some might think that because something is “natural” that it is safe for use around the delicate eye area. Home remedies, like using breastmilk to cure pink eye, could introduce harmful bacteria to the eye and cause infection. If your eyes are giving you trouble, make an appointment to see your local optometrist.

15. Skipping Your Recommended Eye Exam

Your eye doctor will advise you how often you need to come for an eye examination. Adults should visit their eye doctor at least every year for a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether their optical prescription is up-to-date, and to check for the beginning stages of eye disease. Catching eye diseases in their early stages offers the best chance of successful treatment and preserving healthy vision for life.

At Professional Vision, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 410-465-6166 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ellicott City eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

Can Contact Lenses Give Me 20/20 Vision?

Our Trunk Show on Friday, December 7th

Why You Regularly Need to Replace Your Sunglasses


Holiday Fun at Eyes on 40

What do we do for fun around here?

We asked Erin and here's what she had to say:

We have a patient that does wood painted signs and brought them into our office for a fun evening.  The name of the Company is Rustic Revival, and they are a family owned company from Eldersburg Maryland.

The Eyes on 40 staff was able to choose a winter/Christmas design or a Family Name sign that they were able to paint from a stencil and take home to decorate their home.

We had some pizza and beverages, listened to music and chatted the evening away.  It was really fun because we could bring the project to the office and just relax and enjoy each others' company. We love doing fun events as a team..... Next up is our Holiday Brunch in January.


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Training so we can serve you better

Dr Gallagher, Erin and staff traveled to Columbus OH this weekend for additional training on our office software.

This was intensive training learning how to do things better in our office to take better care of our patients.

We learned lots of things to make the work done behind the scenes run more efficiently so we have more time to spend with patients.

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Our Trunk Show on Friday, December 7th

On Friday December 7th we had representatives come to our office with 3 entire frames lines.

These lines are ones we normally have in the office giving our patients the ability to seen entire frame lines and is fun and lets us see what patients are looking for in their eyewear that we don’t necessarily have in stock.

We had Swarovski, Black Fin and Mad in Italy here. Swarovski is a women’s line with crystals and lots of glam. It is a fun line to check out and can take you from classic to glamorous with just a little bling. We had two bracelets that were available for people that purchased frames. The two ladies that won were very excited. We cannot wait to see all of the ladies in their new bling!

Black Fin is a beta titanium line for both men and women. Lots of great colors and shapes and made in Italy. They are so light weight and so much fun, while also having classic colors and shapes.

Mad In Italy is a sister company to Black Fin. They are Made in Italy and designed to be lots of fun. Great colors and texture on their frames and iridescent treatments. They take eye wear to the next level with their creative designs.

All three lines are still available and because of the selections that staff members made that day we picked a few new styles that will be in stock soon from all three lines.

8 Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes

Eyes On 40 - Local Vision Center in Ellicott City, MarylandWhether you live in a climate with cold winter weather or you are planning a ski trip up north, winter can be a challenge if you suffer from dry eyes. Dry, cool air, cold winds and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness and redness, and sometimes even excessively watery eyes as more tears are produced to compensate for the dryness. Many people have a chronic feeling that they have something in their eye and some even experience blurred vision. These symptoms can be debilitating!

Dry eyes is one of the most common complaints eye doctors get from patients during the winter season, especially in the cooler climates. That’s why we’d like to share some tips on how to relieve dry eye discomfort, and how to know when your condition is serious enough to come in for an evaluation.

“Dry, cool air, cold winds and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness and redness…”

Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes:

  1. Keep eyes moist using artificial tears or eye drops. You can apply these a few times each day when the eyes are feeling dry or irritated. If over-the-counter drops don’t help or if you have chronic dry eyes, speak to your eye doctor about finding the best drops for you. Since not all artificial tears are the same, knowing the cause of your dry eye will help your eye doctor determine which brand is best suited for your eyes.
  2. Use a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heaters or generally dry air.
  3. Point car vents or indoor heaters away from your face when the heat is on. Try to keep your distance from direct sources of heating, especially if they blow out the heat.
  4. Drink a lot! Hydrating your body will also hydrate your eyes.
  5. Protect your eyes outdoors with sunglasses or goggles – the bigger the better! Larger, even wrap-around glasses as well as a hat with a wide brim will keep the wind and other elements out of your eyes. If you wear goggles for winter sports, make sure they fit well and cover a large surface area.”
  6. Soothe dry eyes using a warm compress and never rub them! Rubbing your eyes will increase irritation and may lead to infection if the hands are not clean.
  7. Give your eyes a digital break. People blink less during screen time which is why extensive computer use can lead to dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and make sure you blink!
  8. For contact lens wearers: If you wear contact lenses, dry eyes can be particularly debilitating as the contact lenses can cause even further dryness and irritation. Contact lens rewetting drops can help your eyes feel better and may also allow you to see more clearly. Not all eyedrops are appropriate for use with contact lenses, so ask your optometrist which eyedrop is compatible with your contacts and cleaning solution. If rewetting drops don’t help, consider opting for glasses when your dry eyes are bad, and speak to your optometrist about which brands of contact lenses are better for dry eyes. Many people find dry eye improvement when they switch to daily single use contact lenses.”

Chronic Dry Eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tear film, or do not produce the quality of tear film needed to properly keep the eyes moist. While winter weather can make this condition worse, it is often present all year round. If you find that the tips above do not alleviate your discomfort or symptoms, it may be time to see a optometrist to see if your condition requires more effective medical treatment. ”

Call Eyes On 40 on 410-465-6166 in Ellicott City, MD to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist.


Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

Local Dry Eye Treatment in Ellicott City, Maryland

Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

Protect Your Eyes: The Importance Of Comprehensive Eye Exams For Those With Diabetes

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

Why Do Onions Make Us Cry?

Protect Your Eyes From Vision Loss: Diabetes Awareness Month

Exercise and Your Eye Health

Eyes On 40 - Local Vision Center in Ellicott City, MarylandRegular exercise is an essential component of overall health and wellness. It is proven that exercise reduces sickness and disease; it increases strength, immunity, and mental health; and it also helps regulate bodily functions and maintain a healthy weight. Research shows that exercise can lower our risk of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, as well as other eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Whereas, a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of these diseases and of vision loss, studies show that even moderate exercise at least three times a week can improve the prognosis of the above-mentioned chronic illnesses and reduce the risks of developing vision threatening eye diseases.

Inactivity is an even higher risk factor if you have other co-factors for developing eye diseases, including: a family history, previous eye injury or surgery, diabetes, high blood pressure or very high myopia. A combination of healthy lifestyle habits which include regular exercise and a nutritious diet and tending to your mental and emotional well-being can reduce these risks significantly.”

“Regular exercise is an essential component of overall health and wellness.”

Tips for Incorporating Physical Activity Into Your Day

  1. Make it a priority. Schedule your exercise time into your day as if it is a non-negotiable appointment. Find the time of day that works best – for some that is early morning and for others late at night. Work your way up to a half hour at least three times a week.
  2. Be realistic. You don’t need to become a fitness expert to experience the benefits of exercise. Walking, yoga, swimming, even dancing around the house are all options for staying fit. Find a type of exercise that you love so you will enjoy working this habit into your life.
  3. Just move. Find ways to move your body throughout your day. Park your car a little further away from the mall entrance, take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk or bike to work. Remember, every little bit of movement helps.
  4. Find something you enjoy. Often finding the right exercise is a good stress reliever, and reducing stress will also reduce risk of many chronic diseases.
  5. It’s never too late. Exercise for the elderly can be a challenge especially during the cold winter months, when many seniors can’t get out of the house due to the weather. Even walking up and down the stairs in the house or following an exercise video can be helpful to keep from being sedentary.”

Protection & Prevention of Eye Conditions

If you are exercising outdoors or playing contact sports, make sure to protect your eyes with sunglasses or sports safety glasses to ensure your eye health and safety.

Regular exercise can significantly decrease your risks of certain eye conditions but you still have to ensure that you visit your eye doctor for regular exams. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam every year to ensure your vision and your eyes are healthy and to catch any possible problems as early as possible.”

Eye health and disease prevention are just two of the many health and wellness benefits you gift yourself when you make exercise a regular part of your lifestyle. Speak to your doctor if you have any health issues that need to be considered. At any age or level of physical fitness, you can find some form of exercise that works for you.

Call Eyes On 40 on 410-465-6166 in Ellicott City, MD to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist.


Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

Local Eye Health in Ellicott City, Maryland

Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

Here’s Why Hydrogen Peroxide is an Excellent Contact Lens Solution

Coronavirus and Your Eyes – What You Should Know

April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Women’s Eye Health – 7 Tips for Optimal Vision for Life

Top 4 Reasons Why Cheap Eye Exams Are Not Always the Best

Eye Exam Equipment in Ellicott City

No matter how you look at it, eye care is an expense. But that doesn’t mean it’s always worthwhile to chase after the lowest price for your eye exam! When it comes to the health of your eyesight, you need to be confident that your eye exam provides a precise vision prescription and accurate diagnoses. And the cheapest options cannot always promise this level of exactness. In contrast, a reasonably priced eye exam by our Ellicott City eye doctor uses top skill and advanced technology – so you can depend upon the results.

Eye Exams with Maximum Value

We know you may still be wondering if there are more benefits to getting an eye exam at your eye doctor instead of getting a cheaper eye exam at the closest retailer. Let’s look at the reasons:

1. Personalized Eye Care

When you visit our eye care clinic for an eye exam, our eye doctor will start your appointment with a series of questions about your medical history and lifestyle. If you have any visual complaints or questions, this is the time to speak up. We are here to listen and to address your concerns. This information is the basis for designing the best plan to care for your long-lasting vision. Opposed to cheaper, generic eye exams, our eye exams are not generic and standardized. Instead, we customize testing to meet your individual needs.

2. Comprehensive Eye Evaluations

Checking visual acuity is only the beginning of your eye exam; our Ellicott City eye doctor will check much more! We will also assess functional vision skills, such as eye mobility, eye teaming, and focusing, and inner eye health. Depending upon your requirements, we may also use digital imagery to analyze your retina and optic nerve, as well as use tonometry to look for the signs of glaucoma.

3. Cutting-edge Technologies

Technology is always on the move, changing and improving, and we stay focused on the latest developments in optometric equipment. Our eye doctor is committed to furnishing our eye care center with the most modern technology, so you benefit from detailed diagnoses and progressive treatments. The equipment in our Ellicott City eye care clinic includes OCT Scans and Digital Retinal Imaging, Daytona Optomap, and Visual Field Testing. These devices enable us to examine your eye tissues efficiently, safely, and painlessly – and you won’t need to wait for results because the high-resolution imaging is instant.

4. Eye Care that Considers Your Overall Health Too

We value both your vision and your general well-being. Our eye exam inspects much more than just your sight. That’s because eyes can also give a view of your general body health. Specific diseases, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure, can be seen on your inner eye tissues before you notice any problems. When these dangerous health conditions are left untreated, they can cause damage to your eyes and the rest of your body. If we detect any of these signs, we’ll refer you to the most appropriate local medical care provider. Cheaper eye exams will not provide you with this level of compassionate and professional healthcare.

In sum, a cheaper eye exam is not always your best option!

Want to know more? Ask our Eye Doctors!

Fighting Blindness in Baltimore

Professional Vision of Ellicott City participated in the Foundation Fighting Blindness 11th Annual Baltimore Vision Walk on Sunday June 3rd.

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It started at Latrobe Park in Baltimore- We then went around Fort McHenry. This is the first time Professional Vision, as a practice, has participated in an event like this and worked together to raise money for a worthy cause. The staff is looking forward to raising even more money next year. Our office won an award for the largest team and for raising over $1000. Everyone that was able to make it on the rainy Sunday morning really enjoyed their time.

Vision Expo East

We were at Vision Expo East in New York!

EyesOn40 Staff Photo Vision Expo EastMost of our Staff got to go to Vision Expo East on Sunday March 18th in New York City.

This is the biggest Optical Trade show held every spring at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center. Doctors and some other staff members went up as early as Thursday for education sessions. The Expo had more than 300+ hours of education offered in 23 specialty tracks to deliver improved patient care and grow our business.

We were able to browse and shop more than 5,000 fashion and luxury brands. This is an experience with the latest industry advances in contact lenses, solutions, therapeutics and leading edge medical and diagnostic equipment.

In the photo is Dr. Gallagher, Erin, Danielle, James, Macy, Missy, Donna, Pam, Darryl & Callie.

How Can I Keep My Eyes Healthy?

8 Helpful Tips for Having Strong Peepers!

Vision changes or problems can be very stressful, if not downright scary. We depend upon our eyesight constantly, and the thought of seeing blurry or experiencing painful vision is always troubling. While you may exercise to keep your body strong, are you aware that there are also ways to help keep your eyes strong? Our Ellicott City eye care specialists want to help you preserve your quality vision for as long as possible. So we put together the following guidelines for maintaining eye health:
1. Don’t skip your regular eye exam
Many people don’t visit their eye doctor until they notice a problem. However, many eye problems don’t present symptoms until they have progressed to a late, more serious stage. Diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration can remain silent for a long while – but when diagnosed early, treatment is much more successful! In addition, if you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, an eye exam will ensure that you are still seeing crisp and clear.
2. Eat foods that are good for eye care
A nutritious diet will promote overall health and top-notch eye health. Certain nutrients are particularly beneficial for your vision, such as lutein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc. How can you include these nutrients naturally into your daily nosh? Fortunately, it’s easy. Some tasty ideas include: add avocado to your sandwich, snack on berries, oranges and nuts, choose brown rice instead of white, eat broccoli and spinach, toss collard greens, kale and chard into a fresh salad, and drizzle flaxseed oil over your veggies. Fish, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna are all great sources of omega-3s. Quinoa and beans are also filled with eye-healthy nutrients.
3. Clean your contact lenses properly
Your risk of eye health problems increases significantly if you wear contact lenses. When you don’t follow proper eye care and disinfecting practices for contacts, they can introduce harmful bacteria and debris into your eyes, which can lead to eye infection. If you wear daily or weekly disposable lenses, be sure to toss them out according to schedule.
4. Stop staring
Digital screens encourage us to gaze at one spot for hours on end. A recent American study reported that people in the US look at screen for over 7 hours per day, on average. Why is this bad? The more time you spend staring, the higher your risk of eye fatigue and eye strain. Our Ellicott City eye care professionals recommend that you give your peepers a break every 20 minutes. Lift your eyes and look into the distance for 20 seconds.
5. Don’t smoke
Add eyes to the long list of body organs that can be harmed by smoking. Smoking is linked strongly to an increased risk of macular degeneration, cataracts and optic nerve damage. All of these eye conditions can lead to blindness.
6. Put on some shades
Sunglasses are just as important for your eyes as sunscreen is for your skin. The sun’s harmful UV rays can raise your chances of developing cataracts and macular degeneration in the future. Keep in mind that the effects of UV rays are cumulative, so wearing sunglasses today can impact your eye health years down the road. Invest in sunglasses that block a minimum of 99% of UVA and UVB rays.
7. Wear specialty, sports and safety eyewear
If you work with hazardous substances or airborne materials, protect your delicate eyes with safety glasses or goggles. Sports that involve whizzing balls, sticks or rackets, such as ice hockey, lacrosse and racquetball, can lead easily to eye injury. Sports goggle with polycarbonate lenses will block your eyes from unfortunate crashes.
8. Brew fresh coffee and tea
Yes, you read that right. Experts currently claim that drinking two servings of caffeinated drinks daily can protect against dry eyes. How’s that for tasty and aromatic eye care?

Don’t take your vision for granted! Healthy eyes are an integral part of a healthy body, and contribute a lot towards your quality of life. For more tips on how to keep your eyes healthy, book an eye exam and consult with our Ellicott City eye doctor.