Types of Contact Lenses

If you prefer not to wear eyeglasses at all times but require vision correction, contact lenses are a great option. Below, we’ll go over the main types of contact lenses you may encounter, including the pros, cons, and intended users for each one.

Main Types of Contact Lenses

Hard Lenses

Hard contact lenses are not prescribed or used very often today, but they were the first type of contact lens to hit to the market and be widely used by those with impaired vision throughout the 50s and 60s, and into the 70s and 80s. Hard lenses initially became available in 1945 and were first made of hard glass. Later, they were made of plexiglass.

Soft Lenses

Soft lenses are the most common type of contact lens. These are made of thin, flexible materials and have a high water content (usually between 40 and 80 percent water) for proper hydration. Within this category, there are several different subtypes of lenses:

Daily Wear Lenses: Maximum wear-time for most daily wear lenses is 18 hours. Disposable soft lenses are usually meant for several-day wear or several-week wear (with each day of wear being 18 or fewer hours).
Dailies: Daily soft lenses are generally worn for 18 or fewer hours and then disposed of.
Extended Wear Lenses: These lenses can be worn during the night. While some patients prefer them because of their convenience, keep in mind there are some health concerns to worry about with these contacts, including chronic dry eye and a heightened risk of ulcerative keratitis.

Other Lenses

There are several other sub-categories of lenses as well. For example, toric lenses are used for those with astigmatism. They are cylindrical and use gravity to rotate the lens and correct a warped cornea. There are also bifocal and multifocal lenses for those with presbyopia who need two or more separate vision corrections. And finally, there are spherical contacts, which help those with presbyopia, hyperopia, and myopia.

Interested in Contact Lenses?

At Powers Eye Center, we would be happy to evaluate your vision to determine whether contact lenses are right for you. To book your appointment today, give us a call or use our online form to schedule your evaluation and fitting.

The Importance of Regular Optometrist Checkups

It’s easy to take your eyes for granted, but you need regular optometrist checkups to keep them in good condition. No matter what age you are, these checkups are an important part of maintaining good vision and lowering your risk of having serious problems that could affect your ability to see. Learn more about why you should have your eyes checked every other year or as often as your optometrist recommends.

Early Detection of Eye and Vision Problems

Some eye and vision problems can slowly develop over time without causing any noticeable signs and symptoms. When these problems become serious enough, they can impact your vision and make it harder for you to see. For example, glaucoma and macular degeneration can take many years to impair your vision. Having your eyes tested for these conditions can lead to an early diagnosis and prompt care and treatment, which can prevent more severe vision problems. Some of these conditions, such as cataracts, typically develop later in life, so you might need more frequent checkups as you get older.

Up-to-Date Corrective Lens Prescriptions

When you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct your vision for farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism, it’s important to make sure that they are updated on a regular basis. Your prescription for these lenses can change over time. Without up-to-date lenses, you might end up straining your eyes when you try to read or do other activities. Having routine optometrist checkups helps ensure that you have an updated prescription for corrective lenses so that you can see clearly.

Detection of Other Health Problems

Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, can affect your vision. When you come in for routine optometrist checkups, your eye doctor can check for signs of these conditions. If you do have symptoms of these medical conditions, you can see your regular doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan to help protect your vision.

If you are due for your next optometrist checkup in Colorado Springs, please contact Powers Eye Center to schedule an appointment.

FSA or HSA – Use It or Lose It: Use your Flex Spending Accounts

FSA or HSA – Use It or Lose It: Use your Flex Spending Accounts in Colorado Springs, CO

As the US health care system continues to change you want to have stable health insurance coverage for your vision care needs. For many Americans, this is readily available through a flexible savings account or health savings account. If you have an FSA or HSA and questions regarding using this for your eye doctor in Colorado Springs, CO, we are here to help. Powers Eye Center accepts flex spending and health savings accounts for patients in need of eye exams, vision correction, and other optometry services.

What is a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account?
A flexible spending account allows you to set aside money, pre-taxed, in a savings account to be used for health care expenses. Also known as a health savings account, a flexible spending account does not require you to sign up for health care coverage with a health insurance company. Instead, you spend the money you have saved for your healthcare needs. However, if you choose a health savings account, you are required to also have long-term care insurance prior to getting an HSA.

How Does an HSA or FSA work?
You sign up for an HSA or FSA through your employer or a reputable health savings account agency. For an HSA you can contribute up to $6,750 for your family in 2017, while an FSA allows you to contribute up to $2,600 per each employer. Once you have contributed to an HSA or FSA you can use this money to pay for qualifying health expenses.

What Can I Buy With a Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account?
A flexible spending account and health savings account allows you to use this money for most vision care expenses. This includes eye exams, vision correction treatments, prescription eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, and contact lenses. If you also have vision insurance with an FSA, you can typically use your FSA to cover the co-payment and deductible for the vision coverage. Additionally, while you must have long-term care insurance to get an HSA, you do not have to have vision insurance to have an HSA.

Why Should I Spend My FSA Funds Before These Expire?
The money you set aside in an FSA or HSA will expire on the last day of December for each calendar year. That means you must use this money before the end of the year, or you forfeit it. There are very limited exceptions to this rule, in which some employers allow you to carry over a max of $500 from the previous year. However, you will want to check with your employer first to see if this is a possibility for you.

Your best bet is to go ahead and schedule an appointment with our eye doctor in Colorado Springs, CO now. Get your annual eye exam and receive any vision correction services, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, before the end of the year. This will help you use up your health care savings without losing your hard earned money.

Choosing an Eye Doctor in Colorado Springs, CO
To take advantage of your FSA or HSA funds choose our eye doctor in Colorado Springs. Here at Powers Eye Center we regularly treat individuals and families who use health savings and flex spending accounts to pay for services. We understand how these accounts work and can answer any questions you have about this process. Our eye doctor also accepts most major health insurance plans for vision care.

For More Information Contact Our Optometrist Today!
Contact our optometrist at 719-301-1711 to schedule an appointment for the end of the year eye exams and vision care for your family. We are currently offering several discounts for prescription contact lenses, as well as VSP Premier Practice benefits.

Planning on Wearing Colored Contacts this Halloween? Check Out These Safety Tips!

Planning on Wearing Colored Contacts this Halloween? Check Out These Safety Tips!

Colored contacts are a great way to highlight the eyes year round, but costume or theatrical contacts are extremely popular during the Halloween season. There is a wide range of options when it comes to spooky contact lenses. Some cover a small part of the eye and others can cover the entire eye, providing an especially powerful optical effect. It is no secret that you can buy regular and colored contacts online, but in recent years a number of online providers offer colored contacts and theatrical lenses without a prescription. However, our eye doctor at Powers Eye Center recommends that you never use these providers for a number of reasons.

The Risks of Buying Contacts Online Without a Prescription
Contact lenses are medical devices that require a valid prescription to legally obtain them, even if they are not being used for any type of vision correction. That’s right—you need a prescription for non-prescription contacts! This is because contacts sit directly upon the eye and must be properly fitted for your specific eye shape. Improperly fitted contacts can lead to a number of problems including:

  • Falling out of the eye
  • Bacterial infections
  • Scratching that leads to scarring or vision loss
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Allergic reactions

Furthermore, those online retailers offering colored contacts without a prescription are operating outside of the law. This means that if you order those lenses, you are likely to receive contacts that are not FDA approved. Often people receive lenses that are out of date, and they may not be properly sterilized. So, beyond a poorly fitting pair of contacts, you’re taking risks with your eye health by side-stepping the prescription process. The best way to avoid all of these issues is to come in and let our Colorado Springs eye doctor give you a comprehensive contact lens eye exam, so you can rock your colored contacts safely every day or just to celebrate Halloween.

Halloween Colored Contacts Safety Checklist
Once you have your prescription, follow these tips for a safe, spook-tacular lens experience.

  • Obtain colored contacts from only licensed retailers that provide FDA approved lenses to ensure that you minimize any risks of infection and know that you’re getting quality products.
  • Always follow the instructions for wear, care, and maintenance that come with your contacts. Failure to do so can lead to premature wear, vision problems, and infections.
  • Never, ever share or swap your contact lenses with others, as this is a surefire way to have cross contamination issues that can lead to vision loss and bacterial infections.
  • Do not sleep in your contact lenses, as most special effects lenses are not designed for overnight wear.
  • If your costume requires makeup of false eyelashes, use only non-toxic products to prevent contaminating your lenses. False eyelashes can be particularly cumbersome with lenses, so think twice before wearing them simultaneously.
  • If you experience any type of irritation with your lenses, remove them immediately and see an eye doctor in Colorado Springs right away. They can help determine the cause and rule out or confirm whether any type of infection is present.

With these quick and easy tips, you will surely have a fun and happy Halloween showing of your theatrical colored lenses.

Need an Eye Exam for Colored Contacts in Colorado Springs?
Play it safe this Halloween, and come and get your eyes examined for a legitimate prescription for colored contacts. Contact our Colorado Springs eye doctor at Powers Eye Center at 719-598-5068 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Neil McAllister. With over 30 years of experience providing top quality eye care, you will be assured that your eyes will be cared for with the finest service.

Comprehensive Eye Exam vs. a Routine Eye Exam: What’s the Difference?

Comprehensive Eye Exam vs. a Routine Eye Exam: What’s the Difference?

Regular eye exams are the key to enjoying the best possible vision and preventing infections and serious eye diseases. Most of us know it’s important to have eye exams on a regular basis, but plenty of people are confused by what type of eye exam they need – a routine eye exam or a comprehensive eye exam. Here’s how these two types of exams differ.

Routine Eye Exam
When people refer to a routine eye exam, what they’re usually talking about is a vision screening. A vision screening is a quick exam that’s primarily used to rule out major vision issues and to uncover certain symptoms that can indicate you might have a serious issue that needs further evaluation. Vision screenings are often conducted at schools, workplaces or during health fairs to identify people with issues that need additional attention — for instance, a vision problem that might require corrective lenses. These routine vision exams are not intended to provide a diagnosis of what’s causing your symptoms, merely to identify symptoms that need further evaluation.

The primary evaluation used during a routine eye exam or vision screening is the visual acuity test. This is the test that most people think of when they think of having an eye exam. In the visual acuity test, the eye doctor will ask you to “read” an eye chart that has letters, numbers or other characters of varying sizes. This eye chart (called a Snellen chart) can help determine if you have difficulty seeing clearly at different distances, based on the size of the characters. During a vision screening, you’ll be asked to cover one eye while the other eye does the “work.” Then the second eye will be tested in the same way.

Comprehensive Eye Exam
Comprehensive eye exams use a series of advanced tests and evaluations to provide far more information about your vision and your eye health. A comprehensive exam begins with a review of your personal medical history, along with a review of any symptoms you may be having. Visual acuity tests will be performed, much like the vision screening except we may use a computer to perform part of the screening. If you wear corrective lenses, your prescription will be checked as well.

For many of the tests and evaluations, your pupils will need to be dilated using special eye drops. That’s because dilating your eyes enables the eye doctor to examine the structures inside your eyes. In our office, we also offer optical coherence tomography, a special technique that may avoid the need for dilating drops. In addition to evaluating the structures of your eyes, the eye doctor will look at your eyelids and evaluate your tear film to look for signs of dry eyes. Additional tests will be used to assess how well your eyes work together as a team, how well you see colors and perceive depth, and how well you see out of the corners of your eyes (your peripheral vision). The eye doctor also will use a special test to measure the pressure inside your eyes, checking for evidence of glaucoma. All these tests are painless and take just a few moments to perform.

At the end of the exam, the doctor will discuss your results and make any necessary recommendations for care or treatment, including prescribing lenses or updating an existing prescription when needed.

Powers Eye Center: State-of-the-Art Eye Care in Colorado Springs
So now that you know how important it is to have a comprehensive eye exam, the next thing you need to know is how often should you have your eyes examined. The answer to that varies based on your age, your personal and family medical history, your eye health history, your vision and other factors. Most people need to have their eyes examined every one to three years, but if you haven’t had your eye examined in awhile, now is the time to make an appointment so our eye doctor can obtain baseline information that can be used to look for eye diseases symptoms in future exams. And of course, if you’re experiencing any sort of vision problem or related symptoms like chronic headaches, a comprehensive eye exam is in order to determine the cause of the symptoms and to receive appropriate care so serious problems can be prevented. To schedule your eye exam at our Colorado Springs office, call Powers Eye Center at 719-598-5068 today.

Slit Lamp Eye Exam

What is a Slit Lamp Exam?

A slit lamp has an opening that allows it to shine a thin “sheet” of light into the eye. The brightness of the light can be adjusted so that the examining doctor either sees the front part of the eye or all the way to the back, where the retina sits. At Powers Eye Center, our optometrist uses this method to check for any abnormalities or problems to diagnose any eye conditions.

How Does This Exam Work?
When you get a slit lamp exam, you are seated in front of the lamp with your chin and forehead rested on supports. The supports help you keep your head steady as the doctor examines your eyes.

The entirety of your eyes is examined during this test. Your eyelids, iris, sclera, conjunctiva, and cornea are given special attention as the front parts of your eyes are checked. If your retina and other deep eye structures are to be examined, you’ll be given eye drops to dilate your pupils. Another small lens will be used along with the slit lamp to provide the doctor with the needed magnification.

In some cases, you’ll also be given eye drops that add a slight tint to your cornea. This allows its shape and structure to be seen more easily. The dye is temporary, and it will wash away with your normal tears and blinking.

What can be Detected Using the Slit Lamp Exam?
Many eye problems can be spotted with this exam, which is why it is a standard part of a general eye examination. Dry eye, conjunctivitis, retinal detachment, cornea injuries, macular degeneration, cataracts, and many more issues are detectable. Since some of these conditions are sight-threatening, it is important that this exam be part of your eye checkup. An exam that only tests your visual acuity cannot detect the vast majority of eye diseases.

Contact Our Local Eye Doctor for a Slit Lamp Exam Today
To get a proper eye checkup including a slit lamp exam, just make an appointment with us here at Powers Eye Center at (719)598-5068 in Colorado Springs.