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Do You Struggle With Contact Lens Comfort? Scleral Lenses May Be the Answer!

boy wearing a gray hoodie 640Most people are familiar with traditional soft lenses, which provide clear vision for those who are nearsighted or farsighted.

In certain cases, particularly for those with corneal irregularities or astigmatism, standard gas permeable (GP) lenses may be recommended. However, people with several eye conditions can’t tolerate standard GPs and find scleral lenses a much better, more comfortable alternative.

What are Scleral Lenses?

Patients with sensitive eyes or corneal abnormalities may benefit from custom-designed scleral lenses, which provide crisp vision and comfort thanks to their unique design.

Scleral lenses are usually recommended for those with keratoconus, severe dry eye syndrome, astigmatism or anyone who find it difficult or impossible to wear standard contact lenses.

Scleral lenses are large gas permeable lenses that vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye, instead of the cornea. This creates a new optical surface and prevents corneal irritation. Furthermore, a reservoir of pure saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea keeps the eye hydrated all day long.

Benefits of Wearing Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses provide comfort, visual acuity and stability.

Stable Vision

With scleral lenses, you’ll experience continual clear vision. Because of their wide diameter, the lenses remain centered on your eye. Even if you play sports or lead an extremely active lifestyle, scleral lenses will stay in place and won’t easily pop out.

Long-Lasting Lenses

These gas permeable lenses are made of high-quality long-lasting materials. As a result, scleral lenses usually last between 1-2 years. While the initial cost of scleral lenses is higher than the cost of regular contacts, they give you more bang for your buck.

Safe and Easy-to-Use

Scleral lenses are easier to insert and remove from your eyes than regular GP lenses, thanks to their large size and rigid material. This also limits the risk of damaging your cornea while handling your lenses.

Comfort for Dry Eyes

It’s not uncommon for certain contact lens wearers to suffer from eyes that feel dry, red, itchy, uncomfortable, and at times very painful. Eye drops and artificial tears can deliver relief, but they are no more than a temporary solution.

One of the best contact lenses for optimal comfort and hydration are scleral lenses, as they simultaneously provide vision correction, protect the eyes, and lubricate them.

If you’ve experienced discomfort while wearing regular contact lenses, you may have keratoconus, irregular corneas, dry eyes or hard-to-fit eyes. Find out whether custom-designed scleral lenses are right for you by scheduling an eye exam at Dr. Franklin today!

Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Dry Eye Center of Alabama serves patients from Birmingham, Vestavia, Homewood, and Mountain Brook, Alabama and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. C. Derrick Franklin

Q: Can you sleep with scleral lenses?

  • A: It’s not recommended to wear scleral lenses while you sleep. Sleeping with your scleral lenses on can cause the tear layer behind the lens to become stagnant, thus increasing the risk of eye infections.

Q: Are scleral lenses more comfortable than standard gas permeable lenses?

  • A: Scleral lenses provide clear vision and long-term comfort for those with irregularly shaped corneas. This is due to their unique design that covers a wider area of the eye while avoiding direct contact with the cornea.


Request A Scleral Lens Appointment
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 205-490-2322

What’s a Chalazion?

What is a Chalazion 640Finding a lump on your eyelid can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Luckily, a chalazion isn’t a serious condition and is rather simple to resolve.

In most cases, a chalazion can easily be treated and will completely disappear following treatment. However, if non-invasive treatments don’t work, your eye doctor may need to remove it through an in-office surgical procedure.

At Dry Eye Center of Alabama we can diagnose and help treat your chalazion so that you can see comfortably.

What is a Chalazion?

A chalazion, also known as a meibomian cyst, is a small fluid-filled cyst.

Eyelids contain meibomian glands, which produce oil to lubricate the surface of the eye. When one of these glands becomes blocked, it may cause swelling and lead to a small painless lump called a chalazion.

What Causes a Chalazion?

A chalazion occurs when the gland in the eyelid is clogged. Exactly why the gland becomes clogged isn’t known, but some individuals appear to be more susceptible to developing a chalazion than others.

A chalazion may be associated with dry eye syndrome, which is often caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.

People exhibiting certain risk factors are more likely to develop a chalazion. This includes people who have:

  • Blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids
  • Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye
  • Thicker oil or meibum than normal consistency
  • Ocular rosacea, a skin condition adjacent to the eyes
  • Seborrhea, or dandruff, of the eyelashes
  • Styes or a history of styes

What Are the Symptoms of a Chalazion?

Common symptoms of a chalazion include:

  • A bump on the eyelid that sometimes becomes swollen and red
  • An entirely swollen eyelid, although very rare
  • Vision issues (such as blurred vision) if the chalazion becomes large enough to press on the eyeball

While a chalazion is not an infection, it may become infected. In the rare event that this occurs, it may become red, more severely swollen, and painful.

Chalazia are often mistaken for styes since they have a similar appearance.

What’s the Difference Between a Chalazion and a Stye?

It can be difficult to differentiate a chalazion from a stye.

Styes develop along the edge of your eyelid and can at times be seen at the base of an eyelash. In contrast, chalazia usually occur closer to the middle of the eyelid. A stye is more likely to be painful and tends to have a yellowish spot at the center that may burst after a few days.

Basically, the most noticeable difference between a chalazion and a stye is that a chalazion tends to be painless while a stye is usually painful and may cause the eye to feel sore, itchy or scratchy.

How to Treat a Chalazion

Most chalazia require minimal medical treatment and some may even clear up on their own in a few weeks to a month. When a chalazion first appears, you can try doing the following for 1-2 days:

  • Apply a warm compress to the eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes, 4 to 6 times a day. The warm compress helps soften the hardened oil that blocks the ducts, allowing drainage and healing.
  • Gently massage the external eyelids for several minutes each day to help promote drainage.

If the chalazion does not drain and heal within a few days, contact your eye doctor. Don’t attempt to squeeze or pop the chalazion, as it may inadvertently cause more damage.

To learn more about chalazion treatment and the other eye care services we offer, call Dry Eye Center of Alabama to schedule an appointment.

Dry Eye Center of Alabama serves patients from Birmingham, Vestavia, Homewood, and Mountain Brook, Alabama and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. C. Derrick Franklin

Q: Can a chalazion spread from one person to another?

  • A: Since a chalazion is not an infection, it cannot spread from one person to another or even to the other eye of the affected person.

Q: Can a chalazion affect my eyesight?

  • A: A chalazion doesn’t affect vision. In rare cases, if the lump is large enough to distort the ocular surface it can cause temporary astigmatism, blurring vision. However, vision will return to normal once a medical professional removes the chalazion or once it diminishes in size.


Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Do You Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 205-490-2322

How Can Lyme Disease Affect Your Vision?

How Can Lyme Disease Affect Your Vision 640Lyme disease is an infection caused by a tick bite infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, the bacteria is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.

Lyme disease initially affects the skin near the bite site. However, if left untreated, the infection can extend to the nervous system, joints and other organ systems.

What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease symptoms usually include a rash at the site of the bite that looks like a bull’s eye. Further symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands

As the disease progresses, one may develop memory loss, attention problems and numbness in the hands, feet and arms.

How Does Lyme Disease Affect Vision?

Lyme disease is typically divided into three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), Lyme disease can affect the eyes at any stage.

The severity of ocular problems may vary greatly. Different symptoms appear at different phases of the infection. The following are examples of possible Lyme disease eye complications:

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, often known as pink eye, is an inflammation of the white part of the eye known as the conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis usually appears within the first several weeks of the infection. According to the AAO, conjunctivitis affects roughly 10% of Lyme disease patients. Symptoms include red eyes, itchy eyes and discharge.

Light Sensitivity

For some, light sensitivity is a side effect of Lyme disease. Light sensitivity can also be an adverse effect of several antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease.

Inflammation

Lyme disease patients might potentially develop inflammation of the eye structures. Eye inflammation commonly appears in the third or late stages of the disease. Inflammation of the optic nerve can cause vision loss. Optic neuritis symptoms include eye pain, color vision loss, and flashing lights.

Inflammation of the retinal vessels can also cause impaired vision and floaters. Bell’s palsy-like symptoms might arise if the facial nerves become inflamed. Symptoms may make it difficult to close the eye, causing the cornea to become dry and potentially infected.

Visual Treatment of Lyme Disease

Medical treatment for Lyme disease doesn’t always address Lyme-related visual problems, and without treatment, vision may still be impaired long after medical treatment is completed.

Any inflammation in the body can negatively affect the functioning of the limbs and organs. This is especially true for the brain and the visual system, which are often affected by Lyme disease.

That’s where neuro-optometry can help.

Neuro-optometry evaluates how our eyes and brain function together. When Lyme disease affects that connection, a patient’s balance may be affected, causing their vision and depth perception to be affected as well.

A neuro-optometrist may utilize lenses, prisms and, in some situations, neuro-visual therapy. Neuro-visual therapy is a rehab program for those who have had a neurological incident that has affected their vision and its functioning/processing.

This is especially true in the case of children. Lyme disease can disrupt important developmental cycles, resulting in visual problems and the likelihood of developmental delays and learning difficulties.

If you or your child has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, contact Vision Therapy Center at Dry Eye Center of Alabama, to learn whether it has affected your vision.

Vision Therapy Center at Dry Eye Center of Alabama serves patients from Birmingham, Vestavia, Homewood, and Mountain Brook, Alabama and surrounding communities.

Request A Vision Therapy Consultation
Want to hear more about Vision Therapy? Call 205-490-2322

What Is Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome?

What Is Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome 640×350Every year, tens of millions of people around the world sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The majority of TBIs are mild brain injuries, such as concussions. However, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries often result in some degree of visual dysfunction, as nearly half of the brain is dedicated to vision-related processing.

The symptoms of post-TBI visual disturbances fall under the umbrella term post-traumatic vision syndrome (PTVS).

What is Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome?

Post Trauma Vision Syndrome is a disruption of the visual process. This disruption affects the neurological system that innervates the extraocular muscles that control eye movements, as well as the system that regulates focusing. This causes eye problems like difficulty with fixation, binocular fusion, and accommodative function.

What Are the Symptoms of PTVS?

Even with 20/20 vision, a TBI can cause the following visual dysfunctions:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Low blink rate
  • Depth-perception issues
  • Difficulty with eye-tracking
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Eye strain, especially while reading or using a computer

Non-visual symptoms may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Poor balance
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty reading
  • Difficulty driving
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Visual memory problems
  • Difficulty navigating through crowded or tight spaces

How Does a Neuro-Optometrist Treat PTVS?

Your neuro-optometrist will assess your ocular health as well as a wide range of visual abilities, including eye alignment and convergence function, focusing ability, peripheral awareness and more.

If deficits are discovered, your neuro-optometrist will create a neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to improve any visual skills that have been harmed by the brain injury. The program may utilize specialized glasses or prisms to improve spatial and/or binocular vision.

It’s crucial to get treatment for PTVS as soon as possible to minimize deficits and regain quality of life. However, neuro-optometric rehabilitation can be effective even months or years after a TBI.

Schedule a consultation with Vision Therapy Center at Dry Eye Center of Alabama to start treatment for your PTVS today.

Vision Therapy Center at Dry Eye Center of Alabama serves patients from Birmingham, Vestavia, Homewood, and Mountain Brook, Alabama and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. C. Derrick Franklin

Q: What is neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is a personalized program to develop, improve and refine underdeveloped or lost visual skills. This specialized treatment involves eye exercises, techniques and visual aids (i.e. prisms) that improve your visual processing and perception through the strengthening of the eye-brain connection.

Q: Is my concussion impairing my reading?

  • A: Many patients suffering from PTVS experience reading difficulties after their injury. Words might appear to be moving on the page or blurry. Another possible problem is not being able to remember what you just read, even after rereading it several times.

Request A Vision Therapy Consultation
Want to hear more about Vision Therapy? Call 205-490-2322

Children’s Vision and Learning Awareness

Children’s Vision and Learning Awareness 640×350Brain scans show that up to 80% of the sensory input that the brain receives comes through vision. In fact, no other sense takes up as much brainpower or contributes to learning as much as vision does.

So, if a child is having learning difficulties, it may be time to take a closer look at how well their visual system is functioning.

How are Vision and Learning Linked?

Experts agree that the majority of classroom learning is based on a child’s vision and the functioning of their visual system. Optimal visual skills allow a child to read easily, process visual information efficiently and concentrate for extended periods of time.

Children with visual problems may experience difficulties with writing, reading, math, sports and even social skills. Poor vision can also cause a child to withdraw in the classroom and shy away from raising their hand to answer questions.

What Can Parents Do for Their Children’s Vision?

Know the Warnings Signs to Watch For

Bring your child to your family’s optometrist if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Reading or learning difficulties
  • Poor attention or concentration
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Disinterest or refusal to engage in visually demanding activities
  • Squinting or closing one eye while reading
  • Frequent head tilting
  • Headaches or eye strain
  • Short attention span, especially when reading
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Poor hand-eye coordination

Schedule Regular Eye Exams

A child’s vision can change rapidly. The only way to detect changes in your child’s visual system is through regular comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist. Even the most motivated child may not be aware that something is wrong with their vision and believe that they see the way everyone else does.

Parents, please take note: School vision screenings are not enough, as they only check for a handful of vision problems and don’t take into account the important visual skills needed for efficient learning. Moreover, school vision screenings fail to identify up to 75% of children with visual problems.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to your child, it’s recommended that they get their vision evaluated with an optometrist annually, or as often as their eye doctor recommends.

Consider Vision Therapy

If your child is diagnosed with a vision problem, there is hope!

Your optometrist may recommend a custom-made vision therapy program to target the root cause of the issue and correct the problem. Children who complete vision therapy often do better in school, start to enjoy reading and have more confidence.

If your child is struggling with any aspect of classroom learning or homework or is exhibiting behavioral problems, bring them in for a functional vision assessment to rule out visual dysfunction as an underlying cause or contributor.

To schedule your child’s appointment and learn more about what we offer, call Vision Therapy Center at Dry Eye Center of Alabama today!

Vision Therapy Center at Dry Eye Center of Alabama serves patients from Birmingham, Vestavia, Homewood, and Mountain Brook, Alabama and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. C. Derrick Franklin

Q: What is vision therapy?

  • A: Vision therapy is an in-office series of visual exercises that help enhance and strengthen the communication between the brain and eyes. This specialized form of vision care helps treat adults and children with conditions like crossed-eyes and eye-turn, as well as problems with eye tracking, eye teaming, convergence insufficiency and hand-eye coordination, among others.

Q: How long does a vision therapy program last?

  • A: There is no set length of time since each case varies depending on the type and severity of the visual condition. Patients can see results within a few sessions but may continue treatment for several months. Generally speaking, once a child completes a vision therapy program, he or she experiences lasting results.

Request A Vision Therapy Consultation
Want to hear more about Vision Therapy? Call 205-490-2322

Can People With Dry Eye Syndrome Wear Eye Makeup?

Eye Makeup 640×350If your eyes feel dry and irritated after wearing eyeliner—you aren’t alone. Many patients report symptoms of dry eye syndrome after rocking a smoky eye look, especially for extended periods of time.

The good news is those makeup lovers who have dry eye syndrome can continue to put their best face forward with the guidance of their dry eye optometrist.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic lack of ocular hydration that can be caused by several factors, including genetics, environmental irritants, allergies, certain medical conditions, specific medications and hormonal fluctuations.

Symptoms of DES may include:

  • Burning eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Mucus around the eyes
  • Discomfort while wearing contact lenses
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Eyes that ache or feel heavy

DES treatment depends on the underlying cause of the problem. Your dry eye optometrist will thoroughly evaluate your eyes to find and treat the source of your symptoms.

Can Eyeliner and Other Eye Makeup Cause Dry Eyes?

Our eyes are lined with tiny glands, known as meibomian glands, at the edge of both the upper and lower eyelids that secrete nourishing oils into our tears to help prevent premature tear evaporation. Any blockages or irritation in these glands can lead to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a leading cause of dry eye symptoms.

A recent study published in The Journal of Cornea and External Disease found that the regular use of eyeliner can cause the tear film to become unstable as the eyeliner can clog these small meibomian glands.

An important measurement, known as tear film breakup time, was much lower in the eyeliner-wearing group in the study, indicating that their tears evaporated more quickly. The same group also had reduced meibomian gland function and more symptoms of MGD.

The good news is that you can still wear eyeliner and other eye makeup products, despite having dry eyes. Here’s how:

Tips for Safely Wearing Eyeliner With Dry Eyes

  1. Only use eye makeup products that are intended for use around the eye area.
  2. Keep your makeup and applicators clean. Sharpen your eyeliner pencil and clean your brushes before each use to avoid contamination.
  3. Replace your eye makeup as often as recommended by the manufacturer.
  4. Never share your makeup with friends or family members.
  5. Avoid liners or shadows with glitter, as the particles can easily disrupt your tear film.
  6. Try to stick to cream-based products for the least amount of irritation.
  7. Apply eye makeup to the outside of your eyelashes. Lining the inner rim of your eyelids can clog or irritate the meibomian glands.
  8. Be diligent about eye hygiene. Always thoroughly wash your face and eyes before bed with eye-safe cleaning products.
  9. Visit your dry eye optometrist!

Our Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

At Dry Eye Center of Alabama, we know that our patients want to look and feel their best. That’s why we tailor your dry eye treatment to suit your lifestyle and needs.

If you or a loved one suffers from symptoms of DES to any degree, we can help. Our optometric team will determine the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms and offer the relief you seek.

To schedule a dry eye consultation, comtact Dry Eye Center of Alabama today!

Dry Eye Center of Alabama serves patients from Birmingham, Vestavia, Homewood and Mountain Brook, Alabama and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. C. Derrick Franklin

Q: Are there any vitamins I can take to prevent or relieve dry eye disease?

  • A: Yes, certain foods help the eyes stay properly hydrated. Specific vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements are good not only for our overall health but also for our tear film. These include Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, B, C, E, as well as Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Q: Is dry eye syndrome dangerous for eye health?

  • A: When chronic dry eye isn’t treated, several eye conditions can occur: pink eye (conjunctivitis), keratitis (corneal inflammation) and corneal ulcers. DES can also make it difficult or impossible to wear contact lenses, cause difficulty with reading and trigger headaches.

 

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Do You Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 205-490-2322

What Are the Best Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes?

Around the world, more than 30 million people suffer from blindness. Conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and eye trauma make up the bulk of these cases. Unfortunately, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, additional factors – such as excessive screen time – have led to a further decline in global eye health. It’s never been a better time to focus on the necessity of quality eye care!

The most significant action you can take to optimize your eye health is to visit an eye doctor near you for regular eye exams. When you consider the fact that about 80% of all vision impairment could have been prevented by early detection and treatment, it’s a glaring alert that too many people are unaware of the need to schedule regular visits to an eye clinic near you.

In addition to eye exams, follow these simple and effective tips for promoting good eye health:

Match your glasses to their function

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, be sure to wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection to protect your eyes from the dangerous effects of UV rays. Too much sun exposure has been associated with cataract formation and other serious eye diseases.

If you spend a lot of time on a computer or any digital device, you can help prevent computer vision syndrome by blocking hazardous blue light emitted from the screen. Ask an optometrist near you about computer glasses with a blue light filter.

Eat Right for Your Eyes

    • Leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and kale, are rich with lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which can help limit the development of AMD and cataracts. Lutein also boosts the pigments that prevent hazardous UV rays from damaging your eyes.
    • Vitamins C and E and zinc have been linked to a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration.
    • Antioxidants, found in abundance in yellow peppers, egg yolk, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots and blueberries, can help protect your peepers against sun damage.

    Moisturize Your Eyes

    Dry eye syndrome is a common condition, and it is occurring more frequently worldwide as pollution worsens. Long periods spent in front of the computer have also contributed to the growing incidences of dry eye. If you suffer the irritating symptoms of this condition, visit an eye doctor near you for an evaluation and treatment. You can also help yourself by resting your eyes and blinking often enough, which lubricates the eye surface. If necessary, use preservative-free artificial tears eye drops to soothe dry, irritated eyes.

    Dry Eye Center of Alabama, your Birmingham eye doctorfor eye exams and eye care

    Book an appointment online here

          • What is diabetic eye disease?

            Diabetic eye disease is a condition which can occur at any stage or type of diabetes. In fact, many times diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected they may have diabetes. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina. Over time, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye. If the condition progresses, new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which places the retina at risk of additional and sometimes sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.

          • My doctor says I have a cataract, but he wants to wait a while before removing it. Why?

            A cataract usually starts very small and practically unnoticeable but grows gradually larger and cloudier. Your doctor is probably waiting until the cataract interferes significantly with your vision and your lifestyle. You need to continue to visit your eye doctor regularly so the cataract’s progress is monitored. Some cataracts never really reach the stage where they should be removed. If your cataract is interfering with your vision to the point where it is unsafe to drive, or doing everyday tasks is difficult, then it’s time to discuss surgery with your doctor.

          • What exactly is glaucoma?

            Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it’s not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.

          • Do eye vitamins help stop macular degeneration?

            While there is no definitive cure for macular generation, only treatments to halt or slow the progression, eye vitamins are shown in some studies to help strengthen the macula and aid in keeping this central area of the retina stable. Vitamins for this condition need to be rich in Lutein, Zeaxanthine, and Omega 3’s such as fish oil. Most vitamins for the eye can be found over the counter without a prescription.’

    6 Reasons Scleral Lenses Can Manage Your Dry Eye Syndrome

    6 Reasons Scleral Lenses Can Manage Your Dry Eye Syndrome 640×350If your eyes are chronically itchy, dry, red or irritated, there’s a good chance you have dry eye syndrome.

    Eye drops and artificial tears may provide temporary relief, but they often don’t help individuals with chronic or severe dry eye syndrome. That’s why so many people seek out other treatment options.

    One such option is scleral lenses. Although custom-made scleral contact lenses are widely used to correct corneal abnormalities and refractive errors, they can also help patients with intractable dry eye symptoms. Here’s why:

    1. Scleral lenses don’t irritate the cornea

    Standard contact lenses are typically not an option for people who need vision correction and also have persistent dry eye syndrome. Standard soft lenses sit on the cornea, which can be exceedingly irritating. In contrast, scleral lenses vault over the cornea and sit on the sclera (the white of the eye). The lenses do not come into contact with the corneal surface, reducing discomfort.

    2. The scleral lens design ensures constant hydration of the eye

    Thanks to sclerals’ unique design, saline solution fills the space between the surface of the cornea and the scleral lens. This provides the eyes with constant hydration. To help lubricate and promote healing of the ocular surface, artificial tears and antibiotics can be administered to the lens’ bowl prior to insertion.

    3. Scleral lenses protect the cornea

    Dry eye syndrome makes the corneas more susceptible to injury. Due to the mechanical friction of the eyelids on the cornea, even something as basic as rubbing the eye or even blinking can exacerbate any current corneal damage. Sclerals can act as a barrier between a patient’s eyes and their eyelids, as well as the outside environment.

    4. Sclerals allow the eye to regain a healthier appearance

    Dry eye patients frequently present with eyes that are red or bloodshot. Scleral lenses perform a therapeutic role by providing a shield from the outside world and ensuring a constant supply of hydration. The redness will begin to dissipate once the eyes receive enough moisture.

    5. Patients can continue using artificial tears and eye drops while wearing scleral lenses

    Patients can continue to moisten their eyes with preservative-free eye drops or artificial tears while wearing scleral lenses. With that said, many patients discover that after they start wearing scleral lenses, they can reduce the frequency of artificial tear use. Some need eye drops only at night, after they have removed their lenses.

    6. Scleral lenses can dramatically improve quality of life

    Patients with dry eye syndrome can feel worn down by the almost constant discomfort and eye fatigue, not to mention looking tired all the time due to eye redness.

    For patients who have suffered from severe dry eye syndrome for months or years, finding relief while enjoying clear and comfortable vision definitely boosts their quality of life.

    If you suffer from dry eye syndrome and have been looking for a more effective treatment option, ask Dr. Franklin about scleral lenses. Call Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Dry Eye Center of Alabama today to schedule your consultation and learn more about these special lenses.

    Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Dry Eye Center of Alabama serves patients from Birmingham, Vestavia, Homewood, and Mountain Brook, Alabama and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. C. Derrick Franklin

    Q: What are scleral lenses?

    • A: Scleral contact lenses are gas-permeable lenses that sit on the sclera (the white area of the eye) and form a dome over the cornea. This dome forms a new optical surface over the injured, uneven or dry cornea, allowing for sharper and more comfortable vision.

    Q: How long do scleral lenses last?

    • A: These rigid gas permeable contacts are made of high-quality, long-lasting materials and typically last 1-3 years. While scleral lenses are more expensive than standard contact lenses, they’re a worthwhile investment, particularly for those with hard-to-fit eyes, keratoconus, astigmatism or dry eye syndrome.

    Request A Scleral Lens Appointment
    Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 205-490-2322

    Why You Need to Make Eye Care a Part of Your Health Care Plan!

    Regular physical exams and screenings for disease have become an integral part of routine health care for many people. Yet, what about eye care? Do you remember to visit your eye doctor yearly for eye care services, or do you only go if you have a problem with your vision?

    Many people neglect to include eye care in their regular health care plan. This is a mistake! Regular eye exams can provide your eye doctor with a chance to help you correct vision changes, as well as identify any signs of ocular disease at a very early stage.

    Vision correction

    When you wear glasses or contact lenses, yearly eye exams are important for detecting any changes in your vision that could lead to disturbing symptoms, such as headaches, eye strain, and double vision. Why wait until you experience painful symptoms?

    Your eye doctor will assess your visual acuity and visual skills thoroughly to ensure your prescription is up to date. Vision changes as you age, and conditions such as presbyopia are normal. A pair of reading glasses, bifocals or multifocal progressives can resolve this problem easily.

    Also, a variety of new surgical procedures and treatments are available to correct vision. If you’re interested in seeing clearly without prescription eyewear, ask your eye doctor about the latest eye care services on offer!

    Keep an eye on eye health

    As you reach your 60s and older, it’s important to be informed about different warning signs of age-related ocular health diseases and conditions that can lead to vision loss. Many eye diseases present no early warning signs, so an eye exam by a qualified eye doctor is the only dependable way to diagnose or rule out these problems!

    Vision disorders to watch out for include:

    • Age-related macular degeneration – this condition affects the macula, leading to a loss of central vision.
    • Cataracts – when the normally clear lens of your eye becomes cloudy, which can weaken your sensitivity to contrast, dim colors, and increase sensitivity to glare.
    • Diabetic retinopathy – this can occur in people with any type of diabetes; it’s caused by damage to the small blood vessels that supply oxygen to the retina and can lead to retinal inflammation, blurry vision, and blindness.
    • Dry eye syndrome – this condition is characterized by an inadequate quantity of tears or a poor tear composition, so the eye is lubricated well.
    • Glaucoma – this refers to a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve, leading to permanent vision loss.
    • Retinal Detachment – a tearing or separation of the retina from underlying eye tissue.

    Remember, the earlier these diseases are detected – the more effectively they can be treated, before you suffer permanent damage to your vision.

    Primary eye care is vital for your health. To protect your lasting vision, take advantage of all the preventive, rehabilitative, and curative eye care services your eye doctor has to offer!

    Book an eye exam at Dry Eye Center of Alabama eye clinic near you in Birmingham, Alabama to learn more about your personalized eye care.

    Call 205 498 4244

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    • Is it possible to prevent Macular Degeneration?

      Doctors aren’t sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses could be very beneficial.

    • What are cataracts and how can they be treated?

      Cataracts are a clouding of the lens inside the eye. They are common with age, certain medications and medical conditions. Patients usually feel like they are looking through a dirty window, cannot see colours the way they used to or have increased difficulty with glare. Currently, the treatment is surgery to remove the cloudy lens. Stay tuned for medical advances in cataract treatment in the future!

    • What is diabetic retinopathy?

      Diabetic retinopathy is a condition which can occur at any stage or type of diabetes. In fact, many times diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected they may have diabetes. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina. Over time, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye. If the condition progresses, new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which places the retina at risk of additional and sometimes sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.

    • Are there some every day activities that can cause Dry Eye?

      Generally those that suffer with allergies, or have systemic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and sjogrens’, or those who use the computer or digital devices often and even contact lens wearers tend to be more susceptible to dry eye symptoms.

    I Think My Toddler Has Pink Eye!

    What Causes this Infection? Pink eye, also called conjunctivitis, may be unsightly and look scary, but it’s actually a common eye infection in kids (and adults!). It can affect one or both eyes, turning the eye red or pink when bacteria, a virus, an allergen or another irritant inflames the clear coating of the eye, called the conjunctiva.

    If you suspect your toddler has pink eye, book an appointment with an eye doctor near you for diagnosis. Many different eye conditions present with similar symptoms, and only a qualified eye care provider can confirm or rule out pink eye.

    Not All Pink Eye is the Same

    There are four different types of this eye condition – viral, bacterial, allergic and irritant. What many parents don’t realize is that the symptoms can vary between the types.

    The most common symptoms include:

    • A pink or red-colored eye
    • Itching that makes the toddler rub the eye
    • Sensation that something gritty is stuck in the eye
    • Light sensitivity
    • Sticky mucus discharge; it can sometimes seal the eyelid shut so the child has trouble opening his or her crusty eye upon waking in the morning
    • Swollen eyelids
    • Watery eyes; this symptom, often accompanied by a runny nose, is most common in allergic pink eye

    Viral and bacterial eye infections are both contagious and can be caught from another person or from touching contaminated objects. When it comes to viral pink eye, it can also result from your toddler’s own body spreading a viral infection, such as the common cold, through mucous membranes.

    In contrast, allergic and irritant pink eye are not contagious. They occur when the body reacts to contact with either an external allergen (pollen and pet dander are typical culprits), or to exposure to something that irritates eyes, such as smoke.

    Visit an Eye Clinic Near You in Birmingham, Alabama for Treatment

    As soon as you spot the signs of pink eye, book an eye exam with an optometrist near you. Not only will prompt action enable your toddler to get the right treatment to alleviate the discomfort as soon as possible, but it also reduces the chances of your child spreading the infection to other kids and family members. Rule of thumb – untreated pink eye can be contagious for up to two weeks!

    After performing an eye exam to determine the type of pink eye, the eye doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment:

    • Typically, bacterial pink eye will be treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointment. Ointments are often easier to apply to little kids’ eyes. Improvement is usually noticeable within a few days, but it’s essential to use the full course of antibiotic therapy as directed by your eye doctor, to make sure the bacterial infection is fully eradicated.
    • Viral pink eye can’t be treated with medicine; the virus needs to run its course through the body. But there are some home remedies you can try to relieve the symptoms. Cleaning the eyes regularly with a wet cloth and applying warm or cold compresses on the eyes can both be soothing.
    • Your toddler’s optometrist may offer antihistamines to treat allergic pink eye, depending on the severity of the condition. A DIY tip that many people find helpful is to apply a cool compress.
    • Irritant pink eye is usually treated by flushing the eyes with clean water to clear out the irritant. The symptoms should then disappear on their own within a short time.

    Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Birmingham eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.What is Blue Light and why is it dangerous?

    Book an eye exam at Dry Eye Center of Alabama eye clinic near you in Birmingham, Alabama to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 205 498 4244

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    • What exactly is pink eye?

      Pink eye is really anything that makes the eye pink. The official term is conjunctivitis, meaning an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the mostly transparent, skinnish like covering over the white of the eye. When the eye is irritated, the conjunctiva swells and blood vessels in it dilate, giving the eye a pink or reddish appearance. Many different agents can lead to this, including bacteria, viruses, allergens, and toxic or mechanical irritants. Treatment and contagion protection depend on the specific cause. Often the cause can be determined based on history, eye appearance with specialized instruments, and symptoms. Viral pinkeye, for example, is typically associated with increased light sensitivity, whereas itching is a key sign in allergic pink eye. There is a good deal of overlap with all kinds, however. Bacterial and viral pinkeye are both contagious, and fairly common. With any pink eye, particularly if it is getting worse, or not getting any better within a day, it’s best to be seen by an eye care practitioner. She or he will have the experience, knowledge and instrumentation to provide the most efficient treatment and recommendations.

    • What is meant by the term allergic conjunctivitis? Is that the same as “pink eye”?

      Allergic conjunctivitis is the clinical term of ocular inflammation of the lining or membrane of the eye, called the conjunctiva, caused by allergic reactions to substances. Although a patient may present with red or pink eyes from excess inflammation, the common term “pink eye”can signify a broad term of conditions and can be misleading, as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other irritating substances can cause redness resembling a “pink eye.” Your eye doctor can differentiate between an allergy reaction and a true infection, which can lead to faster healing with proper treatments.

    • At what age should my child have his/her eyes examined?

      Eye exams for children should start between 6 months -1 year old. There is a nation-wide program called InfantSee where participating providers offer a FREE eye exam to children in this age group to make sure the eyes are developing properly. If there are no issues detected, an exam at 3 and 5 years old is sufficient to make sure the eyes are still developing properly for preschool and kindergarten. Since babies & toddlers have no way of knowing if what they see is “normal” and “clear” or not, having a comprehensive eye exam is the best way to ensure their eyes and vision is developing properly. Any ocular issues are best addressed sooner rather than later because 80% of learning takes place through vision in kids!

    • Does your office treat any eye related problems that children may have?

      Any health concern related to the eye and the surrounding area can be taken care of in our office. Red eyes, allergies, blurred vision etc can all be medically related problems, and we can treat them in our office.