Sunday, September 11, 2011

"I don't know how to put this but I'm kind of a BIG DEAL."

The Reading Eagle Big Deal sneak peak from Weaver Eye Care Associates, for all of you loyal blog, Facebook and Twitter followers:

Once you buy the deal, if you refer 3 friends that also buy the deal, you end up getting yours for FREE! For more information and sign up, go to

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Those eyelids have a lot of work to do...

Hello everyone,

I just posted a fun fact on the WECA Facebook page about Pharaohs and ancient Egyptians. In summary, ancient Egyptians wore black eye makeup, not only to look good, but to also help fight ocular infection. The black makeup contained two non-natural lead chlorides--laurionite and phosgenite--that boosted levels of nitric oxide in the skin. Nitric oxide is a key signaling agent to stimulate the immune system to fight infection. If you're really curious about this, check out the Review of Optometry excerpt as well.

I also had a recent WECA Facebook post in early August about how hard the eyelids work for you. Basically, the eyelids of each eye covers the distance of a marathon from blinking in one year's time.

Well...these recent posts got me thinking about how important the eyelids are, what can happen when eyelid hygiene suffers and how you can keep your eyelids (and your eyes) happy all day long.

When reading, using a computer, playing video games, or anything else that requires reading and/or concentration
Everyone has a normal blinking rate that's involuntary. This is done to coat the surface of the eye with your natural tears so that your eyes do not become dry. When you concentrate or perform extensive reading tasks, you tend to blink less than normal, which then causes dryness symptoms such as irritation, excessive reflex tearing (to combat the dryness), redness and blurred/fluctuating vision.

Lots of bad things can happen to those eyelids and eyelashes
A stye can develop due to a clogged oil gland at the base of an eyelash. This creates a hardened bump that's cosmetically unappealing that can eventually become infected, causing redness, pain and swelling of the eyelid.

Those eyelashes should always turn outwards. However, sometimes an eyelash may decide to become a non-conformist and turn inwards and poke you in the eye instead, causing irritation and discomfort every time you blink (and you blink many, many times a day).

A piece of debris (dirt, a small fuzzy, mascara) may get trapped underneath the eyelid (usually the upper eyelid). Similarly to the inward-pointing eyelash, an eyelid foreign body may cause irritation and discomfort eye time you blink, as well.

During allergy season, or from an allergy reaction, the eyelids may become red, puffy and itchy.

Eyelashes can become crusty with yellow matter, due to the presence of normal bacteria around the eyelash/eyelid region. This, in turn, can cause inflammation of the eyelids to create problems with redness, dryness and itchiness as well.

What you can do to help your eyelids
I have to be honest...when I wash my face in the morning and at night, I typically don't like to wash my eyes too well because if I got soap in there, it would sting like crazy. And I'm sure many other people wash their faces and ears and necks...but forget about the eyes.

It's very important to maintain excellent eyelid hygiene. The easiest way to do this is to make sure to use hot compresses (not so hot to burn the skin), and to feel that heat on the upper and lower eyelids. This heat stimulates tear production, and with styes, it melts the hardened material stuck in the melting butter. If you're afraid to get soap in your eyes, a gentle over-the-counter eyelid scrub in a pad or foam format will clean your eyelids and eyelashes well. Also, a less costlier way would be to use Johnson's Baby Shampoo by applying the shampoo to the hot washcloth, getting it nice and soapy/sudsy, and massage the eyelids while your eyes are closed to clean them...and then just rinse them. Doing this morning and night (just like brushing your teeth) will minimize the chances of blepharitis and styes.

When it comes to allergies, the main symptom is the itching. In this case, cold compresses are what works best. Sometimes an eyelid allergy (dermatitis) can be so bad that cold compresses may not be enough, and getting professional help from your eye doctor would be the way to go. Also, any symptoms of redness, decreased vision or pain that doesn't go away or worsens, should be checked out immediately by an eye doctor to figure out exactly what's wrong.

So, don't take your eyelids for granted. They do a lot of work. Keep them healthy and they'll treat you good.

Dr. Weaver
Ps. This is the photo from the Reading Eagle article written about the practice in January. If you're nostalgic, you can check out the original article here.