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I Think Something Is Stuck in My Eye. What Now?

Having something stuck in your eye isn’t fun. Your first reaction might be to panic, but this is actually the worst thing you can do. Stay calm, and we’ll talk you through it.

If you have a foreign object stuck in your eye, such as a piece of debris, it can really hurt. You may feel worried or even scared, but we can help. Our providers at Eye Q Optique explain more about what you should do when this happens.

What can get stuck in your eye

Just the thought of getting something stuck in your eye might make anyone flinch. If you’re not wearing safety glasses when needed, for example, you could get something in your eye extremely easily. 

Sometimes, random accidents happen that aren’t preventable, such as getting an eyelash or fiber stuck in your eye. Even though these items are tiny, they can still hurt a lot.

If you feel like you have something in your eye, sometimes you need help getting it out. This isn’t a do-it-yourself kind of situation!

First steps

Wash your hands with soap and water before touching your eye. This is essential because not doing so could introduce bacteria into your eye that could cause an infection.

Even though your eye hurts and it seems like the most natural thing to do, don’t rub it. If you wear contact lenses, remove them as quickly as possible.

You should also avoid the use of cotton swabs or tweezers if you find something in your eye. Please, let us handle it.

What next?

Sometimes, debris can fall into your eye that seems like you can get out. If so, the first thing you want to do is flush your eyes with water. Don’t use just ordinary tap water if you have some saline solution on hand. Saline is the more appropriate choice because it’s sterile.

If chemicals get into your eye — even ordinary household chemicals, such as bleach or cleaners, saline can help reduce the irritation until you can come in and see us.

Danger signs

In some cases, you need immediate medical attention. Don’t stay home trying to fix it yourself — go to the emergency room, if possible.

Such danger signs include the following:

  • Your eye is bleeding
  • Something has poked a hole in your eye
  • You get chemicals in your eye
  • You can’t close your eyes
  • Your vision changes
  • You remove a foreign object but your eye still hurts

Any of these symptoms is a clue that you should seek professional help as soon as possible.

What we can do

When you come into our office, we may first put drops in your affected eye to numb it or to help us get a better view of what’s going on. Next, we may use technologies, such as ultrasound or X-ray, to give us a closer look at the problem. We may also help flush out the foreign object from your eye with saline or special tools to help get it out.

Antibiotic ointments might be prescribed to help your eye further heal, and we might advise you not to wear contacts (if applicable) for a few days until your eye heals.

In most cases, getting something stuck in your eye is a short-term emergency. We’ll help you take care of it, and then your eye will need a few days to heal from the injury. Keep any follow-up appointments, even if you’re doing better.

Though getting something stuck in your eye can feel scary, stay calm and contact our team at Eye Q Optique in Buffalo Grove or Chicago, Illinois. However, if you have an emergency situation, you should go straight to the emergency room at your nearest hospital.

3 Telltale Signs of a Scratched Cornea

3 Telltale Signs of a Scratched Cornea

If your eye feels itchy and or feels like it has something in it, you might try to see if you can find anything, such as a loose eyelash or a piece of dust. What you might not know is that this is a classic symptom of having a scratched cornea, which is also called a corneal abrasion.

A corneal abrasion is actually a scratch on the outermost part of your eye. It’s not generally serious, but it can lead to an infection if you don’t seek attention. Our providers at Eye Q Optique explain more about how this happens and what to do about it.

The signs of a corneal abrasion

Quite simply, a corneal abrasion is a scratch on the outer surface of your eye. The cornea is the clear layer over the iris (the colored part of the eye) and the pupil. 

Here are three telltale signs that you have a scratched cornea:

Your eyes are sensitive to light

If you have a scratched cornea, your eyes may be especially sensitive to light. This symptom is also called photophobia.  

Your eyes hurt

It’s normal for your eyes to hurt if you’ve scratched your cornea. That’s because the cornea has a lot of tiny nerve endings, which produce a great deal of pain. 

Your vision may be blurry 

If your vision is blurred or otherwise less clear than usual, it can be a sign that you have a corneal abrasion. 

The risk factors for corneal abrasion

Although anyone can get a scratch on their cornea, some people are more likely than others to get them. These risk factors include the following:

  • Working around dangerous equipment, such as sawmills or grinding machines
  • Playing sports without wearing proper eye protection
  • Wearing contact lenses
  • Landscaping or working around plants without eye protection
  • Having dry eyes

Any of these factors increase your risk of scratching your cornea. However, the one thing you shouldn’t do is rub your eye, especially if you feel like or know that you have a foreign object in it.

What to do about a scratched cornea

Most scratched corneas will gradually heal within days in most cases. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it and wait for it to go away. You simply don’t know exactly how deep the scratch is, which requires a visit to our practice for an examination.

A professional on our team will place drops in your eye to make the scratch more visible. These drops don’t hurt and in fact, we can numb your eye to make the pain stop. 

If you do indeed have a scratch on your cornea, you may need antibiotic drops to put in your eyes, in addition to steroids to decrease inflammation and reduce pain and sensitivity. 

Time is of the essence with eye injuries, including scratched corneas. Call us as soon as possible if you think you have one. You could face much more serious risks, such as corneal ulcers, if you wait to get treatment. Corneal ulcers can lead to loss of vision, so this needs to be addressed immediately.


If you’ve scratched your eye, the first thing to do is to flush your eyes with saline (not tap water). Then, contact us at the nearest Eye Q Optique location for an exam or request an appointment online.

No, Not All Sunglasses Are Created Equal. Here's What to Look For

No, Not All Sunglasses Are Created Equal. Here's What to Look For

If you’re looking for some new sunglasses, you’re not alone. Even during the winter months, many people still shop for sunglasses. Here in the Chicago area, the sun can seem extremely bright on certain snowy days. You may get glare off of all the snow in the environment.

When it comes to choosing sunglasses, you need to consider more than just fashion. Selecting the right sunglasses can protect your eyes against the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun.  The providers at Eye Q Optique explain more about how to protect your eyes and the potential damages you want to avoid.

Why vision protection is important

Sunglasses aren’t just a way to make yourself look cool — they’re also an essential accessory that can protect your vision.

The sun’s rays beam UV radiation directly at you, which can potentially cause health issues, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. 

The sun produces three types of ultraviolet rays: 

UVA

These have the longest UV wavelengths, reaching from 315-400 nanometers.  These rays can penetrate the ozone layer and are very powerful.

UVB

Thes rays have the second-longest wavelength form of UV rays, reaching from 280-315 nm. Most of these rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, but some still get through.

UVC 

These rays have wavelengths of 100-280 nm. They get completely absorbed by the ozone layer and don’t reach your body at all.

Good-quality sunglasses should block the UVA and UVB rays as much as possible. Some sunglasses are only for fashion and don’t offer much protection against UV rays, so you should avoid these.

If you need glasses, you may also want to get prescription sunglasses. You’ll probably wonder how you lived without them for so long once you get them. 

Are darker sunglass lenses always better?

No, UV protection has little to do with how dark the lenses are. Sometimes, even lighter lenses can still offer good UV protection.

In fact, darker lenses can actually cause damage to your eyes if they don’t block UV rays at all. These lenses cause your pupils to widen, which allows more of the UV rays to reach your eyes. This can potentially cause greater damage to your eyes than not wearing sunglasses at all.

The best sunglasses

The best type of sunglasses you can choose is called UV400. These lenses block out UV rays up to 400 nm in wavelength. Even clear lenses can have UV400 protection, so it doesn’t matter how dark the lenses are.

An additional option is to select polarized lenses. While these don’t offer specific protection against UV rays, they can help filter out the glare you may get from the sun reflecting off of snow or in other weather conditions.

If you’re choosing a new pair of sunglasses, you want to select a pair that’s flattering on your face. However, you should also keep in mind the issue of UV protection. 

The sun’s rays can cause real damage to your eyes, so you want to protect your eyesight as much as possible. Contact the providers at Eye Q Optique at a location near you or request an appointment online today.

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Eye Concerns Every Senior Should Be Aware Of

While many great changes occur in your senior years, such as being retired (or looking forward to it) and maybe even getting to enjoy grandchildren, some changes aren’t so great. One of them is that you face new risks to your vision.

The American Optometric Association recommends yearly eye exams for adults over 60. This is because your eyes can often dramatically worsen in a relatively short period of time. People who have diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes, are at especially high risk of developing serious concerns with their vision. 

Protect your eyesight with regular eye exams. The providers at Eye Q Optique explain more about the changes to your eyes that you should be aware of. 

Problems with your eyes as you age

Unfortunately, our bodies begin to decline at some point, although when this happens is highly individual. Still, we know that although younger people can also develop vision problems, they’re much more likely to occur in seniors. Here are some of the most common changes to watch out for.

Dry eyes

In general, our eyes start to become drier after age 40. By the time you’re 65 or older, most adults have some degree of dry eye. It may feel like you have something gritty in your eyes, such as a grain of sand. Your tear ducts don’t produce as many tears, which lubricates your eyes and keeps them feeling healthy.

You can use eye drops available over the counter or get a prescription for eye drops. If you work on computers, this problem is especially likely to occur. 

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration affects more than 10 million Americans, most of whom are seniors. This condition occurs when the macula (the center of your retina) becomes damaged, resulting in blurry or wavy vision. There’s no known cure for it, but you can slow down the rate of progression by exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition that affects many people as they get older. This disease affects the optic nerve inside your eyes. Pressure builds up in the eye, which can lead to eventually losing your sight altogether if it’s not caught early. Because glaucoma is often painless in the early stages, the only way you may know that you have it is to get regular eye exams.

Diabetic retinopathy

If you have diabetes, you may already know that it increases your risk of experiencing other health problems, too. One is called diabetic retinopathy. Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you still face this risk. The condition is caused by excess sugar damaging your retinas. 

It’s crucial to strive to control your blood sugar as well as you can. You also need to have a relationship with an eye doctor who can track changes to your eyes as they occur.

Cataracts

Cataracts are a condition in which your vision gets extremely cloudy. In a healthy eye, the lens of your eye is like a camera lens, reflecting everything you see. In the case of your eyes, images are reflected off the retina. With cataracts, the lens of your eye becomes damaged. 

Symptoms of cataracts include the following:

  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty driving at night and in other low-light situations
  • Colors appear dull
  • Increased sensitivity to glare

We need to regularly test your eyes to determine whether or not you’re developing cataracts. Sometimes, the cataracts only block part of your vision. However, other times they block your vision so significantly that we have to do surgery to replace the lens of your eye.

If you’re a senior, you want to be able to see so you can enjoy what may be some of the best years of your life. Contact the providers at Eye Q Optique to make an appointment at the location nearest you or request an appointment online.

A Closer Look at How Your Eyes Work (And What Can Go Wrong)

A Closer Look at How Your Eyes Work (And What Can Go Wrong)

Your vision is one of the most important senses you have, and it’s probably very difficult to imagine life without it. However, many people don’t know exactly how their eyes work. In addition, many may not know what types of things can go wrong with their eyesight.

Here at Eye Q Optique, we explain the intricacies of your eyes and how they work.

How you see

Vision is a simple yet complex process. When light enters your eyes, it’s refracted off of your corneas. This dome-shaped part of your eye bends the light to allow your eyes to focus.

Some of this light also enters the pupil of your eye (the center part of your eye) and some of it also enters the iris (the colored part of your eyes.)

Light passes through the lens of your eye, which is a clear inner part of your eyes. The lens works with the cornea to focus light correctly on the retina.

When light hits the retina — a light-sensitive layer of tissues at the back of the eye — it’s turned by cells called photoreceptors, which turn light into electrical signals.

Finally, the optic nerve sends these electrical signals to your brain for interpretation and processing.

What can go wrong

Although most people have perfect vision, a report by the National Institute of Health shows that 11% of people have vision problems that can be corrected. This means that getting an eye exam can reveal issues with seeing things far away (a condition called myopia), seeing things close up (a condition called hyperopia), or astigmatism.

These conditions are correctable by wearing glasses or contacts to help you properly see. Some people may choose to get a more permanent correction by undergoing surgeries, such as LASIK.

Eye injuries can also damage your vision.

Keeping your eyes healthy

Sometimes, you can’t tell whether your eyes need corrective lenses to assist your vision. These conditions are often hereditary, and if one or both of your parents need to wear glasses or contact lenses, you may need to do the same.

Other times, vision problems result from lifestyle habits and diseases, such as diabetes. Either way, making an appointment for an eye exam at our practice is essential to keep track of your vision and watch for changes over time. 

If you currently wear glasses or contacts (or are about to), make an eye appointment with us at least once a year to see if your prescription has changed. It’s common for corrective lenses to require stronger correction over time.

If you haven’t recently had an eye exam, there’s no better time to do so than right now. Contact us at Eye Q Optique or request an appointment online.

 Tips for Eating Your Way to Better Vision

Tips for Eating Your Way to Better Vision

Maybe you’ve seen old Bugs Bunny cartoons, which show him eating carrots to give him improved eyesight. The foods you eat can make a major difference in boosting your vision, but carrots are far from the only good choices. 

You can always benefit from having your eyes be as healthy as possible. The providers at Eye Q Optique explain more about the foods you should eat to have the healthiest vision possible.

The vitamins you need

Different foods have naturally high concentrations of vitamins that boost your vision. Although you can take vitamin supplements, getting the nutrients directly from food is the healthiest choice. (It definitely doesn’t hurt that all of them are low in calories, either.)

The vitamins you need include:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is also known as beta-carotene. This is the nutrient that makes carrots so good for you. Other foods high in beta-carotene include raw red bell peppers, apricots, cantaloupe, spinach, mangoes, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another vitamin that’s great for your eye health. Good food sources of vitamin C include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, red peppers, and strawberries.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another one of the classes of vitamins called antioxidants, which remove oxidative stress from your body. Good food sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, almonds, peanut butter, spinach, and sunflower seeds.

Zinc

You also need zinc in your diet. Good food sources of zinc include chickpeas (garbanzo beans), beans in general, red meat, oysters, pork chops, and yogurt.

Lutein and zeaxanthin

These two nutrients pack a powerful punch when it comes to improving your vision. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, eggs, corn, kale, nectarines, papaya, romaine lettuce, spinach, and squash can help you get a healthy dose of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a very good type of fat that your body needs. Great food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds (or flaxseed oil), salmon, sardines, tuna, and walnuts.

If you want to improve your eyesight, include more of these foods in your diet.

The link between nutrition and vision

We already know there’s a strong link between the quality of your nutritional intake and your vision. The macula is the part of your eyes responsible for giving you clear, sharp vision, and foods that are high in lutein and zeaxanthin can make your macula stronger.  Foods high in zinc can help keep your retinas healthy and protect them from damaging types of light.

Sometimes, your vision is already slightly damaged due to macular degeneration or the effects of diabetes. Here at Eye Q Optique, we can test your visual fields and determine if you should be taking additional supplements of these nutrients.

If you want to see better, it often starts with something as simple as changing your diet. Contact us at Eye Q Optique today or request an appointment online.



Why Are My Eyes So Red All the Time?

Why Are My Eyes So Red All the Time?

While red or bloodshot eyes might make you feel embarrassed, they can also be accompanied with symptoms like itchiness, dryness, and discomfort. That’s why it’s important to learn the root cause of the problem.

Here at Eye Q Optique, we explain the possible causes of bloodshot eyes and how to remedy the issue.

Possible causes of red eyes

Some of the more common causes of bloodshot eyes include:

Improper contact lens use

If you wear contact lenses, you may find your eyes getting red and possibly dry and itchy for certain reasons. Improper forms of use, such as wearing a pair of lenses for longer than you’re supposed to before replacing them or reusing lens cleaning solution can cause your eyes to be red.

Allergies

Allergies are another common cause of red eyes. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do if your allergies are due to your environment. However, if you notice that your eyes get red in certain areas you can control — such as a smoky environment — spend less time in there or avoid it altogether to reduce your eye redness.

Many people with allergy-related red eyes find that over-the-counter eye drops get rid of the problem pretty well.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a type of eye inflammation that’s relatively common. Schedule an appointment with our team of providers to determine if your blepharitis is caused by a bacterial infection, in which case, we’ll prescribe eye drops to clear the infection. Be sure to follow up if your infection doesn’t heal properly or gets worse.

Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, can be a real problem. Some cases are bacterial, while others are viral. This infection spreads extremely easily from one person to another. Prescription eye drops are often required if you have bacterial pink eye, although viral cases usually resolve on their own.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is caused by a group of various eye disorders that damages your optic nerve. Though glaucoma is one of the less-common reasons for red eyes, you should come into our practice for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment options

Most causes of red eyes are treatable. When you schedule an appointment with our team, we examine your eyes to determine the cause. Whether you have an infection or are simply wearing your contact lenses improperly, we can identify the cause and help you feel better quickly with a customized solution.

If you have red eyes, contact us at Eye Q Optique or request an appointment online today.

Things to Look for in a Pair of Safety Glasses

Things to Look for in a Pair of Safety Glasses

Selecting a pair of safety glasses is more important than you might realize. Choosing safety glasses isn’t about finding what looks best on you.

When you need to get a pair of safety glasses — whether for work or just while engaging in your hobbies — we can help you choose the right pair. Here at Eye Q Optique, our team explains some of the features you should take into consideration.

Why you might need safety glasses

Safety glasses protect your eyes from flying debris, dangerous chemicals, and other environmental threats that can damage your eyes, or cause you to lose your sight altogether.

When selecting safety glasses, make sure they’re recommended by both the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Occupational Health Safety Administration (OSHA.) 

Among the standards set by ANSI, your safety glasses should protect you from:

  • Dust
  • Debris
  • Impact
  • Heat
  • Radiation
  • Splatters and splashes

If you regularly come into contact with any of these materials, you should invest in a good pair of safety glasses. When it comes to glasses that you’re counting on to protect your eyes from damage, now is not the time to cut corners.

What’s different about safety glasses

Safety glasses have to be of a thickness sufficient to protect your eyes from flying objects or projectiles. However, you can choose between vented and non-vented types of glasses. The right ones for you depend largely on the environment you use them in. 

Vented safety glasses are generally more comfortable, as they allow your eyes to breathe, but they don’t provide enough protection if your work or hobby environment poses different risks.

Impact protection

Because the impact on your eyes is such a risk during certain activities, safety glasses must meet certain minimum standards to protect your eyes, which are determined by OSHA and ANSI.

Glasses have to meet two key standards to adequately protect you from impact, including:

High mass test

This test involves placing the glasses on a headform and a sharp, conical-shaped object is used to measure their resistance.

High-velocity impact test

As the name might suggest, this involves placing glasses on a headform, which must then resist the impact of steel ball bearings fired at them at high speed.

If your safety glasses meet both of these criteria, we can recommend them as safe for your eye protection.

If you need safety glasses, you simply cannot avoid getting them any longer. The health of your continued vision depends on it. Come in and look at our selection of safety glasses. 

Contact us at Eye Q Optique or request an appointment online at either one of our locations in Chicago or Buffalo Grove, Illinois.

 Warning Signs of an Eye Infection

 Warning Signs of an Eye Infection

If you suspect you may have an eye infection, it’s probably an uncomfortable and worrisome situation. While some common symptoms can indicate a probable infection, the warning signs may be more serious.

Eye infections are sometimes caused by viruses, bacteria, or a fungus. Our providers at Eye Q Optique explain more about what to watch for.

Symptoms of eye infections

While the causes of eye infections may vary, most of them have similar symptoms. Some of the warning signs to watch for include:

  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Swelling or redness around your eye
  • Producing more tears than usual
  • Having unusual discharge from your eye
  • Discomfort or pain when you open or close your eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Feeling like something is stuck in your eye

Although these symptoms can indicate one of several different problems, they’re all unique warning signs that you should take seriously.

Common types of eye infections

Although there are many different types of eye infections, certain ones are more common than others. These include the following:

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is an extremely common eye infection. It may be either viral or bacterial, although it can have other causes as well. One or both eyes may be affected. 

The telltale symptoms of conjunctivitis include having eyelids that are crusted over when you wake up and having the whites of your eyes look pink or red instead of white, in addition to itching and feeling like you have sand or grit in your eyes. You should definitely make an appointment with us as soon as possible.

Keratitis

Keratitis is an infection or inflammation of the eye’s cornea. Although it may have multiple different causes, most often it’s caused by improper care of contact lenses. 

However, it’s extremely essential to seek immediate medical attention from us. Failing to diagnose and treat keratitis in a timely enough manner can result in blindness. You usually have enough time that you don’t need to go to the emergency room, but you do need to treat it right away.

Cellulitis

Just as cellulitis can affect your skin, it can also affect your eyes. This infection may be fungal or bacterial in origin. You must seek medical attention as soon as possible because this infection can also result in the permanent loss of your vision.

Uveitis

This type of infection is sometimes caused by conditions like herpes or may be related to autoimmune disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. You need to schedule an appointment with us quickly for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

These are not the only causes of eye infections. You should never hesitate to schedule an appointment if you experience any of the telltale symptoms of an eye infection. 

Contact us at Eye Q Optique to make an appointment at the location nearest you in Chicago or Buffalo Grove, Illinois. You can also request an appointment online.

Help Getting Started If You’re New to Contact Lenses

Help Getting Started If You’re New to Contact Lenses

Wearing contact lenses seems like it should be so easy, right? And most people find that it is, but they’re often unprepared for the learning curve of getting used to them. 

If you decide you want to wear contact lenses, your first step is to make an appointment with our providers at Eye Q Optique. We examine your eyes and ensure that you’re a good candidate for contacts before prescribing them to you. Here, we offer helpful tips for getting started with contact lenses and adjusting to them.

Getting started

Every time that you put your contact lenses in, thoroughly wash and dry your hands first. You could have bacteria on your hands that could transfer to your eyes, causing a nasty infection. Also, be sure to dry your hands with a lint-free towel.

Open the storage case for your contact lenses and choose one to place in your eyes. It doesn’t matter which one you start with, although many people find it most comfortable to start by putting in a contact lens with their nondominant hand. 

Putting them in your eyes

This step may take a little bit of practice at first. Don’t worry, though; you should find them much easier to put in once you’re used to it.

Rinse the lens with a bit of contact solution or saline solution. Never use regular tap water.

Put the lens on the top of your index finger or middle finger on your dominant hand. Make sure the contact lens is facing the right way. It should be shaped like a bowl on the end of your finger.

Look in the mirror and hold your upper and lower eyelids open to create space for the contact lens. This may take a few tries or even several, but it’s important not to give up. You’ll get the hang of it soon.

Close your eyes once you have the lens in place, and make sure you can see clearly out of that eye.

Repeat the same process with the second lens.

If you’re still having trouble

It’s okay if you’re still having a bit of trouble; many people do at first but go on to become happy, long-term contact lens wearers.

If your lens feels scratchy or uncomfortable after you put it in, simply take it out. Wash your hands again before doing so.

Don’t rub your eyes, although it may feel very tempting to do so. Take out the contact lens and examine it for any rips or tears, which can cause extreme discomfort. 

If it’s ripped or damaged, you should discard it. If you have daily-replacement contacts, you can just use another one. However, if you have lenses intended for more regular wear, you should contact us immediately about a replacement.

If your lens doesn’t have any rips or tears, you should try to put it back in. Sometimes, waiting a couple of minutes and trying again is all it takes.

How to take out contacts

So, you already made it through the process of getting the contacts into your eye, but now you have to take them out, too.

Again, wash your hands before doing so. Use the middle finger of your dominant hand to pull down on your eyelid. In most cases, doing so allows you to just grasp the contact lens with a gentle pinching motion and remove it.

You should always store your lenses in contact solution until your next wear.

Additional considerations

If you wear eye makeup, in particular, you should always put in your contacts before applying eyeshadow, eyeliner, or mascara.

Paying attention to product expiration dates is especially important. You don’t want to use any makeup (especially eye-makeup), contact solution, or eye drops past the expiration date. Similarly, never use someone else’s eye-makeup.

If you’ve been thinking about getting contact lenses but feel a bit intimidated, make an appointment for a consultation at the location nearest you in Buffalo Grove or Chicago, Illinois. Our opticians can also help you put in your contacts. Contact us at Eye Q Optique or request an appointment online.

Beyond Self-Care: Medical Treatments to Help You Manage Blepharitis

Beyond Self-Care: Medical Treatments to Help You Manage Blepharitis

If you’ve ever had swollen, puffy eyelids that couldn’t be explained by a long night of crying, you could have a condition called blepharitis. It’s not a particularly dangerous condition, but it can be very uncomfortable.

Blepharitis tends to be common and recurring. If you’ve ever had the problem once, you’re likely to get it again. Here, at Eye Q Optique with locations in Buffalo Grove and Chicago, Illinois, our team explains more about how to treat blepharitis.

What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a term to describe a condition that causes the following symptoms:

  • Redness of the eyelids
  • Scaly or flaky debris that may be crusty
  • Thickening skin
  • Dry eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Feeling like you have something gritty in your eye

Sometimes, the scaly, crusty debris near your eyelashes may look like “eyelid dandruff.” You can get treatments that can help your eyes heal. Blepharitis may be linked to the meibomian glands, which produce the oils that lubricate your eyes; your eyes may produce more of these oils.

The two types of blepharitis

There are two types of blepharitis. We may take samples of the discharge that’s on your eyelids to help determine which type of blepharitis you have. 

Anterior blepharitis

This type of blepharitis is often characterized by a few symptoms and affects the front of your eyelids. Symptoms may include:

  • Acne rosacea
  • Allergies to things that you put near or in your eyes, such as eye drops or makeup
  • Seborrheic dermatitis (also known as dandruff)
  • Dry eyes
  • Lice or mites in your eyelashes

The anterior type of blepharitis is usually caused by bacteria, such as staphylococcus, or the overproduction of oils.

Posterior blepharitis

Posterior blepharitis affects the rear of your eyelids. This type of blepharitis can worsen dry eyes and lead to painful styes in your eyes.

How to treat blepharitis

Blepharitis is treated effectively by medicine, but it first needs an accurate diagnosis. Once diagnosed, you may be treated with one of the following medications:

Antibiotic ointments

Some cases of blepharitis are caused by bacteria, so we may prescribe antibiotic ointments to treat the infection. These ointments are usually erythromycin, bacitracin ophthalmic, or Polysporin®. If these treatments don’t work, you may have to follow up with a course of prescription oral antibiotics.

Anti-inflammatory medications

We may give your steroid eye drops to combat the infection. Steroids reduce inflammation and can be used in addition to antibiotics.

Immunomodulators

Some cases of blepharitis are particularly difficult to treat. In these cases, you may need immunomodulating medications, such as Restasis®. These medications block your body’s natural immune response, which may contribute to recurring infections.

Self-care at home

There’s no question: blepharitis is uncomfortable, even if you receive medical treatment. If you want to make your eyes more comfortable in the meantime, try these suggestions:

  • Put warm compresses over your eyes
  • Try to avoid touching your face as much as possible
  • Wipe away your tears with a tissue 
  • Wear glasses instead of contact lenses until the issue resolves
  • Remove your eye makeup every day
  • Replace your eye makeup to avoid reinfection

If you have blepharitis, you may find these tips more comfortable.

If you think that you might have blepharitis, you want to get checked out by an optometrist. Contact us at the nearest Eye Q Optique location or request an appointment online.

How Often Do I Need a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

How Often Do I Need a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

If you haven’t had an eye exam recently, you may wonder if you really need one. The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is a bit more complex. Comprehensive eye exams do more than just check how well you can see.

When you have a comprehensive eye exam, we check for the overall health of your eyes, which is extremely important. As eye doctors, we can detect potential health problems, often even before you know about them. 

Here at Eye Q Optique, Dr. Sandra Rafael and Dr. Emily Davis and our team guide you one knowing when and how often to have comprehensive eye exams.

Knowing when to get your eyes checked

If your eyes are healthy and your vision is clear, you might only need an eye exam once every three years when you’re in your 20s and again in your 30s, to provide a baseline. 

If you pass your eye tests, you should be checked at age 40. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you’re at greater risk of developing conditions that could affect your eyesight at this age and beyond.

When you might need an additional eye exam

If you’re noticing that you don’t see as clearly as you once did, you definitely need to schedule an appointment for an eye exam, even if you’ve previously had good vision.

You might have nearsightedness (can’t see things far away) or farsightedness (can’t see things close up). You might also have astigmatism, which is a curvature of the eye that affects your vision.

You need to make an appointment for an eye exam immediately if you experience any of the following conditions:

In addition, you should get eye exams more frequently if you have a family history of diabetes.

When to get checked if you wearing contacts or glasses

If you wear contact lenses or glasses, we recommend that you get an eye exam every year. Your prescription for contacts or glasses can change quite a bit in a year, causing you not to see as well. We can provide you with a new prescription with each visit, as needed.

Special circumstances that require more frequent screenings

You might have special circumstances that can require more frequent eye exams that include the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of eye disease
  • Being over 65 years of age

Your eyesight can’t often be restored once lost, so it’s very important to keep up with your screenings.

Comprehensive eye exams are an essential part of preserving your vision. If you’re due for an eye exam, don’t wait. Contact us at the Eye Q Optique one of our three locations — two in Chicago and one in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. 

Help! Something Is Stuck in My Eye

Help! Something Is Stuck in My Eye

If just the subject of this blog makes you feel a little squeamish, you’re not alone. A lot of people fear the idea of something getting stuck in their eye. But fortunately, the reality of this situation is usually much better than you would expect.

Whether you’ve just got a loose eyelash stuck in your eye or something more serious, our team at Eye Q Optique has information about how to handle the situation and how to know when you need additional help.

What causes things to get stuck in your eye?

Something can get stuck in your eye at seemingly a moment’s notice. One minute, you’re fine, but the next minute, you’re feeling a ton of misery.

Having something stuck in your eye might mean that you need to wear safety glasses when you do dangerous activities, such as mowing the lawn or working with chemicals. But even outside of these circumstances, you can still get something as simple as a stray eyelash or a speck of dust in your eye, through no fault of your own. 

Tips for home self-care

Before you call the doctor, you may want to try a few simple home care techniques. 

One of the most important things to do is to avoid rubbing your eye even though you may want to. You should also make sure your hands are clean before touching your eye. If you wear contact lenses, you may have this experience more often. 

You can try flushing out your eye with water and see if it helps. But if it doesn’t, don’t hesitate to call us for assistance. 

Foreign object removal

If you get a foreign object stuck in your eye, contact our team at Eye Q Optique right away. We have expertise in foreign body removal.

The first thing we do is help you stop feeling pain. We may give you some eye drops to numb your eye before we begin the removal procedure.

Once the object has been removed, we rinse your eye thoroughly. We then monitor you to make sure that your eye is healthy before we send you home.

In some cases, we may also prescribe medications for you to use at home to prevent an infection that you should use exactly as directed.

Corneal abrasions

Sometimes, whether it’s a result of having something stuck in your eye or not, you may end up with a corneal abrasion, which is a scratch on the surface of your eyeball. You may be required to wear an eyepatch while it heals, which may take a while.

Getting something stuck in your eye is not an everyday kind of circumstance. But if it happens, taking care of the matter requires using caution. 

If you feel like something is stuck in your eye and you need our assistance, contact us at Eye Q Optique at the location nearest you today or request an appointment online.

7 Eye-Friendly Habits You Can Start Today

7 Eye-Friendly Habits You Can Start Today

Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 21 million people have some sort of vision damage? You may think that your eye health is just a matter of luck, but you can actually do quite a bit to encourage having healthier eyes.

Some of your everyday habits — even ones that seem unrelated to your eyes — can actually do a lot of damage. Here, at Eye Q Optique, we have seven ways you can encourage the health of your eyes, which can keep you seeing well for a long time.

Wash your hands

This seems so simple, doesn’t it? But it makes a big difference in your overall health and for your eye health specifically. Many common diseases, including staph, chlamydia, and even pink eye can spread to your eyes by your hands. Because these diseases can negatively impact your vision, you want to do everything you can to avoid them.

Handle contact lenses responsibly

Paying attention to the use of contact lenses is essential, which involves:

  • Avoiding extended-wear contacts
  • Never reusing contact lens solution
  • Paying attention to expiration dates on contact lens solution
  • Washing your hands before touching your eyes
  • Keeping your case in storage in a safe place

All of these factors contribute to the health of your eyes while wearing contacts. Although wearing contacts isn’t dangerous in itself, they can cause issues if you’re not careful.

Wear eye protection

Certain environments can present risks to the safety of your eyes. Examples of when you should wear eye protection include when:

  • Using lawn equipment
  • Using power tools
  • Being exposed to flying objects
  • Being exposed to environments filled with dust or other particles

Even if you’ve been in one of these environments countless times without negative consequences, it only takes a moment for a projectile to hit your eye and that can result in vision damage or even vision loss.

Avoid risky cosmetic procedures 

Your eyes are one of your most important organs. You would be significantly affected if anything happened to them. As such, you should avoid getting cosmetic procedures that present risks to your eyes.

These include eye lifts and iris tattooing. But even getting colored contacts, especially from a provider other than your optometrist, can present risks.

Eat a healthy diet

What you eat makes a big difference in the health of your eyes. Your best bet is to eat a whole foods diet that includes:

  • Fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids, especially tuna and salmon 
  • Eggs 
  • Leafy greens, such as kale and spinach
  • Whole grains, such as barley and quinoa
  • Bell peppers and citrus fruits
  • Nuts and seeds

These foods contain nutrients that your eyes need to be healthy. Keeping your blood sugar under control can help, too, especially if you’re diabetic.

Exercise

We know you hear about the importance of exercise from your doctors. But there’s a good reason for it. Regular exercise has so many benefits for your health in every way, and there’s virtually no drawback.

It can reduce stress, increase blood flow, and help your blood sugar stay consistent, which all play a role in your eye health.

Rest your eyes

It’s incredibly easy to overdo it when it comes to using your eyes. The smartphone is particularly addictive and damaging, but computers aren’t much better. Exposure to blue light is hard on your eyes. Give them a rest sometimes or consider wearing blue light glasses.

Taking care of your eyes isn’t very difficult; it just requires some mindfulness. To learn more about your eye health, contact us today at Eye Q Optique at the office nearest you in Buffalo Grove or Chicago, Illinois.

The Most Common Pediatric Eye Problems

The Most Common Pediatric Eye Problems

Your child’s vision is extremely crucial to their development. You may not realize it, but having poor vision can alter their development in some significant ways, especially once they start school. Almost 20% of children develop eye problems before age 18.

Even young children should regularly get eye exams, even if they don’t need glasses yet. At Eye Q Optique, we can detect any potential problems early, which means your child can be treated as soon as possible. As your expert team of providers, we explain more about some of the most common pediatric eye problems.

Refractive errors

The most common refractive errors in children are astigmatism (blurred or distorted vision), myopia (nearsightedness), and hyperopia (farsightedness).

You can tell that your child has one of these types of vision issues if they have any of the following behaviors:

  • Frequent head-tilting or squinting
  • Headaches or eye strain
  • Sitting very close to the television
  • Holding books or computer tablets or smartphones close to their face

Fortunately, any refractive errors are usually very easily corrected with glasses.

Amblyopia

Amblyopia is also more commonly known as “lazy eye.” It can sometimes go undiagnosed because the stronger eye makes up for the weaker eye. 

Signs of amblyopia include:

  • Difficulty reading, doing math, or playing sports
  • Difficulty with attention and focus
  • Frequently closing one eye
  • Rubbing eyes frequently
  • Head tilting or squinting

If your child has any of these symptoms, bring them in for an eye exam as soon as possible.

Convergence insufficiency

Convergence insufficiency occurs when both eyes don’t work together as well as they should due to a problem with near vision and eye-muscle coordination.

Symptoms might include:

  • Difficulty with attention and focus
  • Double-vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Homework avoidance
  • Motion sickness or vertigo
  • Reading below grade level

This condition is treatable.

Nystagmus

There are two main types of nystagmus — congenital and acquired. Congenital nystagmus means that the condition is present at birth, whereas acquired nystagmus usually develops around 6 months or so. Signs to watch for include their eyes rapidly moving from side to side, up and down, or around in a circle.

Crust or “goop” in the eyes

There can be several reasons why your child might have crusty or “goopy” eyes. One cause is blepharitis, which is an inflammation of the oil glands in your child’s eyelids. A blocked tear duct can also cause crusty eyes. Pink eye is another potential cause of crusty or goopy eyes.

Itchy or watery eyes

If your child frequently experiences itchy or watery eyes, they may have seasonal or environmental allergies. People with eye allergies often also have nasal allergies.

If it seems like your child may have a problem with his or her eyes, make an appointment at the location nearest you in Buffalo Grove or Chicago, Illinois, with one of our specialists at Eye Q Optique. Contact us today by phone during business hours or book online anytime day or night.

What Causes Dry Eye and How to Remedy It

What Causes Dry Eye and How to Remedy It

If your eyes are dry, it can create a real hassle. You probably carry eye drops with you wherever you go and apply them often throughout the day, but it still provides too little relief. Whether it’s a temporary or permanent condition, it can still cause problems.

Fortunately, many of the causes of dry eye are manageable. To learn more about what causes dry eye and how to remedy it, our team at Eye Q Optique can explain more.

Dry eye explained

Dry eye is a common condition, affecting approximately 20 million Americans. You may feel like your tears aren’t enough to keep your eyes feeling moist and comfortable. Additionally, you may have other symptoms, including the following:

  • Burning, stinging, or scratchy sensations in your eyes
  • Redness
  • Feeling like you have something in your eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Problems with driving at night

There are many possible causes of this condition, so you should make an appointment with one of our Eye Q Optique specialists.

Causes of dry eye

Dry eye is caused by many possible factors. Some of these include:

Aging

Anyone can develop dry eye at any age, but it’s definitely more common as you get older. People over age 50 are more likely to have this condition because our eyes produce fewer tears as we age.

Computer use

Many of us have to use computers as a primary function of our jobs. In addition, you may also use computers in your leisure time. When you stare at a computer screen, you don’t blink as often. You may also experience tension headaches and eyestrain.

Certain medications

Several common medications result in your eyes producing less mucus, which can lead to dry eye. Some of these medications include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Diuretics
  • Beta blockers

If you take any of these medications, they could contribute to your eyes being drier.

Hormone changes

Many of the hormonal changes that women experience lead to dry eye. These include pregnancy, being on birth control pills, and menopause. Because hormones stimulate tear production, an imbalance in these hormones can cause dry eye. 

LASIK surgery

If you’ve had LASIK surgery, you may feel relieved about not needing to wear glasses as often anymore. But dry eye is a common side effect after this procedure. The dryness in your eyes is usually temporary and may resolve itself as your eyes heal, but sometimes the problem continues.

How to treat dry eye

Fortunately, having dry eye is a treatable condition. Here are some ways to treat it:

Avoid dry or windy environments

Deserts, airplanes, and other environments where it’s very dry or windy can aggravate the issue.

Use eye drops

Using non-prescription eye drops is often enough to help with the problem. However, there are also eye drops available by prescription to treat dry eyes. We can help determine if you might be a good candidate for them.

Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke

Smoking and secondhand smoke are both common causes of dry eye. Smoke is an eye irritant, so it makes sense to avoid exposure to it.

Stay well-hydrated

Dehydration — even mild dehydration — can contribute to dry eye. Make sure you’re well-hydrated to minimize the problem.

Take breaks from computer screens

If you work on computers, you can’t avoid them altogether. But you should still take brief, frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest.

If you have problems with dry eye, you aren’t alone. Contact us today at Eye Q Optique by phone or online to request an appointment.

Everything You Need to Know About Myopia Control

Everything You Need to Know About Myopia Control

Myopia is a common vision disorder, resulting in near-sightedness. This means that the individual has trouble seeing things far away, where distant objects appear blurry. Unfortunately, this disorder is on the rise, due to lifestyle habits and genetics.

However,  if myopia is diagnosed at an early age, you may be able to control it and keep it from progressing. Here, at EyeQOptique, our team offers information about myopia control and whether or not you should consider it.

Causes of myopia

Myopia is a vision condition in which your eye becomes too elongated for its refractive components, meaning you can’t see things far away because of the shape of your eye.

Myopia is caused by three things: genetics, environment, and lifestyle. If a child’s parents have myopia, their children are more likely to have it. Some people believe that myopia is caused by spending too little time outdoors. Lifestyle factors can also contribute, such as staring at screens.

The condition tends to get worse as you get older. But, if you catch it at a young age, it may be possible to stop or delay the changes.

Symptoms of myopia

If you have myopia, the symptoms may come on gradually and might include:

  • Blurred vision when looking at things far away
  • Headaches caused by eyestrain
  • Squinting or partially closing eyes to try to see things better
  • Difficulty seeing while driving a vehicle

For children, you may see the following behaviors:

  • Sitting close to the TV, movie screen, or in front of the classroom 
  • Squinting
  • Rubbing their eyes
  • Being unaware of objects in the distance
  • Having low grades (if they can’t sit close to the front of the classroom)

If you detect that you or your child may have a vision problem, schedule an appointment for an eye exam with our team at Eye Q Optique right away.

How early prevention can control myopia

Once you’re diagnosed with myopia, you don’t necessarily have to resign yourself to a life in glasses — especially if you catch it early enough.

Treatments may include:

Atropine

Atropine is a prescription medicine that may help slow the progression of myopia. Atropine drops are applied topically to your eye. They are the same drops you get when we dilate your eyes. It is not known how the medicine works to slow the progression of the disorder, but it appears to be effective.

Spending more time outdoors

Spending more time outdoors, especially during your childhood and adolescent years, appears to have a protective effect against developing myopia later in life. Researchers think that the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun may change the shape of the eye.

Wearing dual focus contact lenses

Dual focus contact lenses are a newer type that can help prevent the progression of myopia. They have different strengths for different areas of the lens of your eyes. Young children need to wear them between the ages of 8-12. This age can be challenging to adapt to wearing contacts, but many children can manage it.

Orthokeratology

Orthokeratolgy is a technology that requires wearing special contact lenses during sleep, which allows a child’s eyes to reshape themselves during the day. We give the patient daily, disposable contact lenses, each in gradually decreasing prescriptions. 

The effect of this technique can work very quickly — in as little as a week. However, children may have difficulty adjusting to wearing contacts.

If you think you or your child might have myopia, contact our friendly office staff at the location nearest you today. We have one in Buffalo Grove and two in Chicago, Illinois.

contact lens

Are Contact Lenses Right For You?

Maybe you’re getting corrective lenses for the first time, or maybe you’ve had glasses for a while and you’re curious about contact lenses.

Either way, you’re trying to figure out if contacts are right for you. After all, they work for 45 million people in the United States. There seem to be various choices and options, and you aren’t sure how to figure out what you need. You like the way you look in contacts as opposed to glasses, but how do you know if they’ll be good for you?

The expert team at Eye Q Optique is here to help you determine if contacts are the best choice for you. Here are a few guidelines to follow.

Why wear contacts?

Contact lenses sit right on your eye and move with your eye, so they’re a good choice for people who lead a more active lifestyle, such as athletes — you don’t have to worry about your glasses falling off and breaking, or getting in the way.

When contacts were first developed, they were only available as hard lenses. Hard lenses today are much more advanced — they’re gas permeable, which means oxygen can still reach your eye through the lenses. If you take care of them, gas permeable lenses will last up to a year.

Most people, though, opt for soft lenses, which are thinner, lighter, and more comfortable. They also allow oxygen to still reach your eye, and they come in a couple of different varieties.

  • Monthly disposable lenses: Take them out every night, and store them in disinfectant solution. Do this for a month, and then throw them away and open a new pair. 
  • Daily disposable: You throw away each pair at the end of the day and open a new pair the next morning.

Because people have various vision needs, manufacturers have developed lenses to fit many of those needs. A few types include:

  • Spherical lenses — standard lenses that correct near- and far-sightedness
  • Toric lenses — prescribed for people with astigmatism, these lenses are weighted so they rotate to match the shape of your eye.
  • Multifocal lenses — allow you to see both distance and close up. These may require some trial-and-error to get acclimated to them. You can also opt for single-focus lenses and then wear reading glasses to see well up close.

Why contacts might not be best for you

In some cases, glasses might be a better solution than contacts for people with vision issues. If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, wearing contacts might make your eyes feel scratchy and gritty after just a few hours. If you have dry eye but still want to make contacts work, soft lenses will work better than gas-permeable lenses.

Wearing contact may also be challenging if you have allergies that cause redness, itchiness, and even discharge from your eyes. If this is the case for you, consider wearing glasses during the time when your allergies usually flare up. (You should also make sure the contacts themselves aren’t causing an allergic reaction.)

When you’re ready to get fitted for contacts, reach out to Eye Q Optique to schedule an appointment. Just call one of our three offices, or use the convenient online scheduler. You’ll be amazed at how much better your vision can be!