Winter UV Protection

The nights are getting longer, days are getting shorter. Temperatures are dropping and people are spending less time outdoors. No need to worry about UV radiation anymore right? Wrong! UV rays are still present, can still cause damage (painful burns and even worse, skin cancer)—and need to be planned for accordingly. While it may be true that people are more exposed to UV rays in the summer time because they spend more time outdoors—the intensity of UV rays is not necessarily affected by the temperature. For example, UVA rays (long wave ray) are equally strong year-round and are the deepest penetrating UV ray (the other is UVB…a short wave ray).3253627589_5b6fbd47f4

Some factors to consider affecting UV ray strength:

1) Distance from Equator (Latitude). Generally, the closer you are to the equator the more intense the UV radiation will be—the sun is closer to directly overhead and there is less atmosphere (Ozone) to filter the UV rays.

  • The strongest rays will be between the Tropic of Capricorn and Tropic of Cancer—this area will have very high levels of UV radiation year-round.
  • The Southern United States (S.California, across to Texas and on to Florida) are likely to have higher levels of UV radiation year round.

2) Time of Day. UV rays are strongest around solar noon…which is anywhere from 10AM to 4PM. A short shadow indicates stronger UV rays. This does not mean that outside this time frame the UV rays are weak; it means that extra protection is needed in this time frame as the rays are significantly stronger.

3) Length of Exposure. The longer you spend in the sun, the more UV rays you are exposed to. This does not have to be outdoor sport related; it can be a simple walk to your car in a parking lot on a sunny day.

3188888114_300d0eecee4) Reflection. Many people do not realize that UV rays can be reflected off a multitude of surfaces. In general, the whiter the surface, the stronger the UV rays. To protect against reflected UV rays: wear higher SPF sunscreen and apply more frequently than normal, and wear polarized sunglasses to eliminate glare. Below are some surfaces and respective UV reflection levels:

  • Water and Grass: can reflect up to 5% of UV rays. Apply sunscreen more frequently than usual, because sweat and water will wear the sunscreen off faster.
  • Sand and Concrete: can reflect up to 12% of UV rays.
  • Snow: can reflect up to 85% of UV rays. Polarized sunglasses in an environment with snow are critical; because the glare off of snow can cause snow blindness. Regular sunglasses will not prevent this, only polarized lenses will.

5) Cloud Cover. It is a common myth that you will not get burned on a cloudy day…but this is totally untrue. Up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate clouds, fog, or haze. Be mindful of this.

6) Ozone. Thinning out of the Ozone layer (which filters UV rays) results in increased exposure to UV rays. There are holes in the Ozone layer over parts of the Arctic and Antarctic, and in other parts of the world.

7) Altitude. The atmosphere is thinner at higher altitudes. There is less Ozone to filter UV rays at higher altitudes. Each 1,000 meters of elevation gain can equate to roughly 10% increase in UV radiation level.
To protect against the sun’s damaging UV rays and help prevent sunburn & skin cancer, it is strongly recommended to wear a minimum SPF 30 sunscreen anytime you will be in the sun—be sure to apply on any exposed skin. Activities like outdoor sports, a beach day, or anything where you will be sweating or getting wet; consider wearing a stronger SPF sunscreen that is also waterproof. Many times this is labeled a “Sport” or “Active” sunscreen. Another option is to wear clothing that covers more skin.

0001908_250UV rays do not only cause skin damage; over time, the rays that reach the eyes can cause cataracts and other eye tissue defects. You can even get a sunburn on your eye, called photokeratitis (usually it resolves itself in 1-2 days, but still not fun). One way to help prevent UV damage to the eyes is to wear contact lenses offering UVA and UVB protection, like all Acuvue contacts and the popular Biomedics 55 Premier and Avaira lenses. For extra protection, it is recommended that you wear sunshades when outside, like the Von Zipper sunglasses. Discuss with your doctor if your current contact lenses also protect against UV radiation.

Whether the weather has changed makes no difference to UV rays; they are always damaging and need to be guarded against. Take into account that anytime you are outdoors, you are exposed to UV rays—this exposure is magnified by things like altitude, reflective surfaces, and latitude. To prevent painful sunburns, skin cancer, or even eye damage: wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen, clothing that covers potentially exposed skin, sunglasses, and UV protecting contact lenses.

Makeup & Contact Lenses

4900210322_ea449d5e05_zIf you were given a choice between your vision and your makeup, which would you choose? Luckily, this is a decision you don’t actually have to make, as the two can coexist for women who wear contacts. It’s important to understand that improper application and maintaining can lead to contact wearers to suffer from pretty nasty eye infections but, by taking a few simple steps, ladies can safeguard against the buildup of bacteria. Continue reading to learn how to healthily utilize your favorite makeup staples while sporting contact lenses.

I’ll give you the best tip right off the bat:

************************WASH YOUR HANDS**************************

Having clean hands is an absolute given anytime you will be touching close to the eye—PERIOD. The idea is to keep the eye free from foreign matter, so washing hands is critical in keeping your fingers from stuffing things into your eye. If in doubt, wash your hands.
Another golden nugget:

————————————–DON’T SHARE MAKEUP—————————————-

Bacteria from makeup can get into the eye and cause real problems. It is best to make sure only you are using your makeup to avoid having others’ germs spread to your makeup and body.

Other tips and tricks:

– Along the same lines as mentioned in our earlier post The Ins-and-Outs of wearing Makeup with Contact Lenses, consider spraying perfume/hairspray/deodorant/etc. BEFORE putting contacts in to avoid the spray contaminating the contact lenses and potentially getting trapped in the eye—causing serious discomfort.

8219429309_7485b68292_z– After spraying your spray-able products, put contact lenses in. It is best to put in contacts before any makeup application because left over makeup can fall into the eye.

– In general, it is best to use oil-free and fragrance free makeup—consider water based products. Also, using water resistant eyeliner and mascara will help prevent makeup flaking off into the eye. Some eye care providers suggest using hypoallergenic products as they are gentler.

– When applying eyeliner, it is better to use a soft pencil; as hard pencil is more likely to flake and fall into the eye. Don’t use liquid eyeliner. It should be obvious but when applying eyeliner, but be VERY careful not to accidentally strike the eye with the pencil.

– Don’t apply makeup onto the inner eyelid (also called eyelid margins) because this part of the eyelid has oil glands which—if clogged by makeup—can cause dry eyes and even ugly styes (worse than being ugly, styes hurt).

– Don’t wear glitter around the eyes. The glitter can fall into the eye and can badly scratch the eye; the problem is compounded if the glitter gets under the contact lens.

– When applying mascara, it would be best to apply from mid-lash to the tips, rather than applying from base to the tips. Applying mascara at the base can allow the mascara brush itself to touch the eye and cause damage, and leaving makeup at the base of the eyelash increases the chance that it will flake off into the eye. Do not use mascara with lash building fibers because the fibers can fall into the eye.

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– If applying eye shadow, make sure the eyelashes do not get in the way by holding them down. Makeup inadvertently applied to eyelashes has a good chance of falling into the eye. Be very gentle when applying shadow so you don’t damage the contact or move it out of position.

– Remove your contacts BEFORE removing any makeup, and make this a daily practice using oil-free makeup remover. Always make sure to thoroughly clean your contacts or, to have a hassle-free, fresh lens ready to pop in every morning, consider purchasing Dailies.

Lastly: if your eyes show any redness, swelling, irritation, or if you have pain in either eye DO NOT APPLY MAKEUP. Call your eye care professional for advice.
Wearing makeup with contact lenses does not have to be a cause for worry. Adjusting your makeup application habits to include these tips will help avoid the potential problems, such as infection and scratches to the eye. For suggestions on which hypoallergenic makeup products would be right for you, consult with your eye care professional. Plus, if you want to spice up your look, consider pairing your cosmetics with the colored contacts brought to you by Freshlook.

A Guide to Finding The Right Contact Lenses For Your Lifestyle

7795663148_8b7836ab48There are many different types of contact lens options out there for you to pick from, and it can sometimes be overwhelming knowing which selection is “the best.” We can reassure you that no one model tops the others; rather, each make has its own advantages. To help you navigate the various possibilities and understand which contact style is most suitable for your specific lifestyle and preferences, below is a brief guide to the various attributes of contracts.

Rigid Lenses: Also called Rigid Gas Permeable lenses, these contacts are made of barely flexible plastic that will allow oxygen to pass through the lens to the eyes. It is important to note that RGP options are different than “hard lenses” made from polymethyl methacrylate. These hard lenses are problematic, as they are high maintenance and do not allow much oxygen to pass to the eyes. Contrastingly, rigid lenses offer numerous benefits, including:

• Top notch vision correction
• Allows an increased flow of oxygen
• Durable enough to last for years
• Available with bifocal characteristics
• Obtainable in versions intended for extended wear

Of course, RGP contacts have their setbacks, such as:

• More expensive than their softer counterparts
• Increased likelihood of slipping away from the pupil
• Require rigorous cleaning or else usage can increase the likelihood of eye infections
• Can take some time to adjust to and have to be worn consistently to preserve comfort
• Less commonly sold and are more difficult to locate

Rigid Gas Permeable lenses are ideal for those who prefer particularly sharp vision. However, those who frequently engage in vigorous activities won’t like the ease with which the lens slides about. Moreover, those who only occasionally wear contacts may find the thorough cleaning regime and recommended daily usage impractical for their routine.

218267459_02162b246d_zSoft Lenses: These lenses are the most widely used and, unlike their harder counterparts, are made of a very soft plastic with water content from 36-79 percent. Soft lenses generally require nightly cleaning and storing with solution, and are ideal for athletic lifestyles. Unlike the style listed above, soft lenses are replaced periodically; Dailies are available, eliminating the hassle for cleaning and storing altogether. Because natural proteins naturally build up in the lens and are difficult to clear away, contacts that are changed out frequently are arguably healthier.

Advantages include:

• Extremely comfortable
• More affordable than rigid lenses
• Accessible with bifocal features and color tints
• Do not shift around as much as RPG designs

Disadvantages include:

• Vision is not as clear with soft contacts as with rigid lenses
• Are not built to last and require frequent replacement

These lenses are ideal for those who lead a busy life and will appreciate not having to consistently clean their contacts. Additionally, soft contacts are great for people who value comfort over sharp eyesight, as these lenses take no time to physically adjust to but ultimately do not provide the clarity of their RGP counterparts.

0001331_250Specialty Lenses: Often custom made, specialty lenses can be either soft or rigid and address many different specialized vision problems. Examples include:
Toric lens. These are crafted to specifically correct astigmatism with different powers of correction at different spots of the globular lens.
Multifocal lens. The contacts are designed to work just like multifocal glasses, presenting different strengths at varying points.
Protective tints. This attribute helps to absorb UV radiation and can help in the prevention of macular degeneration, cataracts, and vision loss.
Cosmetic tints. Who hasn’t tried to imagine themselves with differently shaded irises at some point or another? Available with and without vision correcting elements, colored contact lenses can range from subtle enhancement to fantastically Halloween-ish.

With a general idea of the various contact options available, you should have no problem working with your doctor to pick the perfect set of contact lenses for you. Browse the many discount contacts online available at Replace My Contacts to find the perfect pair for you today!

How to save $$$ on contact lenses

ReplaceMyContacts.com enjoys helping our customers save money on buying contact lenses. This is why we created the a lens discount section, where we share tips that can save you hundreds of dollars a year when buying your contacts online. We put a few of our tips here in this graphic for you. Now your turn what tips do you use to save on buying contact lenses? Look forward to hearing your suggestions.

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Interesting Historical Facts About Contact Lenses

The original idea for contact lenses dates all the way back to sketches created by the brilliant Leonardo da Vinci. Half a millennium ago, the genius inventor mapped out plans for altering the refractive power of the eye. Later on, others experimented with modifying refractive powers by looking through both glass and water. And, finally, 120 years ago, German inventors became the first to make a genuine contact lens that fitted on the eye. Those primitive contact lenses, called scleral lenses, were constructed of glass, and they draped over the sclera, or white part, of the eye, as well as covering the cornea.

Though we’ve come a long way from these more primitive models, these early models laid the groundwork for modern day contact lenses.