contact lens

Lost an eye

Lost an eye

I have a patient who lost an eye due to an incoming baseball. What a tragedy! Let’s just think about this for a moment. You’re doing something you might love to do and in an instant something happens. Unrelated to losing an eye I can tell you I live like a cat and I think most of you might as well. We get a certain amount of chances. Some people have more chances and some have few or none.

As an eye doctor I am honestly a bit more careful when I have a patient with a vision limiting disease or condition like monocular vision. If they only have one eye or are significantly limited I am more likely to dilate every time I see them. If they want to wear a contact lens I am more concerned about infection than a patient with 2 healthy eyes. I might even not want to give them contact lenses if I feel glasses would offer better eye protection for their current lifestyle.

I found a website where I can read about people’s experiences with their monocular vision. What a wonderful way to “see” it from their perspective in so many different ways. Since I only have a few monocular patients and a limited amount of time to talk about how they function and things they have to adapt to it’s no match for a whole forum of people who are doing their best to cope with all kinds of things one of which is the social aspect.

As an eye doctor I don’t have any problems discussing an eye problem with a patient but I admit when I’m just a regular guy walking around outside and see someone with a patch I want to know what happened. I think it’s normal to have that curiosity.  They live with it everyday and I don’t. Makes me curious. How can we possibly bother someone to ask them 20 questions about things they probably don’t want to discuss with us? But an interesting thing is that we all have the ability to adapt our circumstances and make whatever adjustments we can. If you cover one eye you’ll immediately realize some of the world is different and uncomfortable.

Normally with two healthy and well-focused eyes we have great depth perception, great peripheral vision and rarely think about how all that affects us. Take away one eye and the whole world becomes a bit more distant it seems. Judging depth is easy with two eyes because we basically have two different locations from which to observe. But even with only one eye we can still detect depth. It’s harder and not quite the same but we use size cues. As in, you know the size of a car and if the car is far away, it looks smaller. It’s not as easy monocularly to gauge depth especially for very close in objects however.

There’s obviously a lot more to monocular vision than I can possible cover here. If you know someone or are interested in more personal stories, go to this website. The topics range from who’s a famous monocular person to playing golf. I’ll also suggest it to my current monocular patients if they’re interested and any patients that might need a dose of reality if they don’t take eye safety seriously!


sidewalk drawing

sidewalk drawing with depth


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Contact Lenses and Swimming

Contact Lenses and Swimming

This is a topic that needs to be talked about more often with contact lens wearers that wear them when swimming. I’ll give away the answer right now. Simplest thing to do to prevent an eye infection is to not wear them, period. There, I solved the world’s problem with swimming and eye infections with contact lens wearers. But you are the kind of person that just doesn’t believe what someone else says, especially when you don’t know me, right? And you’re asking yourself how could you possibly, in that nice clear water, get something in your eye, around your contact lens, that causes an eye infection?

Let’s just start with the premise that there are some bacteria and other little microscopic organisms that can cause infections. If you just read that, you probably learned that in first grade. And you probably know that our bodies have a huge number of bacteria living on us at any given moment (trillions of them). Add some of those that come off of you to the number of other swimmers in the pool at the same time, we now have a large rave of bacteria and funky things among us.

What I’ve read about swimming pools that are treated with chemicals is that bacteria may only live for a few minutes. They are not killed instantly even if the pool has the right level of treatment. In a couple of the pools I’ve been in around my area I’ve seen signs that tell us to shower before we enter the pool. I’m not going to describe the places on our body where some of the problem causing bacteria come from. I think you know where I’m referring to. But let me make this a teeny bit clearer, people that have diarrhea should not get into the pool. There, I said it.

Here’s what you can do if you’re a contact lens wearer. I’d say don’t swim with them in untreated water, ie, lakes or ponds. One reason is there’s a enormous amount of funky microscopic swimming things in those places and usually there’s no clean water source nearby to rinse or wash off before or after. If you are going to swim in a treated pool, goggles will help keep water out of your eyes and probably most of the unwanted stuff. I’d wear disposable contact lenses if I just had to wear them to see. That way you can throw them away when you get out of the pool and put in your regular pair or another pair of disposables.

I’m going to include a couple of website links that you could get more information from and even a free water testing kit for your pool. Be careful wearing those contact lenses! Why not ask your eye doctor for a sample trial of disposable contact lenses along with your regular brand so you’ll have that option available to you when you swim?

pool park