Diabetes-related vision loss growing worldwide

The worldwide burden of diabetes-related vision loss is growing alarmingly. Over 2 decades from 1990-2010, the number of people worldwide with diabetes-related blindness or visual impairment rose by an alarming 27 percent and 64 percent, respectively. In 2010, 1 in every 52 people had vision loss and 1 in every 39 people were blind due to diabetic retinopathy – where the retina is damaged by diabetes.

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The researchers suggest poor control of blood glucose and inadequate access to eye health services in many parts of the world are contributing to the growing global burden of diabetes-related vision loss.

 

These figures are the result of an analysis by a global consortium, who recently published their work online in the journal Diabetes Care.

As the number of people living with diabetes worldwide grows, so increases the risk of more people developing diabetic retinopathy and suffering subsequent vision loss, especially if they do not receive or adhere to the care they need.

Diabetic retinopathy is a disease of the retina that damages sight as a result of chronic high blood sugar in diabetes. The high sugar damages the delicate blood vessels in the retina – the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye.

As the damage increases, the blood vessels begin to leak and distort vision. In people with advanced diabetic retinopathy, new, abnormal blood vessels grow in the retina, causing further damage and eventually permanent scarring and vision loss or blindness.

Lead author Janet Leasher, associate professor of the College of Optometry at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL, says:

“Unfortunately diabetic retinopathy usually does not have any symptoms in the early stages.”

Thus, it is important that people with diabetes have their eyes tested every year, follow the advice of their eye health practitioner, and make sure they keep their blood sugar under control.

 

Researchers suggest poor control of blood glucose and inadequate access to eye health services in many parts of the world are contributing to the rising numbers of people with diabetes-related vision loss.

 

Lead investigator Rupert R.A. Bourne, professor and associate director of the Vision and Eye Research Unit at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom, says:

“With the alarming prevalence of vision loss due to diabetes rising more than two thirds in the last 20 years, the precipitous global epidemic of diabetes must be addressed.”

He and his colleagues suggest policymakers in the regions most affected by diabetic retinopathy should develop and implement plans for preserving the vision of diabetic adults, screen for diabetic retinopathy, and improve glucose and blood pressure in diabetics.

They should also intensify efforts to prevent and treat diabetic retinopathy – for instance, by introducing laser treatments, use of intravitreal injections of steroids, and anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) drugs.

“People diagnosed with diabetes should have a dilated eye health examination at least every year and be advised by their eye care practitioner for their personal situation. Patients should work closely with their healthcare provider to determine the best methods to control their blood sugar levels.”

 

Source : Prof. Janet Leasher

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD

 

If you have any questions or would like to book an eye examination contact us

 


Lindberg Eyewear

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Lindberg are a Danish eyewear manufacturer offering glasses, sunglasses and fashion frames for men, women and children. They specialise in lightweight titanium frames.

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The collection has many frames designs, with  multiple colour options, lens shapes and sizes. The unique nosepad fitting give superb comfort and fit.

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Traditionally, Lindberg rimless frames offer minimalist, light as a feather eyewear with individual style. They have replicated this philosophy, in their acetate frames  offering one of the lightest frames on the market,  without comprising the elegant style, maximum comfort and functional design.

More than half of the Lindberg frames weigh only 1.9 grams and this is good news for those who feel the weight of their glasses on their face.

Lindberg represent Danish minimalist tradition, showing eyewear design at it’s best.

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LINDBERG design, develop and manufacture their frames. In 2014 alone they have received 8 international design awards. LINDBERG has a unique mindset in the international eyewear industry, over the years, they have revolutionised eyewear design.

Please call into the practice to view our full range of frames.


What is Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which is located behind the iris and pupil.
Cataracts are the most common cause of visual loss in people over the age of 40 and is the principal cause of blindness in the world.
In fact, there are more cases of cataracts worldwide than there are of glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy combined, according to a recent study.
Types of cataract include:
  • A subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens. People with diabetes or those taking high dosed of steroid medication have a greater risk of developing a subcapsular cataract.
  • A nuclear cataract forms deep in the central zone (nucleus) of the lens. Nuclear cataracts are usually associated with ageing.
  • A cortical cataract is characterised by white, wedge-like opacities that start in the periphery of the lens and work their way to the centre in a spoke-like fashion. This type of cataract occurs in the lens cortex, which is the part of the lens that surrounds the lens nucleus.
Cataract signs and symptoms
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Cloudy, blurred vision can be one of the first symptoms of a cataract. A cataract may make light from the sun or a lamp seem too bright or glaring. Increased glare from on coming headlights may be noticed whilst driving at night and colours may not seem as bright as they once did.
the type of cataract present will determine the symptoms presented.
If you suspect that you may have a cataract, it is wise to have an eye examination to investigate this further.
What causes cataracts?
The lens inside the eye works much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina for clear vision. it also adjusts the eye’s focus, enabling clear vision both up close and far away.
The lens is mostly made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it. However as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. this is cataract and over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens making it harder to see.
Besides advancing age, cataract risk factors include:
  • Ultraviolet radiation from the sun and other sources.
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Prolonged us of corticosteroid medications
  • Statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol
  • Previous eye injury or inflammation
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • High myopia
  • Family history
One theory that is gaining favour now, is that oxidative changes within the lens cause cataracts. Nutritional studies would seem to support this, with an inclusion of anti oxidant rich fruits and vegetables in the diet to counteract the damage, being recommended.
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Studies have shown that higher dietary intakes of vitamin E and the caratenoids lutein and zeathanthin from food and supplements were associated with significantly decreased risks of cataracts.
Good food sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds and avocados. Good sources of lutein and zeathanthin include spinach, kale and other leafy green vegetables.
Other studies have shown antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids may reduce cataract risk.
Another important step in preventing cataract formation is the use of protective sunglasses that block 100% of the sun’s UV rays when outdoors.
Cataract treatment
Initial symptoms may be improved with spectacles or a change in prescription. Appropriate magnification and lighting may also help.
Surgery can be considered when the cataracts have progressed enough to seriously impair vision and affect daily life.
Cataract surgery is a simple, relatively painless procedure to regain vision.During surgery, the surgeon will remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear, plastic intraocular lens (IOL).
For more information or for a full eye examination, contact us.

Eye Conditions explained- Conjunctivitis

This common eye problem is typically easily treated and, with a few simple precautions, can often be avoided.

Anyone can get conjunctivitis, but nursery and school children, students and teachers are particularly at risk for the contagious types, due to their close proximity with others in the classroom.

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What is conjunctivitis?

It is an inflammation of the thin, clear covering of the white of the eye and the inside of the eyelids (conjunctiva).

Although the conjunctiva is transparent, it contains blood vessels that overlay the sclera of the eye.

Anything that triggers inflammation will cause these conjunctival blood vessels to dilate. This is what causes red, bloodshot eyes.

What causes conjunctivitis?

The primary types of conjunctivitis, based on cause, are:

  • Viral. Caused by a virus, like the common cold. This type is very contagious, but usually will clear up on its own within several days without medical treatment.
  • Bacterial. Caused by bacteria, this type of conjunctivitis can cause serious damage to the eye if left untreated.
  • Allergic. Caused by eye irritants such as pollen and dust  among susceptible individuals. Allergic conjunctivitis may be seasonal (pollen) or flare up year-round (dust,  pet hair).

Signs and Symptoms

  • Viral. Watery, itchy eyes; sensitivity to light. One or both eyes can be affected. Highly contagious; can be spread by coughing and sneezing.
  • Bacterial. A sticky, yellow or greenish-yellow eye discharge in the corner of the eye. In some cases, this discharge can be severe enough to cause the eyelids to be stuck together when you wake up. One or both eyes can be affected. Contagious (usually by direct contact with infected hands or items that have touched the eye).
  • Allergic. Watery, burning, itchy eyes; often accompanied by stuffiness and a runny nose, and light sensitivity. Both eyes are affected. Not contagious.

Treatment 

  • Viral. In most cases, viral conjunctivitis will run its course over a period of several days and no medical treatment is required or indicated.
  • Bacterial. Your GP will typically prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments for the treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis.
  • Allergic. Allergy medications often can help prevent or shorten bouts of allergic conjunctivitis. Sometimes these medications must be started before allergy season or allergy flare-ups begin. Ask your doctor for details.

Often it can be difficult to tell the type of conjunctivitis you have by symptoms alone (or if some other eye problems or underlying health conditions are causing your symptoms).

Conditions associated with conjunctivitis include other eye infections, dry eyes and blepharitis. Also, bacterial conjunctivitis sometimes can lead to very serious eye problems such as a corneal ulcer, potentially causing permanent vision loss.

For these reasons, anytime you develop red, irritated eyes, you should seek medical advice.

If you wear contact lenses, remove your lenses and wear your glasses until the sypmtoms have cleared. Also, discard any eye make up used leading up to the infection.

Prevention

Here are 10 simple precautions you can take to significantly reduce your risk of getting conjunctivitis:

  1. Never share personal items such as flannels, hand towels or tissues.
  2. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoid rubbing or touching your eyes.
  3. Never share your coloured contact lenses or special effect contacts with friends.
  4. Wash your hands frequently, especially when spending time at school or in other public places.
  5. Use a hand sanitiser regularly.
  6. Frequently clean surfaces such as countertops, taps and shared phones with an appropriate antiseptic cleaner.
  7. If you know you suffer from seasonal allergies, ask your doctor what can be done to minimize your symptoms before they begin.
  8. If you wear contacts, be sure to follow your optometrist’s instructions for lens care and replacement, and use contact lens solutions properly or consider switching to daily disposable contacts.
  9. When swimming, wear swim goggles to protect yourself from bacteria and other microorganisms in the water that can cause conjunctivitis.
  10. Before showering, remove your contact lenses to avoid trapping bacteria between your eyes and the lenses.

 
Wash your hands often, to keep viral Conjunctivitis from spreading.

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If your child is affected, tell his or her teacher about the infection so extra steps can be taken to sanitise the classroom. Also, keep your child home until the contagious stage has passed.

Conjunctivitis can be a symptom of many different types of eye problems — some that can be quite serious — make sure you consult with your optician.

source : All about vision


Computer Eye Strain – what to do

Computer Eye Strain: 10 Steps For Relief

With so many of us using computers at work, computer eye strain has become a major job-related complaint. Studies show that eye strain and other bothersome visual symptoms occur in 50 to 90 percent of computer workers.

These problems can range from physical fatigue, decreased productivity and increased numbers of work errors, to minor annoyances like eye twitching and red eyes.

Here are 10 easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of computer eye strain and other common symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS):

  1. Get a comprehensive eye exam.

Having a routine comprehensive eye exam is the most important thing you can do to prevent or treat computer vision problems. If you haven’t had an eye exam in over a year, schedule a visit with an optician.

According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), computer users should have an eye exam before they start working on a computer and once a year thereafter.

During your exam, be sure to tell your optician how often you use a computer at work and at home. Measure how far your eyes are from your screen when you sit at your computer, and bring this measurement to your exam so your eye doctor can test your eyes at that specific working distance.

  1. Use proper lighting.

Eye strain often is caused by excessively bright light either from outdoor sunlight coming in through a window or from harsh interior lighting. When you use a computer, your ambient lighting should be about half as bright as that typically found in most offices.

Eliminate exterior light by closing drapes, shades or blinds. Reduce interior lighting by using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, or use lower intensity bulbs and tubes. If possible, position your computer monitor or screen so windows are to the side, instead of in front or behind it.

Many computer users find their eyes feel better if they can avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights. If possible, turn off the overhead fluorescent lights in your office and use floor lamps that provide indirect incandescent or halogen lighting instead.

Sometimes switching to “full spectrum” fluorescent lighting that more closely approximates the light spectrum emitted by sunlight can be more comforting for computer work than regular fluorescent tubes. But even full spectrum lighting can cause discomfort if it’s too bright. Try reducing the number of fluorescent tubes installed above your computer workspace if you are bothered by overhead lighting.

  1. Minimize glare.

Glare on walls and finished surfaces, as well as reflections on your computer screen also can cause computer eye strain. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor and, if possible, paint bright white walls a darker colour with a matte finish.

Again, cover the windows. When outside light cannot be reduced, consider using a computer hood.

If you wear glasses, purchase lenses with anti-reflective (AR) coating. AR coating reduces glare by minimizing the amount of light reflecting off the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses.

  1. Upgrade your display.

If you have not already done so, replace your old tube-style monitor (called a cathode ray tube or CRT) with a flat-panel liquid crystal display (LCD), like those on laptop computers.

LCD screens are easier on the eyes and usually have an anti-reflective surface. Old-fashioned CRT screens can cause a noticeable “flicker” of images, which is a major cause of computer eye strain. Even if this flicker is imperceptible, it still can contribute to eye strain and fatigue during computer work.

Complications due to flicker are even more likely if the refresh rate of the monitor is less than 75 hertz (Hz). If you must use a CRT at work, adjust the display settings to the highest possible refresh rate.

When choosing a new flat panel display, select a screen with the highest resolution possible. Resolution is related to the “dot pitch” of the display. Generally, displays with a lower dot pitch have sharper images. Choose a display with a dot pitch of .28 mm or smaller.

Flicker is not an issue with LCD screens, since the brightness of pixels on the display are controlled by a “backlight” that typically operates at 200 Hz.

If you see a lower refresh rate (e.g. 60 Hz) noted on an LCD screen, don’t worry — this refers to how often a new image is received from the video card, not how often the pixel brightness of the display is updated, and this function typically is not associated with eye strain.

Finally, choose a relatively large display. For a desktop computer, select a display that has a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches.

 

  1. Adjust your computer display settings.

Adjusting the display settings of your computer can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Generally, these adjustments are beneficial:

  • Brightness. Adjust the brightness of the display so it’s approximately the same as the brightness of your surrounding workstation. As a test, look at the white background of this Web page. If it looks like a light source, it’s too bright. If it seems dull and grey, it may be too dark.
  • Text size and contrast. Adjust the text size and contrast for comfort, especially when reading or composing long documents. Usually, black print on a white background is the best combination for comfort.
  • Colour temperature. This is a technical term used to describe the spectrum of visible light emitted by a colour display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than longer wavelength hues, such as orange and red. Reducing
  • the colour temperature of your display lowers the amount of blue light emitted by a colour display for better long-term viewing comfort.

For computers running on a Microsoft Windows operating system, display settings can be adjusted in Control Panel. For an Apple computer, display settings are found in Systems Preferences (in the Applications folder in Finder).

In some cases, the colour temperature of a desktop computer monitor is adjusted on the display itself.

You can adjust text size when using Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and other browsers, too. For example, in Firefox, you can enlarge an entire webpage by using the keyboard command Ctrl + as many times as you want, while Ctrl 0 makes everything normal-sized again. (Ctrl – makes everything smaller.) To enlarge only the text, use Alt V, then Z, then T. Then use Ctrl + again, and you’ll see just the text enlarging.

Each browser and email program has different commands for adjusting text size, so look through the menus to learn what they are. Or visit Google and search for how-tos there.

Many smartphones let you adjust text size. For example, on the iPhone 4, you simply open the Settings menu, then choose General, then Accessibility, then Large Text. Here you can choose a new font size for core applications such as Mail, Notes and Calendar. The font will also display in certain third-party applications.

Whatever type of digital screen you’re using, you’ll enjoy it more if you make the effort to adjust the view for your visual comfort. Don’t know how? Check the manufacturer’s website or look it up on Google.

  1. Blink more often.

Blinking is very important when working at a computer; blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.

When working at a computer, people blink less frequently — about one-third as often as they normally do — and many blinks performed during computer work are only partial lid closures, according to studies.

Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking phases and this can cause dry eyes. Also, the air in many office environments is dry, which can increase how quickly your tears evaporate, placing you at greater risk for dry eye problems.

If you experience dry eye symptoms, ask your eye doctor about artificial tears for use during the day.

By the way, don’t confuse lubricating eye drops with the drops formulated to “get the red out.” The latter can indeed make your eyes look better — they contain ingredients that reduce the size of blood vessels on the surface of your eyes to “whiten” them. But they are not necessarily formulated to reduce dryness and irritation.

To reduce your risk of dry eyes during computer use, try this exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly). This will help rewet your eyes.

To ease eye strain, make sure you use good lighting and sit at a proper distance from the computer screen.

  1. Exercise your eyes.

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Another cause of computer eye strain is focusing fatigue. To reduce your risk of tiring your eyes by constantly focusing on your screen, look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. Some eye doctors call this the “20-20-20 rule.” Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue.

Another exercise is to look far away at an object for 10-15 seconds, then gaze at something up close for 10-15 seconds. Then look back at the distant object. Do this 10 times.

This exercise reduces the risk of your eyes’ focusing ability to “lock up” (a condition called accommodative spasm) after prolonged computer work.

Both of these exercises will reduce your risk of computer eye strain. Also, remember to blink frequently during the exercises to reduce your risk of computer-related dry eye.

  1. Take frequent breaks.

To reduce your risk for computer vision syndrome and neck, back and shoulder pain, take frequent breaks during your computer work day.

Computer Vision News

New Report on Digital Eye Strain

“Eye Overexposed: The Digital Device Dilemma” is The Vision Council’s latest report on digital eye strain.

With our constant exposure to digital devices, the document reveals that not only young adults, but children and older folks, too, are experiencing symptoms like eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision and pain in the neck, shoulder and back.

Many workers take only two 15-minute breaks from their computer throughout their work day. According to a recent NIOSH study, discomfort and eye strain were significantly reduced when computer workers took four additional five-minute “mini-breaks” throughout their work day.

And these supplementary breaks did not reduce the workers’ productivity. Data entry speed was significantly faster as a result of the extra breaks, so work output was maintained even though the workers had 20 extra minutes of break time each day.

During your computer breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle fatigue.

Check your local bookstore or consult your fitness club for suggestions on developing a quick sequence of exercises you can perform during your breaks and after work to reduce tension in your arms, neck, shoulders and back.

  1. Modify your workstation.

If you need to look back and forth between a printed page and your computer screen, this can cause eye strain. Place written pages on a copy stand adjacent to the monitor.

Light the copy stand properly. You may want to use a desk lamp, but make sure it doesn’t shine into your eyes or onto your computer screen.

Improper posture during computer work also contributes to computer vision syndrome. Adjust your workstation and chair to the correct height.

Purchase ergonomic furniture to enable you to position your computer screen 20 to 24 inches from your eyes. The centre of your screen should be about 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes for comfortable positioning of your head and neck.

  1. Consider computer eyewear.

For the greatest comfort at your computer, you might benefit from having your eye care professional modify your glasses prescription to create customized computer glasses. This is especially true if you normally wear contact lenses, which may become dry and uncomfortable during sustained computer work.

Computer glasses also are a good choice if you wear bifocals or progressive lenses, because these lenses generally are not optimal for the distance to your computer screen.

References & Notes >>

Blink rate, blink amplitude, and tear film integrity during dynamic visual display terminal tasks. Current Eye Research. March 2011. Computer Workstations. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Accessed on OSHA website. June 2010. Computer Ergonomics. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed on CDC website. June 2010. About the Author:

Source:

Gary Heiting, OD, is senior editor of AllAboutVision.com. Dr. Heiting has more than 25 years of experience as an eye care provider, health educator and consultant to the eyewear industry. His special interests include contact lenses, nutrition and preventive vision care. Connect with Dr. Heiting via Google+.


Sara Cox talks about the lenses that change everthing

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Sara Cox, radio and TV presenter and busy mum to three children, is the new ACUVUE® Brand Ambassador. She recently mentioned on her radio show that she thought her eyesight had changed. ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses interviewed her to find out more. She said she was having difficulties “reading the very small print up close”. She was concerned that contact lenses might no longer work for her and she might have to get some reading glasses. When we asked her about it, Sara said: “I thought I might have to get a small pair of spectacles, perhaps on a pearl chain around my neck – that wasn’t necessarily the look I was going for!” Sara has developed presbyopia. If you have started struggling to read the small print or find the text on your phone doesn’t seem big enough anymore, you might have presbyopia too. But don’t worry, it’s normal.

 

What is presbyopia?

Put simply, presbyopia is when the lens in the eye stiffens and thickens with age. This makes it harder to see things at close range. As we get older, our eye’s lens becomes stiffer and less able to change shape making focusing more challenging. Presbyopia is particularly common in people over the age of 40 and eventually happens to almost everyone.

What can I do about presbyopia?

The good news is there are many solutions for people with presbyopia. They can wear varifocal glasses, wear both contact lenses and reading glasses, or even have surgery. But even better news: now innovative technology brings you 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST Brand MULTIFOCAL Contact Lenses.

Why contact lenses?

Contact lenses don’t get in the way, or obscure your face, like glasses. Thanks to ACUVUE® , you can have a contact lens that gives you clear vision – near, far and in between – so you can maintain the active lifestyle you’ve always had. You don’t have to stop living your life the way you want to. As Sara Cox says: “I don’t wear glasses to the gym…EVER”. Unlike varifocal glasses, multifocal contact lenses fit seamlessly into your busy life whether for work or play, going to the gym or out with friends. If, like Sara, you have recently developed presbyopia, 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST MULTIFOCAL Contact Lenses may be the perfect solution! Forget reading glasses! See clearly without glasses getting in the way or steaming up. You won’t have to fiddle around with reading glasses to view the menu or get a message on your phone!

For Comfort

As with all 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST Contact Lenses, 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST MULTIFOCAL Contact Lenses have exclusive LACREON® technology, that embeds a moisturerich wetting agent in the lens for extremely comfortable wear and a fresh feeling all day and all night long. As Sara says, she doesn’t “really know that they’re in, you just feel like you’ve got your old eye sight back”.

For Convenience

Whether you wear contact lenses every day or just occasionally, 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST MULTIFOCAL Contact Lenses make it easy. No need to clean and store contact lenses every day – just take a new pair for all day freshness. Contact lenses are easy to handle, convenient and comfortable and give you clear vision, near, far and in between.

Get Protection!

All ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses have UV blocking for protection from the transmission of UV radiation*.

Ask us for a free trial† today!

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†terms and conditions apply contact us for more information.