Although certainly a good indicator of eye health, eyesight isn’t the only factor to consider when assessing the health of your eyes. By overlooking eyelid and eyelash hygiene, you also risk problems that may occur later — problems that in many cases you can avoid.
That’s why colleagues of mine have come to think of eye care in a similar way to dental care. Routine do it-yourself eye care will offset the frequency of having to visit an eye care professional, as well as help ensure your good eyesight lasts a lifetime.
Adults seeking preventative eye care should see an eye doctor once per year in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s. Starting at age 45, everyone should have their eyes checked once to twice a year, depending on the health of their eyes. Children should have their eyes checked at birth, at 6 months of age, at 3 years and then before entering grade school. Usually, regular pediatrician visits and a preschool checkup will include an eye exam.
Because eyes have the ability of maintaining their own health with little influence from us, eye exams can take place less frequently than dental exams, which are recommended twice a year, unless an ocular disease is diagnosed. Frequent blinking, tear production, naturally occurring enzymes, anti-microbial agents working against harmful bacteria, and other eye functions prevent a biofilm from forming on the eyes. However, problems can arise when there are disruptions to the eyes’ natural environment. Disruptions include the wearing of contact lenses, ocular prostheses, corneal sutures, and punctal plugs (tear duct plugs, used for treating dry eyes).
The lid and lash hygiene that you do at home can lessen the build-up of bacteria around the eyes that is commonly associated with chronic medical conditions like blepharitis— an inflammation that affects the eyes. Blepharitis commonly occurs when tiny oil glands located near the base of the eyelashes malfunction, leading to inflamed, irritated and itchy eyelids. Because it is caused by numerous diseases and conditions, blepharitis is often difficult to treat and many times a chronic condition.
One of my patients, a 77-year old black female, had moderate blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction in both eyes and she complained of constant burning and irritation. In response to the aforementioned clinical findings, she experienced chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva. After using Avenova for 10 days as directed, the patient reported a significant resolution in her symptoms. Furthermore, the clinical signs utilizing slit lamp also improved significantly. As a result, there was an overall reduction in conjunctival inflammation.
Blepharitis can be uncomfortable and unattractive. If left untreated, it can affect the ability to achieve optimal vision. In helping treat or prevent blepharitis, dry eyes and a number of other conditions, many of my patients use commercially prepared lid and lash cleansing products often available as foaming cleansers or pre-moistened wipes.
Surfactant cleaners, which pull dirt and oil up to the surface of skin so impurities can be washed away with water, can be effective in blepharitis management, though some patients complain they’re messy, irritating and unpleasant to use. More aggressive therapies like topical antibiotics or antibiotic-steroid combinations might be necessary if conventional cleansers fail in adequately controlling the replication of bacteria.
NovaBay Pharmaceutical’s Avenova™, previously called i-Lid Cleanser, is the first daily lid and lash hygiene product of its kind available on the market. Avenova, presented as a bottled liquid solution, contains Neutrox™, NovaBay’s proprietary, pure, stable form of hypo-chlorous acid (HOCl). HOCl has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and is naturally produced by the human body’s white blood cells to defend against pathogenic microorganisms.
Avenova with Neutrox, (which retails for $30 for a 40mL bottle) is available by prescription only. Many eye doctors carry the product for sale to their patients; it is also available online an in select retail pharmacies.
For more information about Avenova, visit www.avenova.com, or call 1 (800) 890-0329.