Oculus | Botwin Eye Group, Optometrists and Optical Shop, Santa Fe, NM

Botox and Blurry Vision

Female Beautician Giving Mature Male Patient Botox Injection In Forehead
Female Beautician Giving Mature Male Patient Botox Injection In Forehead

Cosmetic procedures have been prominent for both women and men for years. While the popularity of certain procedures tends to decrease and incline in waves, temporary facial “improvements” like Botox injections have become and remain one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. The popularity is thanks to its noninvasiveness, and less important influences like social media app filters that give you a visual perception of how different you can look by “just getting a little work done…”

Botox is also used at times to maintain eye alignment and treat uncontrolled eyelid twitching.

The decision is ultimately yours. While we do not oppose personal decisions within this realm, our team is here to help answer questions about anything that can pertain to the health of your eyes.

So, let’s talk about it.

THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

To start, you may be wondering why we are focusing more on Botox than dermal fillers. Dermal fillers are different substances and most often used to increase volume in areas farther away from the eyes, like the lips. Botox is most often used to hinder wrinkles in the forehead and around the eyes.

While Botox injections for cosmetic reasons are often self-decided most prevalently among women older than 30, both men and women in their 20’s have started to take this facial aging preventative measure into consideration too.

As the Botox user rate increases along with other possible threats to eye health and the common problems that increase by age, one of the most proper precautions to protect your eyes is to schedule a check-up with your Optometrist first.

This precautionary action is especially important if your plan is to receive injections between the eyebrows and above the nose. This area, referred to as the glabella, is one of the riskiest areas where injections can result in vascular blindness.

THE CERTIFIED PRACTITIONER PURSUIT

Taking a risk is always based on looking for a reward. Don’t take two risks in the pursuit of one reward!

The doctor or practitioner of your choice must be able to:

  1. Recognize any complications immediately
  2. Have the ability to treat them appropriately

Here are a few things to take into consideration when making the practitioner decision:

  1. Do you feel comfortable in the facility?
  2. Have the procedure risks been mentioned and fully discussed prior to your consent?
  3. Have you seen before and after photos or been able to reach out to a current patient to discuss their experience?

THE POSSIBLE PERILS

Botox injected by an untrained hand can permeate the wrong muscles causing a droop of the eyelid, which will ultimately settle but can be very bothersome.

The first visual disturbance case from a cosmetic facial filler was listed in 1988. The report showcased a reaction of retinal artery occlusion.

After speaking with a few users of the botulinum toxin, we received a story of one experience worth notating from a consumer in her late 20’s:

“I had Botox under my eyes once! It basically relaxed my eye muscles so much that my eyes wouldn’t shut all the way when I slept at night. It was a frustrating 3 months. It was supposed to help with the bags under my eyes but the result wasn’t as I expected. I also was extremely sensitive to light during that period of time. Other than that … my “vision” was fine.” – Julie

As facial fillers with high negative results have surely declined over the years, droopy eyelids are one of the most reported side effects that can last up to 6 months.

Other possible perils include:

  • Allergic reactions as a rejection from the body which can be detrimental to vision and eye health
  • Irritations noticeable by bloodshot eyes and temporarily blurred vision
  • Vascular occlusion, otherwise referred to as a decline of blood flow

One tip: do not rub the area of injection! Rubbing a sore area is one of the most common reactions to reduce discomfort. But, after an injection, rubbing can cause Botox to spread into other areas and lead to unwanted effects.

An immediate, emergency visit to your trusted Optometrist is suggested for reactions such as loss of vision and reactions that are highly painful or prolonged.

MORE QUESTIONS?

Contact us at one of our locations to ask questions or to schedule an appointment!

Hey, allergy season. Welcome back to the time of year when everyone blames almost every distress on allergies! Let us help set the record straight though, since certain symptoms are easily assumed as a seasonal allergic reaction when they can actually be a result of something worth looking into further.

Eye Allergies

But okay, we’ll give eye allergies a little bit of attention since they can be the reason for red, itchy, swollen, sensitive, burning, and overall irritated eyes. First and foremost, don’t forget, it’s not just the pollen. There are several things you can be allergic to from trees to animals to new perfumes, even new contact lenses, believe it or not.

The reason behind the reactions you experience is the release of histamines. Histamines are a chemical that causes all the swelling, tears, et cetera, in an attempt to release allergens and help defend your eyes.

While antihistamine pills and eye drops help calm allergic reactions, it’s suggested that over-the-counters aren’t used for more than a couple of days. Ask us about prescribed eye drops that can be used on a more fluid schedule and can healthily harmonize with any existing eye issues such as glaucoma.

Now that we’ve covered eye allergies, let’s talk about other possible culprits.

Eye Allergies or Eye Infections?

The reactions might seem as similar as identical twins in the beginning. But the causes are completely unrelated. Eye allergies are caused by allergens and eye infections are caused by substances like bacteria, parasites, and viruses. If they are not appropriately addressed, symptoms can mutate from a mild itch to more intense pain, light sensitivity and thick, slimy discharge.

Another important thing to know about infections vs allergies: infections can spread to others and allergies cannot. Proper hygiene and following ODs guidance are crucial to healing your own eyes and protecting the eyes of others.

Eye Allergies or Dry Eye?

One oddity of dry eye syndrome is that it can lead to watery eyes. This reflex tearing helps to confuse dry eye syndrome and eye allergies. There are so many varied factors that can lead to dry eye. Factors that can develop at any time. One way to help differentiate the two is maintaining awareness of other symptoms that are more prone to dry eye, such as:

  • Heavy eyelids
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye pain that feels different from allergic irritation

Eye Allergies or Adverse Medicinal Reactions?

Some medications can cause severe eye problems, but the puzzling part is they often don’t kick in until after years of use. This is one of the several reasons why it is important to discuss all side effects with your doctors and to share your use of all medications with your trusted optometrist.

Medications that can lead to eye issues fall in every arena. The most common negative results are dry eye, light sensitivity, and in more serious cases, optic nerve damage and loss of visual acuity. If these reactions begin to take place during the months that are often considered “allergy season”, it may be easy to relate them with allergy responses.

Eye allergies usually don’t come on their own. They’re often accompanied by sneezing, a scratchy throat, and a stuffy nose. The best way to confirm the cause? A checkup!

Questions?

Contact us at one of our locations! Our team at Botwin Eye Group – Oculus Optical is here to help.

Sensitive Eyes & Cosmetics Guide

Putting makeup on is fun! It can also be considered one of the most relaxing and satisfying parts of getting ready… If it is being done on time, and not in a rush, which we can admit is pretty rare.

Of all the little mishaps that can take place during the getting ready process like, nicking your leg with a razor, or burning your arm with a curling iron, harming your eyes with cosmetics is a common mishap, too.

You might be surprised to read that everything from mascara to foundation and powder can have an effect on your eyes.

Allow us to guide you in what to look out for when buying and what to make sure of when using certain types of cosmetics.

Before You Buy:

List Out: Go ahead and take notes from influencer led social media videos, the newest products of your favorite brands and cosmetics that your friends and family members love.

Read Up: Don’t simply let the influencers, family, and friends easily influence your purchase decisions. There are still two steps to take. The next one? Read up on the list of product ingredients as some can lead to negative reactions to the delicate skin that helps safeguard your eyes.

Avoid These Ingredients

makeup palette

A few things to check for and avoid are parabens, phthalates, and fragrances. Otherwise known as “man-made” chemicals used to help preserve products, prolong their scents and the plastics they are packaged in. Keep in mind that these chemicals often are not simply listed as “parabens”, “phthalates”, and “fragrance”. These ingredients typically have more specific names in the ingredients list.

One of the easiest suggestions? Look out for products listed as paraben-free and fragrance-free, meaning they do not have any of those manufactured chemicals in the product recipe.

Try Before You Buy

We’re sure you’ve heard the term Try Before You Buy before. We agree, it is one worth following. Brands and stores will often provide samplers for certain products. Or you can always start your search for your personally best options by buying gift sets that house several different types of one cosmetic necessity like eyeliners or mascaras.

Give these picks a try and keep track of how your eyes and the skin around your eyes react before you transfer from testing out the snack-size product to investing in the king-size one.

While You Use:

Preparation

Wash. Your. Hands: We know you know how important this step is and that it shouldn’t only apply after your toilet has been flushed. Anything that is left on your hands like facial serums or moisturizers can transfer onto other surfaces… This brings us to step number two…

Contacts: Put your contacts in! But make sure your hands are 100% dry before application as some tap water might contain dangers to the eye. Inserting contacts before embellishing with makeup is important because it prevents your lenses from getting dirty and damaged and trapping makeup between your eye and the lens.

Clean: Also keep track of the last time you’ve washed your brushes and sponges. These very important tools can harbor and grow types of mold and bacteria dangerous to the health of your eyes.

Application

Check Expiration Date: If you’re looking to use a product you haven’t used “in a minute”, see if you can find the expiration date. Cosmetics do expire! When a product expires, your skin expires to it. If you can’t find the date, keep this in mind: properly stored and/or unopened makeup lasts for an average of 2 years.

Eyeliner: When it comes to eyeliner, we have two pieces of advice for you: always sharpen your pencil and avoid the inside of your lash line. An unsharpened pencil makes it harder to precisely apply and can scratch your eyelids and lash lines. Even if you use a liquid liner or an eyeliner pen, applying it to the inside of your lash line can block important glands and lead to painful styes.

Removal

Wash Your Face: Do not, we repeat, do not go to bed without washing your face and removing all your makeup! One of the most common issues that results from sleeping before cleansing — especially if the makeup you used is borrowed or expired—is an eye infection called conjunctivitis, better known as pink eye.

Makeup Remover: Looking to try something organic to remove your eye makeup? Try a simple concoction of witch hazel and water which often also helps reduce eye inflammation.

Replace: If you ever experience an infection of any sort, removal of the brushes and products used in that area of the face are the best next step! Quickly remove and replace to avoid spreading the bacteria that caused the infection any further.

Questions? Infections?

Contact us at one of our locations! Our team at Botwin Eye Group – Oculus Optical is here to help.

When the Whites of Your Eyes Just… Aren’t Quite White

Closeup of an eye of a black man

White eyes have just about the same cosmetic priority as white teeth or unblemished skin. In fact, several surveys reveal that about 30% of people initially notice eyes when they first meet someone. While you can be a generally healthy human with stained teeth and imperfect skin, your eyes can reveal a lot about you… including your health.

First, allow us to introduce you to the sclera. The sclera is simply the medical term for “the white of the eye”. And it comes with high importance.

The sclera is four coats of protection that wrap around most of the eyeball, from the front of the beautiful colored part of the eye- the iris, to the back with sensitive optic nerves. This eye armor is no more than one millimeter thick, which amounts to the thickness of about 10 sheets of paper, layered on top of one another!

The layers of protective armor that give your eye its white color and the sclera its overall strength include randomly patterned collagen fibers and tissues called the episclera, the stroma, the lamina fusca, and the endothelium.

Typically, the entire sclera, not just one layer, changes color or accumulates spots.

Here are 4 hues to keep a lookout for along with a few reasons why:

Yellow: A yellow tone brings along with it a couple of main suspicions, jaundice and “surfer’s eye”.

A buildup of red blood cells that are normally filtered out by the liver can have several different causes but can trigger jaundice which often includes a yellowing of the eyes and skin. Surfer’s eye should really be given the nickname of “Outdoor A Lot Eye” as it is a sign of untreated UV damage from the sun combined with high winds or areas filled with dust.

Blue: A tint of blue/gray might not be easy to detect by looking in a mirror, and often these tints are unavoidable because of long-term use of important medications.

Tints of blue are still important to observe with help from your OD to consider or dismiss certain health conditions like genetic bone disease or iron deficiency.

Red: Chances are we’ve all experienced eyes with a shade of red, whether it was thanks to allergies or exhaustion or any other typical culprit.

However, it is still important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible since a red eye can also signal an infection or a broken blood vessel, especially if accompanied by discharge, pain, or blurred vision.

Brown: Brown spots are on both ends of the spectrum. They range from completely harmless to life-threatening. High levels of melanin, the natural skin pigment which makes skin, hair, and the iris of your eyes a darker color can curate spots outside of the iris and within the sclera which are nothing to worry about.

However, if a dark spot that resembles a freckle that changes over time develops during or after your 30’s, we suggest you make an appointment. These more serious brown spots are not at all melanin-related and can become cancerous if left untreated.

So, when the whites of your eyes just… aren’t quite white, contact us! Keep note of what is accompanying your sclera color change and alert us about anything such as…

  • Blurred vision
  • Discharge
  • Pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Swelling or bulging

…and our team at Botwin Eye Group – Oculus Optical will handle the process to lead your eyes—and your entire self—back to health.

This or That: Maintaining Your Eyesight

365 days can manifest a great deal that you might not be able to set your sights on quite yet. Don’t wait until you can’t see it to believe it.

Quiz yourself in a quick “This or That!” and see where you stand when it comes to maintaining your eyesight and what’s worth *looking* into for your eye health before 2022.

What age group is likely to develop an eye concern within 1 year? 

THIS — 10-20 years old 

THAT — 50-60 years old

Did you pick 10-20 years old? You are correct!

The focus of children and young adults is their education. They spend five days a week and several hours a day turning pages in textbooks and staring at computer screens. The small fonts in books and bright screens place a significant claim on visual abilities which can turn into a challenge if not appropriately addressed.

When they’re not training their brains in the classroom, they’re often training their bodies on a court or on a field. This is a realm where healthy eyes are just as important to enable high performance.

Eye issues that can hinder focus, visual acuity and other crucial visual skills are just as likely to develop within one year for children, teens, and young adults as they are for older individuals.

If you chose 50-60 years old, you are also right.

Regardless of overall health, adults often start developing vision problems 10 years prior to this age range. Eyes will begin to lose ability to focus, to produce tears and to recognize the difference between certain shades of color. These visual frustrations along with several others can worsen within the course of a year causing daily activities to become monumental tasks when suffering causes of certain vision-related problems.

Which form of smoking causes an issue in eye health? 

THIS — Smoking Cigarettes 

THAT — Smoking Vapes

This is yet another question where both responses are true.

Quitting smoking cigarettes is a very strong step in the right direction! Still, it can often lead to simply replacing the disposable pack with a refillable vape. There is a commonly made assumption that vaping is not as harmful to the body as smoking cigarettes. Since those assumptions have been determined as false, new vape products are showing up, highlighting their regression of nicotine to present the product as “healthier”.

While nicotine removal from vapes is a thoughtful move, it is important to understand that they—along with cigarettes and original vapes— still contain chemicals that could pose health risks to your eyes.

Some of the most harmful eye issues from smoking include increased risk of cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

If you are a smoker, have recently quit or have intentions to quit in the future, make a yearly visit to your optometrist a top priority.

What can lead to a vision impairing eye complication? 

THIS — Daily use of unprescribed (OTC) eye drops 

THAT — Forgetting to remove contact lenses

Let’s start with this question with “that.”

If you’re a contact wearer, sleeping in contacts should only be done if approved by your eye doctor. For most, chances are you’ve been advised to not keep your lenses in all day and all night. Sleeping with contacts in is still a common mistake. This can lead to several different types of bacterial infections that can cause permanent scarring, a need for eye surgery, and last but certainly not least, loss of sight.

The complications that can arrive from overuse of over the counter (OTC) eye drops are different but still play a role in vision impairing scenes. OTC eye drops can come in handy! However, many of the eye drops offered over the counter contain strong preservatives that can also degrade the quality of your cornea and eyesight. Using them daily can also over dilate blood vessels in the eye and hinder more serious problems from being recognized and professionally treated. If you feel the need to use these drops daily, ask your eye doctor what the most appropriate drop should be for your condition.

At this point, we’re sure you’ve gotten the gist! Both this and that are right answers. Now is the time to make use of your remaining end of year health benefits and schedule an appointment with one of our practice ODs for a comprehensive eye exam and walk into the new year with clarity.