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Why Do Onions Make Us Cry?

Onions are one of the most common staple foods around the globe. Ironically, for a vegetable so delicious, they can often be tear-jerkers.

Read on to learn why onions cause your eyes to tear and sting, and what you can do to minimize discomfort.

Why Does Cutting Onions Cause Tearing?

Onions produce a sulfur compound called propyl sulfoxide that is stored in the cells of the onion bulb (the part of the onion we eat). Onions grow underground, where they can be eaten by all types of creatures. This odorous sulfuric compound acts as a deterrent to small animals with big appetites.

When one slices into an onion and breaks open its cells, the sulfur compound is released and mixes with the moisture in the air — turning it into smelly and irritating sulfuric acid. When this chemical rises up and comes in contact with your eyes, it stings!

To keep your eyes from potentially being damaged from this chemical exposure, your brain triggers your eyes to tear and flush out the irritating gas particles. Once enough tears have flushed out the sulfuric acids particles from the eye, clear vision and comfort is usually restored. Although your eyes may sting and feel unpleasant, symptoms are temporary and the sulfuric acid won’t damage your eyes.

How Can I Reduce Eye Discomfort When Chopping Onions?

Most experienced chefs will tell you that chilling your onions in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before slicing them will reduce the amount of tearing they cause. Propyl sulfoxide escapes slower in cooler temperatures, reducing the amount of sulfuric acid in the air.

You can also try cutting the onions at arm’s length, or direct the odorous air away with a small fan. Some say that chopping onions immersed in water also helps. Another option is to wear kitchen goggles to protect your eyes.

Furthermore, try to use fresh onions whenever possible. The longer an onion has been stored, the more likely it will induce tearing and discomfort. Try to avoid slicing near the root end of the bulb, as that area has the highest concentration of sulfuric compounds.

Still Having Eye Problems Out of the Kitchen?

If you frequently suffer from eye irritation — and not just while cutting onions — we can help. At Professional VisionCare, we treat a wide range of eye conditions and can provide you with the treatment and relief you seek.

For further questions or to schedule an eye exam, call us today.

At Professional VisionCare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 614-898-9989 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lewis Center eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!



Two Different Colored Eyes? Let’s Talk About It

While relatively uncommon, it’s possible to have two different colored eyes – as quite a few celebrities, such as Dan Aykroyd, Kate Bosworth, Mila Kunis, Christopher Walken and Jane Seymour, can personally attest! Called heterochromia, this condition is typically benign and has no effects on visual acuity. But it can definitely contribute to an exotic, memorable appearance.

To make sure your heterochromia doesn’t indicate a problem, schedule an eye exam at one of our eye care centers in Lewis Center, Westerville, Johnstown, and , Ohio. We’ll check your eye health thoroughly and provide a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, if needed.

3 types of heterochromia

Your eye color is determined by the amount of melanin in the iris. Blue eyes have the smallest quantity of melanin, and brown eyes have the largest amount. There are three types of heterochromia, categorized according to where the different colors are located in the eye:

  1. Complete heterochromia – The iris of one eye is an entirely different color than the iris of the other eye.
  2. Partial heterochromia (AKA sectoral heterochromia) – Only a part (or sector) of one eyes’ iris has a different color; this can occur in one or both eyes.
  3. Central heterochromia – The color near the border of the iris is different from the color near the border of the pupil. Spikes of the central color radiate from the pupil towards the middle of the iris.

Causes of heterochromia – congenital and acquired

This colorful eye condition can be congenital, meaning that it’s either present from birth, or it appeared in early childhood when the iris attained its full quantity of melanin. Congenital heterochromia is benign and genetic, or it can be the result of a genetic mutation during development of the embryo.

When heterochromia develops later in life, it is called acquired heterochromia. Typically, it happens because of a serious injury to the eye, uveitis and particular medications to treat glaucoma. Latisse eye drops, often used nowadays as a cosmetic treatment to thicken eyelashes, can also cause a color change in your iris.

Sometimes, heterochromia appears as a symptom of another health condition, such as Horner’s syndrome. This condition is the combination of partial ptosis, a constricted pupil, and the loss of the ability to sweat on half of the face. All of the symptoms are caused by a disruption of certain nerve impulses to the eye.

Heterochromia: contact lenses vs. eyeglasses

Heterochromia only requires treatment if it was caused by swelling or another underlying health problem. Otherwise, it can be left alone. However, some people are self-conscious about this condition and prefer to hide it by wearing colored contact lenses in one or both eyes. Our eye doctor in Lewis Center, Westerville, Johnstown, and , Ohio, can help match you with the best tint of contact lenses to give eyes that show the same exact hue. If you require vision correction to see, both eyeglasses and contact lenses will provide sharp visual acuity – but only colored contact lenses will mask the heterochromia.

Be safe – get an eye exam

Although most cases of heterochromia are there from birth and totally harmless, if you or your child has different colored eyes, book an eye exam to rule out any other serious conditions. Once your eye doctor determines that your eyes are healthy, you can enjoy the exotic appearance heterochromia adds to your look!

If you need vision correction, your eye doctor can fit you with prescription eyeglasses from our trending optical collection, or with premium contact lenses from our full inventory. Bring your current vision prescription to Professional VisionCare, located conveniently in Lewis Center, Westerville, Johnstown, and , Ohio.

At Professional VisionCare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 614-898-9989 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lewis Center eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!


Pink Eye? It Could Be Coronavirus

How to prevent conjunctivitis and protect your eyes

When you have a virus, especially one that causes a hacking cough, runny nose, and other symptoms of a common cold or flu, it’s typical for your eyes to also get puffy and red. You may be suffering from viral conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.

How do viruses get into your eyes?

It’s rather simple. When you’re sick, you can easily transfer viruses to your eyes by sneezing, coughing into your hands, or blowing your nose – and then touching the area around your eye.

The coronavirus – pink eye connection

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), doctors have discovered that COVID-19 can cause conjunctivitis. If you’re standing within six feet of an infected person, and they cough or sneeze, the virus can enter your eye. Alternatively, if someone sneezes and virus particles land on the shopping cart that you take and push around a store, and then you touch your eyes without washing your hands first – you’re giving the virus direct access.

However, despite the apparent ease with which coronavirus can infect eyes, the AAO reports that only about 1 – 3% of all patients with the virus contract pink eye.

Preventing pink eye

Like always, prevention is the most effective medicine! Eye care professionals recommend following these tips to help prevent getting viral conjunctivitis:

  • Wash your hands correctly

The CDC instructs people to wash their hands in accordance with these steps: wet your hands, turn off the tap, apply soap, lather and scrub for 20 seconds, turn on tap and rinse. Air dry your hands, use a disposable paper towel and discard it immediately, or use a clean (not shared) towel.

  • Keep your fingers away from your face

No rubbing or wiping your eyes! Even if you don’t feel any symptoms of coronavirus, it’s essential not to touch any part of your face. To wipe away tears or remove makeup, use a clean tissue.

  • Don’t share your personal things

As generous as you may feel about letting others use your personal items, now’s the time to keep things to yourself. For example, the CDC recommends not sharing eye drops, makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses cases, pillowcases, or towels. Pink eye is highly contagious.

  • Consider wearing glasses instead of contacts

While there’s currently no evidence to prove that wearing contacts raises your risks of contracting the novel coronavirus, there’s some evidence that shows you can get Covid-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes. In general, contact lenses wearers touch their eyes more often than people who wear eyeglasses, so it may be smart to make a temporary switch from contact lenses to glasses. However, this is only a friendly recommendation and not a hard-and-fast rule. If you prefer to stick with wearing contacts, washing your hands thoroughly can help keep you and your eyes safe.

Treatment for conjunctivitis

Regardless of whether your pink eye is caused by coronavirus or a different virus, there is no treatment for viral conjunctivitis. Usually, it goes away on its own within one to two weeks.

To alleviate your painful symptoms, eye doctors recommend:

  • Taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or any anti-inflammatory drug
  • Applying a warm compress on your eye for a few minutes; take care to use a clean wash cloth each time and for each eye
  • Use artificial tears (lubricating eye drops) to soothe your eye irritation; don’t touch the bottle tip to your eye

Are you sick and have pink eye symptoms?

Now is not the time to make a DIY diagnosis. Eye redness, even if you have a virus, doesn’t necessarily indicate that you have conjunctivitis. A wide range of other conditions can lead to the same symptoms. Contact an eye doctor near you for help to figure out what’s causing your eye pain. Don’t visit your eye care practice without calling for guidance first, because extra precautions must be taken with patients who may have COVID-19.

At Professional VisionCare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 614-898-9989 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lewis Center eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!


Can Eye Exercises Correct Astigmatism?

See what our kids eye care professional has to say

While astigmatism is pretty common, it can also be an annoying vision condition. That’s because astigmatism may complicate many simple, daily tasks – such as reading a book.

When you have astigmatism, it means the cornea of your eye is shaped irregularly. As a result, light reflects unevenly on your retina, leading to blurred vision. Also, the muscles around your eyes can place extra stress on your cornea, leading to double vision, eye irritation, headaches, and eyestrain. Typically, prescription eyewear is used to correct astigmatism. However, there are also some natural ways to improve astigmatism, such as eye exercises.

Our eye doctor in Lewis Center, Westerville, Johnstown, and , Ohio, offers comprehensive pediatric eye exams as a part of our kids eye care services. We’ll test your child’s vision thoroughly to recommend the most helpful treatments.

Astigmatism comes in two types

The kind of astigmatism you’re likely familiar with is regular astigmatism. This refers to a football-shaped eye, and the condition is usually genetic. The other kind of astigmatism is irregular astigmatism, generally caused by damage to the eye. Surgery or contacts are often needed to correct this type of astigmatism.

What these two types of astigmatism have in common is that ocular stress can exacerbate both of these conditions!

Causes of ocular stress

A number of behaviors that are common among children with astigmatism can worsen ocular stress, such as:

  • Extended computer use
  • Reading books and digital devices
  • Doing fine detailed work, such as sewing or accounting
  • Watching TV or working in dim light
  • Not drinking enough and/or lack of nutrients

Eye exercises can relieve ocular stress

We regularly provide kids eye care to our young patients with astigmatism who complain about headaches, eye fatigue, and other symptoms of ocular stress. In response, we often recommend eye exercises to strengthen the eye muscles. Eye exercises can help reduce stress and relax eye muscles. Typically, they’ll help improve vision gradually or in as little as 2-4 weeks.

When reading, working at a computer, or doing any kind of detailed work, we encourage kids to take regular vision breaks. These breaks are the perfect time to do eye exercises, such as:

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, look about 20 feet into the distance for 20 seconds. Gaze out a nearby window and focus on the scenery outside, or look into another room and focus on the artwork or shelving.
  • Blinking is another effective eye exercise that can relieve some of the ocular stress
  • Rectus muscle relaxation – place the thumb above the nose and move it clockwise around the nose, breathing deeply the whole time.
  • Eye massage – place two fingers on each eyelid and apply gentle pressure, moving slowly in a circular motion; repeat 10 -15 times, 2 – 4 times a day
  • Reading – open a book and place an object on the side. After reading a paragraph from the book, the kid should focus on the side object and keep doing that until their eyes start to get tired.
  • Head tilting – pay attention to whether your child usually tilts his or her head to one side; they should spend time each day trying to tilt their head in the opposite direction.
  • Eye yoga – while maintaining a straight posture (sitting or standing), close your eyes and concentrate on your eye muscles. Breathe deeply while moving your eyeballs slowly, side to side. Your child should do this eye exercise several times a day to help strengthen the eye muscles and improve focus.

Learn how eye exercises can help your child!

Visit our specially trained kids eye care professionals for a full evaluation of your child’s vision condition. If astigmatism is diagnosed, we’ll recommend the most effective eye exercises. We offer gentle, precise pediatric eye exams in Lewis Center, Westerville, Johnstown, and , Ohio.

At Professional VisionCare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 614-898-9989 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lewis Center eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!


Do You Really Need to Clean with Contact Lens Solution?

What does contact lens solution do?

The number of people who don’t clean their contacts properly is unbelievably high! In fact, some surveys go so far as to estimate 40-90% people fail to use contact lens solution correctly. Often, it’s just because they’ve run out of solution. However, that’s not an excuse – and it’s a scary, dangerous habit to get into!

Our eye doctors in Lewis Center, Westerville, Johnstown, and , Ohio, have performed many urgent contact lens eye exams for patients with eye infections and eye irritation that resulted from improper hygiene. Learn why using a disinfectant solution is so important!

The purpose of contact lens solution

Contact solution cleans your lenses and prevents the build-up of protein deposits that can be very irritating to your eyes and eyelids.

Solutions are commercially produced with preservatives and chemicals that both clean and disinfect your lenses, simultaneously removing any proteins that have been left on the surface. Every brand of contact lens solution is slightly different, with varying ingredients. But the primary active ingredients are boric acid, disinfecting detergents, and other components that add lubrication.

Types of contact solutions

Even though they share a common goal, a variety of special types of solutions are out there.

  • Some kinds of solutions are made for sensitive eyes
  • Others are free of certain preservatives that may be allergenic
  • Multipurpose solutions are all-in-one, taking care of the rinsing, cleaning, and disinfecting. When using these, there’s no need to also buy saline solution.
  • Hydrogen peroxide solutions require more time and attention for safe cleaning of your contact lenses. Preservative free, these solutions are often a preferred choice for people who are sensitive or allergic to chemicals. To use these solutions, you’ll need to leave your contacts in the special case (with a neutralizing disc in the cup) for 6-8 hours.

Saline is not the same

Saline solution is basically saltwater that is pH balanced. It is intended just for rinsing your lenses after cleaning and disinfecting, before inserting your contacts back into your eyes. We can’t stress enough how saline is NOT the same as contact lens solution. It has no cleaning or disinfecting properties, and by soaking your contacts in saline overnight – you are risking dangerous contamination.

Avoid DIY contact lens solutions

You may have come across recipes for how to make your own contact lens solution as a way to save money. However, using those DIY solutions is hazardous to your eye health. To be safe, the solution must have only sterile ingredients made using only sterile tools and equipment. It’s near impossible to do this at home. Unfortunately, our optometrists in Lewis Center, Westerville, Johnstown, and , Ohio, have seen many patients who later regretted using these contact lens solutions because it put them at risk for serious eye damage (and even blindness).

Hazards of tap water

Although it’s easy and always available, tap water is a definite no-no for contact lenses, even just for storing them. Tap water is teeming with bacteria and microorganisms that can lead to a rare disease called acanthamoeba keratitis. This eye disease is a sight-threatening corneal infection that’s not only painful, but can even result in the need for a corneal transplant. And don’t ever use saliva!

The only solution for healthy vision = contact lens solution

If you have any questions about which type of contact lens solution is best for your eyes, consult with an optometrist at Professional VisionCare. We perform contact lens eye exams and offer a range of solutions in our eye care centers in Lewis Center, Westerville, Johnstown, and , Ohio.

At Professional VisionCare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 614-898-9989 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lewis Center eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!


Is School Work Causing Computer Vision Syndrome in Your Child?

Eye health tips for students from our Lewis Center eye doctor

The start of fall means back-to-school for kids of all ages – and our team at Professional VisionCare wishes everyone a smooth and successful return to the classroom!

When your child enters school after a summer of outdoor fun, many of the summer’s vision hazards are left behind. Yet, that doesn’t mean all eye health risks are eliminated! Nowadays, the majority of learning is computer based – exposing students’ eyes to the pain and dangers of blue light and computer vision syndrome. Fortunately, a variety of helpful devices and smartphone apps are available to block blue light and keep your child’s vision safe and comfortable.

To help you safeguard your child’s vision for the upcoming semesters and the long term of life, our Lewis Center optometrist explains all about computer vision syndrome and how to prevent it.

Symptoms of computer vision syndrome

It’s smart to familiarize yourself with the signs of computer vision syndrome. If your child complains about any of these common symptoms, you can help prevent any lasting vision damage by booking an eye exam with our Lewis Center eye doctor near you:

  • Eye irritation and redness
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eyes, due to reduced blinking
  • Headaches

Basics of blue light

Students spend endless hours in front of digital screens, be it a computer monitor, tablet, or smartphone. There is homework to be done, research to be conducted, texting with friends, and movies and gaming during downtime. All of this screen time exposes your child’s eyes to blue light.

Many research studies have demonstrated that flickering blue light – the shortest, highest-energy wavelength of visible light – can lead to tired eyes, headaches, and blurry vision. Additionally, blue light can disrupt the sleep/wake cycle, causing sleep deprivation and all the physical and mental health problems associated with it. As for your child’s future eye health, blue light may also be linked to the later development of macular degeneration and retinal damage.

How to avoid computer vision syndrome

Our Lewis Center eye doctor shares the following ways to block blue light and protect against computer vision syndrome:

  • Computer glasses, eyeglasses lenses treated with a blue-light blocking coating, and contact lenses with built-in blue light protection are all effective ways to optimize visual comfort when working in front of a screen. These optics reduce eye strain and prevent hazardous blue-light radiation from entering the eyes.
  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule; pause every 20 minutes to gaze at an object that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This simple behavior gives eyes a chance to rest from the intensity of the computer or smartphone screen, preventing eye fatigue.
  • Prescription glasses can be helpful when using a computer for long periods – even for students who don’t generally need prescription eyewear. A weak prescription can take the stress off of your child’s eyes, decreasing fatigue and increasing their ability to concentrate. Our Lewis Center optometrist will perform a personalized eye exam to determine the most suitable prescription.
  • Moisturize vision with eye drops. One of the most common symptoms of computer vision syndrome is dry eyes, namely because people forget to blink frequently enough. Equip your child with a bottle of preservative-free artificial tears eye drops (available over the counter) and remind them to blink!
  • Blue light filters can be installed on a computer, smartphone, and all digital screens to minimize exposure to blue. A range of helpful free apps are also available for download.
  • Limit screen time for your child each day, or encourage breaks at least once an hour. Typically, the degree of discomfort from computer vision syndrome is in direct proportion with the amount of time your child spends viewing digital screens.
  • Set the proper screen distance. Younger children (elementary school) should view their computer at a half-arm’s length away from their eyes, just below eye level. Kids in middle school and high school should sit about 20 – 28 inches from the screen, with the top of the screen at eye level.

For additional info, book a consultation and eye exam at Professional VisionCare

When you and your child meet with our Lewis Center eye doctor, we’ll ask questions about your child’s school and study habits to provide customized recommendations on the most effective ways to stay safe from computer vision syndrome and blue light. Our optometrist stays up-to-date with the latest optic technologies and methods to prevent painful vision and eye health damage from using a computer, so you can depend on us for contemporary, progressive treatment.

The appointment scheduler is currently under maintenance, you can call or text us today to schedule your appointment at 614-898-9989