Until coronavirus-caused stay at home orders are lifted and it’s deemed safe to reopen businesses throughout the country, we need to get used to taking care of ourselves in ways that we haven’t before. After all, there’s no telling how long we’ll have to wait for our next professional haircut or pedicure.

Some self-care techniques are more important than others, such as exercise, meditation, and protecting your vision, explains Dr. Vivienne Velasco of iFocus Vision Center in Las Vegas. Although Dr. Velasco’s optometry practice is an essential business, she has taken steps to mitigate the spread of coronavirus by restricting appointments to emergencies only, while addressing common eyecare concerns over the phone and online.

“We are committed to the statewide ‘Stay Home for Nevada’ campaign,” Dr. Velasco explains. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t assist our patients when they have questions about self-care and how to protect their vision at home.

“It’s especially important because Las Vegas is in the midst of allergy season, and some of those symptoms can be confused with COVID-19.”

Treating Seasonal Eye Allergies

Allergy season arrived in February, as windy weather blew pollen off trees and into neighborhoods around southern Nevada. Watery and itchy eyes, difficulty breathing, sneezing, and coughing are common symptoms of seasonal allergies. With most Las Vegans confined to their homes, it can be difficult to find relief.

“One way to ease your symptoms is to apply a cold compress to your eyes,” explains Dr. Velasco. “This will relieve swelling that can occur with allergies; and helps you avoid rubbing your eyes when they are itchy, because this will make it worse.”

Patients can find additional relief with over-the-counter eyedrops such as Pataday or Zaditor, Dr. Velasco adds. It’s also important to change the air filters in your home every three months in order to reduce the allergens in your home.

Cleaning Your Contact Lenses and Eyeglasses

While iFocus Vision Center is allowing curbside pickup of replacement contact lenses and eyeglasses by appointment, Dr. Velasco says there are many things patients can do at home to lengthen the lifespan of their eyewear and ensure their contacts are germ and virus-free.

“Always wash your hands before handling your contact lenses, and always clean them as directed with the recommended contact lens solution,” she says. “Coronavirus can spread through the eyes when another person coughs, so if you’re not going to temporarily switch to frames, you need to keep your contacts as clean as possible.”

For getting more life out of your eyeglasses, Dr. Velasco offers three “Do’s” and one big “Don’t.”

Do: Clean eyewear lenses with an approved cleaning spray that is safe for any type of coating that may be on the lens.

Do: Always wipe the lens with a microfiber cloth.

Do: Clean eyeglasses with warm water and a mild liquid soap; and dry them with a microfiber cloth.

Don’t: Use a paper towel, tissue, or shirt to wipe your lenses.

iFocus Vision Center remains open with limited staff as we “Stay Home for Nevada.” Patients with an urgent need are seen by appointment only and we are offering curbside pickup for eyeglasses or contact lens refills. Please contact us at 702-473-5660 to schedule an appointment.