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Cougar Health Services Anastasia Rarig

3 common lens cleaning mistakes

Student cleaning eyeglass lenses

It’s easy to accidentally damage your glasses when you’re cleaning them. Thankfully, by avoiding these common mistakes you can keep your glasses in great condition!

1) Wiping lenses without rinsing them first

If you don’t start by rinsing your lenses, you may be wiping around dust or debris and scratching your glasses. Always start with warm water or spray cleaners designed for lenses. You can also use a mild dish soap on tough smudges.

However, be careful to avoid any dish soap with added lotion, which can leave a film. Also, avoid household cleaners like Windex, because these can damage the coatings on your lenses.

2) Using paper products or your T-shirt to dry lenses

Paper products such as napkins, paper towels or tissues are made of wood fibers and can cause scratches. Try to break the habit of using your T-shirt, even if it’s cotton. It only takes a little dirt or dust to scratch your glasses.

Some people like to air dry their glasses after washing, but minerals in the water can leave spots behind. A soft, clean, lint-free cloth made of cotton or microfiber is your best option for drying lenses.

3) Holding glasses by the arms to clean them

It’s best to hold your glasses firmly by the bridge to avoid accidentally bending them. Always lay them down with the lenses facing upward and store them in a hard-shell case.

Avoiding these mistakes and washing your glasses at least once a day will help you see clearer! Come visit us at the vision clinic if you need to pick up some spray cleaner for your lenses.

High definition for your eyes

Glasses close up

Digital technology has affected almost every aspect of our lives, and now it’s making a big impact on the optical industry. Digitally customized eyeglass lenses are a new technology that could change the way you see – forever.

The traditional manufacturing process starts with a standard, pre-cut lens. This results in glasses that are a close (but not exact) match to your prescription.

Digital manufacturing uses computer-aided design and surfacing to create customized lenses unique to your specific prescription. These digitally surfaced lenses are so accurate it’s like high definition for your eyes!

Digitally customized lenses can benefit anyone who wears glasses. However, people with complex prescriptions and progressive lenses notice the biggest improvements.

Three benefits of digitally customized lenses

  1. Sharper vision. When it comes to matching your prescription, digitally customized lenses are 12 times more accurate than traditional lenses. Since these lenses are designed specifically for you, you’ll notice much sharper vision.
  1. Clear, distortion-free sight. If you wear progressive lenses cut with traditional methods, you may experience distortion in your peripheral vision. Objects around the edges of your glasses can seem blurry or shaky, and you may experience symptoms similar to motion sickness. Digitally customized lenses minimize distortions, helping progressive lens wearers see, and feel, better.
  1. Better night vision. Digitally customized lenses come with a premium anti-reflective coating, which eliminates glare. This is especially helpful for driving at night, when oncoming headlights can be blinding.

Be sure to discuss the benefits of digitally customized lenses with your eye care provider. Our vision clinic offers digitally customized lenses with premium anti-reflective coatings as our standard of care. Give us a call or swing by our clinic if you’d like to learn more!

Benefits of anti-reflective coatings

Glasses up close

Most people have probably heard of anti-reflective coatings for eyeglass lenses, but are these coatings worth the additional cost? Do they really make your vision sharper and clearer? And how do they work?

What is it?

An anti-reflective coating is a special coating that can be applied to the front and back of eyeglass lenses. Simply stated, anti-reflective lenses cancel out harmful glare by absorbing reflected light, bending it, or both.

Anti-reflective coatings virtually eliminate reflection and glare from your lenses. This allows more light to pass through, helping you to see more clearly.

What are the benefits?

Anti-reflective coatings are especially helpful during prolonged computer use and in low-light conditions, such as driving at night. The glare from oncoming headlights can be blinding for some people.

People with stronger prescriptions benefit even more from anti-reflective coatings, because thicker lenses reflect more light. This is true even for lenses made from specialty high-index material.

Eliminating reflections with an anti-reflective coating also makes lenses look nearly invisible. This allows people to see your eyes and facial expressions more clearly.

Which anti-reflective coating option is best?

There are several different types of anti-reflective coatings and many optical labs have their own brand. To get the most benefits, choose a multi-layer coating instead of a thinner “standard” coating.

Multi-layer coatings are more scratch resistant and come with a hydrophobic coating, which repels dust, water and oils. Because anti-reflective coated lenses are so clear, smudges and finger prints can be more noticeable. For most people, the less frequent need to clean their lenses is worth the extra cost for a hydrophobic coating.

Questions about anti-reflective coatings? You’re always welcome to stop by our vision clinic for advice on selecting glasses that are right for you.

Why blue light is harmful to your eyes

Students looking at smartphones

What is blue light, anyway?

Sunlight contains 25-30 percent blue light, so some blue light is natural. Other sources of blue light include fluorescent light bulbs, computer monitors, tablets, readers and smartphones. We all know that too much exposure to ultraviolet light causes sunburn. Since blue light is next to violet on the light spectrum, it has some harmful effects as well.

More research is needed to find out how much blue light is harmful to our eyes. But, since eyes are not very good at blocking blue light, many eye care providers are concerned that additional blue light exposure from digital devices may increase our risk of macular degeneration later in life.

What are the effects of blue light?

Blue light from digital devices creates visual “noise” which reduces contrast and can cause digital eye strain. Nearly 70 percent of adults who regularly use media devices report experiencing some symptoms of digital eyestrain! But very few do anything to avoid or relieve symptoms.

Symptoms can include: tired eyes, shoulder pain, headache, fatigue, eye irritation and pain, blurred or double vision, light sensitivity, tearing, dry eyes and trouble focusing.

What can help reduce digital eyestrain?

  • 20-20-20 rule. Try taking a screen break every 20 minutes, and look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Blue light blocking app. Try f.lux, or Twilight. iPhone users have a blue light blocking feature that comes with the newest update.
  • Blue-blocking filter. Wearing eyeglass lenses with blue blocking filters can help reduce strain.
  • Anti-reflective coatings. Using eyeglasses with anti-reflective coatings eliminates reflections and glare. This reduces the harmful effects of blue light.
  • Special computer eyewear. Gunnar Optiks make amber-colored lenses that filter blue light and add contrast to define shapes and sharpen detail. These lenses can also help prevent dry eyes and irritation from too much screen time.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about special computer eyewear, talk to your eye care provider or stop by the Health & Wellness Services vision clinic. At our clinic you can try on Gunnar eyewear and experience its blue light blocking benefits.

Understanding gender-based violence

Group of students hugging

It’s important to talk about violence because it can happen to anyone. Violence impacts students of all sexes, races and ethnicities. Victims and perpetrators can be people of any gender. And violence can happen in same-sex or opposite-sex relationships.

Gender-based violence includes intimate partner violence, stalking and sexual assault. Sometimes these types of violence are hard to spot. Understanding them can help us identify violence and respond. By learning more about violence, we can all help create a safer campus community and ensure every student has a healthy and safe experience at WSU.

Intimate partner violence is when someone uses power to gain or maintain control over another person. Intimate partner violence can take on many names – dating violence, domestic violence and partner violence – but it’s all the same thing: a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship. Many people initially think of physical abuse. But intimate partner violence can include emotional, psychological, sexual or financial abuse.

Someone who is trying to gain or maintain power and control over their partner might minimize the abuse and that person’s response to it. They might say things like “you’re being too sensitive,” or “it’s not that big of a deal.” In 2015, 7.7 percent of Cougs said they were in an emotionally abusive intimate relationship in the past year (ACHA-NCHA, 2015). Some examples of intimate partner violence include:

  • Threats or intimidation
  • Possessiveness
  • Harassment
  • Humiliation
  • Limiting independence
  • Isolation

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment or any other course of conduct that causes a reasonable person to feel afraid. People are most likely to be stalked by someone they know, such as a friend, current or former partner, acquaintance, or someone they met online. 3.9 percent of Cougs reported being stalked in the past year (ACHA-NCHA, 2015). Some examples of stalking include:

  • Repeated/unwanted emails, texts, phone calls, DMs
  • Showing up where someone is because they know that person’s schedule
  • Monitoring emails, texts, phone calls, social media accounts
  • Sending unwanted gifts to someone
  • Contacting or posting about someone on social media
  • Using friends and/or family to get information about someone

Sexual assault is any sexual activity lacking consent. 9 percent of Cougs reported being touched sexually without their consent in the past year (ACHA-NCHA, 2015). Sexual assault includes a wide range of behaviors such as:

  • Any non-consensual physical contact
  • Sharing nude photos
  • Filming someone
  • Groping, touching
  • Making sexual comments (incl. catcalling, sexting, comments on social media)
  • Attempted or completed rape

As Cougs, we play an active role in helping reduce violence on our campus. And we want to support our friends when they reach out to us for help.

If you or someone you know has experienced gender-based violence, there are a number of confidential and non-confidential resources on campus and in the community that can help. The Office for Equal Opportunity can help with implementing personal safety measures and/or making a report.

WSU doesn’t tolerate any forms of violence. If you experience any of these forms of violence, know that it’s not your fault, and we’re here to help.

WSU’s ACHA-NCHA statistics are comparable to universities nationwide. If you want more information on statistics pertaining to gender-based violence, ACHA has a position statement which includes nationwide figures.

Do you want more information on how to make our campus safer? Sign up to receive the latest news and updates on how we can end violence in our community.

Parents: Talk to your student about relationships

Dad and son talking

We strive to educate our students about violence prevention, but this is something we cannot do alone. We need parents, caregivers and mentors to join conversations about violence prevention and healthy relationships. We need your help.   

You may be surprised to learn that teens rely on parents, rather than friends, for guidance about these issues. We encourage you to have open conversations with your student—regardless of their gender—about dating, sexual relationships, healthy boundaries and consent. The key is to let your Coug know they can always come to you if they have questions or need support.

If you’ve already had conversations about healthy relationships with your student, we encourage you to continue.  For many, having these conversations isn’t easy and we recognize that.  It can be difficult and sometimes awkward to talk with your student about violence prevention and relationships.  But we promise it’s absolutely worth it.

To get the conversation started, keep it simple:

  • Look for opportunities to weave topics of sex, gender, dating and communication into everyday conversations. You could talk about a TV show, news story or blog post that relates to these topics, and ask your student what they think about it.
  • Talk about consent, and the university’s definition of consent in sexual interactions.
  • Reinforce that Cougs take action when they see someone in a risky situation or someone who needs help.
  • Talk about values your family shares, and what these look like in dating and sexual relationships.
  • Review WSU’s policy prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.
  • Ask about the Safety on Campus workshop your student attended during Alive!
  • Talk about boundaries, and let your student know that no one has the right to push them further than they want.

Even though your student is now an adult and has moved away to college, you still play a vital role in influencing them to make healthy decisions throughout life.

By educating yourself about this important issue, you will be better prepared should your student ever come to you asking questions about how to handle a particular situation.  Visit oeo.wsu.edu to learn more about the university’s process for handling instances of gender-based violence.

Get relief for itchy eyes

Students standing outside

Dry, itchy eyes bothering you this summer? You’re not the only one! About 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children in the United States have seasonal allergies. In addition to symptoms of sneezing, congestion and a runny nose, many allergy sufferers also experience swollen eyelids and itchy, watery, red eyes.

If you have these symptoms, here are a few tips on how to get relief for your eyes:

  • Splash your eyes with icy cold water for about 5 minutes when you first get up in the morning. This helps wash away allergens and reduce puffiness and itching.
  • Try to avoid touching your eyes! Rubbing your eyes can intensify feelings of itchiness.
  • Limit your exposure to common allergens. Keep your windows closed during high pollen periods, and use air conditioning in your home and car.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after petting animals. Pet dander is one of the most common triggers for eye allergies.
  • Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to help stop pollen from getting in your eyes.

There are many over-the-counter remedies available to help relieve red, itchy, watery eyes. Decongestants are eye drops that reduce redness from eye allergies by narrowing the blood vessels in the eye. Using these for too long can actually increase swelling and redness, so don’t use them for more than 2-3 days a time. Oral antihistamines are another option that can be mildly effective in relieving itching, but they can also cause dry eyes and may worsen eye allergy symptoms.

One of the best remedies to try is artificial tears. Artificial tears will temporarily wash allergens from the eye and help reduce that dry, irritated feeling. You can use these drops as often as needed for relief. Storing them in the refrigerator to keep them cool can be even more soothing.

Make sure to choose preservative-free artificial tears to avoid irritating your eyes further. A good brand to try is Alaway by Bausch & Lomb. These can be found at many pharmacies, and we also carry them in our vision clinic. Come visit us in the Washington building to pick some up!

6 tips for eating healthy on a budget

Person holding fruit

When you’re looking for food that’s cheap, fast and convenient, it can be tempting to make unhealthy choices. If you’ve ever made an effort to eat healthy while on a budget, you’ve probably felt caught in a decision between cost-effective and healthy choices.

We’ve got good news, though: it really is possible to do both! Here are six quick tips to help:

  1. Plan and make a list. Try planning at least three meals for the week and make a list of the specific ingredients you need before you hit the grocery store. Having a plan and a shopping list will help you stick to buying only what you need.
  2. Freeze leftovers. Your healthy meals will stay fresh longer in the freezer than the refrigerator, and takeout won’t be as tempting if you have healthy leftovers on hand.
  3. Check out frozen foods. Frozen fruits and veggies are often just as nutritious as fresh produce, and are also significantly cheaper.
  4. Buy generic or store brands. Generic brands typically have the exact same ingredients and are significantly cheaper than name brands.
  5. Get the most nutritious foods for your money. Some foods rich in nutrients but low in price include: peanut butter, whole wheat bread, tuna, beans, milk, yogurt, eggs, low-sugar spaghetti sauce, pasta, seasonal fruits and vegetables.
  6. Set yourself up for success. No matter how strong your willpower, keeping cookies and soda in the house makes it easy to slip up. Choosing not to buy unhealthy food in the first place will help you avoid empty calories and save money.

You can find more information about building a healthy diet from Health.gov or by signing up for a Health & Wellness Services workshop on CougSync. If you’re eating on campus, don’t forget to check out the nutrition info provided by Dining Services.

Fitting fitness into your schedule

Woman stretching

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to commit to working out? Quick fixes that promise overnight weight loss are tempting, but can be difficult to maintain over the long term. So how can you start a new fitness habit that sticks? Here are some very simple ways to start squeezing fitness into your schedule.

Play. That’s right, it’s time to play and have fun! Getting active by doing something you enjoy will help you to stay motivated towards your fitness goals. There are so many ways to be active at WSU!

University Recreation offers a wide range of fitness classes, including everything from martial arts to merengue and CrossFit to yoga. Intramural sports are a great way to socialize and be active at the same time. Want to hike or climb? Check out some of the planned trips the Outdoor Recreation offers.

Fitness on the fly. Not sure you have time to commit to a regular fitness class or sport? That’s okay! Finding little opportunities to exercise throughout your day can add up fast. If you take three 10-minute breaks for exercise throughout the day, you’ll reach the 30 minutes of physical activity that many health experts recommend without a huge time commitment.

Consider squeezing in a few jumping jacks, pushups, squats, lunges, tricep dips or whatever else you feel inspired to do as a break from studying or watching TV. Or try walking to and from classes, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or getting your heart rate up with some energetic housework.

Know yourself.  Are you are morning person, or an evening person? Do you prefer going to the gym or exercising at home? In order to find a fitness routine that is sustainable for you, you’ll need to know your habits and preferences.

If you hate running, it’ll be tougher to motivate yourself for a daily jog than for other fitness activities. If you’re a night owl, exercising at 6 a.m. might just not be for you. Set yourself up for success with a routine and activity that fit your personal preferences.

Looking for more tips and tricks on fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Follow Coug Health on Facebook or check out our current calendar of workshops at CougSync!