45 million Americans could be putting themselves at risk for permanent eye damage — and it’s largely preventable

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contact lens, eye

When people ask me why I don’t wear contacts, I typically come up with some excuse to avoid admitting the truth: Sticking a plastic device directly on the fragile mucous membrane surrounding my cornea terrifies me.

But it does, and it’s the reason I’ve always felt A-OK just wearing glasses.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes me feel slightly justified in my fear of contacts, despite the fact that they’re largely safe and effective — at least when worn correctly.

The report builds on previous findings from 2015, when the CDC found that more than 99% of the contact lens wearers they surveyed reported at least one behavior that put them at risk for an eye infection. Forty-five million Americans don’t share my fear, opting to use contacts on the regular.

According to the new study, which surveyed roughly 4,500 adults and 1,600 adolescents aged 12–17 years, six out of every seven people who wear contact lenses engaged in at least one habit that put them at risk for a serious contact lens–related eye infection last year. Across age groups, the most common risky habits included sleeping, napping, or swimming in contacts and failing to replace lenses and lens storage cases when needed. Among adolescents, the most common was failing to see an eye doctor every year.

Why forgetting to replace your contacts is dangerous

When you don’t replace contact lenses and their cases as often as recommended, it raises the chances of developing an infection for several reasons.

woman swimming swim underwater poolFirst and foremost, every time you touch your lenses, you’re opening up the possibility of introducing microbial life onto the contact. Because the lenses are already moist — just like your eyes — they’re already ripe terrain for bacteria to take hold. So long as you always wash your hands and swap your lenses on the regular, these microbes don’t have too much time to blossom into veritable forests of bacteria. But when you get sluggish about replacing them and continue using and re-using the same old lenses, you’re increasing the chances that all that bacteria will start to proliferate and infect your eyes.

It’s no surprise then that people who don’t swap out their lenses frequently report more complications and more eye discomfort.

Exposing contacts to water — whether it’s your gym pool or some tap water — can also heighten your infection risk. Water is home to all kinds of microorganisms, and those can easily be transferred to the eye.

Last year, roughly 1 in 5 of all of the contact lense-related infections reported to the CDC included someone who had scarred their cornea, needed a corneal transplant, or had reduced vision. The cornea, the eye’s clear front dome, plays a key role in vision and has a remarkable capacity to recover from most minor nicks. But an infection — like the ones described in the CDC’s report — can damage the cornea’s deeper layers, making it tough to completely heal.

In some cases, corneal damage can also cause scarring, which can distort your vision. When the scarring is severe, you may need a corneal transplant, which involves swapping part of your cornea with tissue from a donor.

How to keep your eyes healthy

While these problems sound severe, most of them are potentially preventable.

"Prevention efforts should focus on encouraging contact lens wearers to replace their contact lens storage case regularly and to avoid sleeping or napping in contact lenses," the authors of the report wrote.

Here are some other easy ways to keep your contacts — and your eyes — clean and healthy:

1. Wash your hands before handling your lenses.

2. Completely replace yesterday’s contact solution.

3. Wear your contacts for only as long as they’re prescribed.

4. Rinse your lens case with contact solution and wipe it out with a clean towel after every use.

Finally, next time you get up to put on your contacts, remember — you’re putting in a medical device. Handle it with care.

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NOW WATCH: An eye doctor reveals the most dangerous thing you could do to your eyes

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The Influence of Instagram on Fashion Decisions [Infographic]

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Nearly three quarters (72%) of Instagram users say they have made a fashion- or beauty-related purchase after seeing the product on the social network, according to recent research from Dana Rebecca Designs.

The report was based on data from a survey of 2,000 people who use Instagram; 63% of respondents consider themselves to be “fashion-forward.”

Some 74% of Millennial respondents say they have made a fashion- or beauty-related purchase after seeing a related post on Instagram, compared with 54% of Baby Boomer respondents.

Some 29% of respondents say they have purchased jewelry or jewelry accessories after seeing a the product on Instagram.

One-third of Millennial respondents say they have used Instagram while inside a retail store to help make a fashion purchase decision.

Check out the infographic for more insights from the survey:

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 2,000 people who use Instagram; 63% of respondents consider themselves to be “fashion-forward.”

Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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How to Become More Self-Aware

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Alan Mulally, the celebrated business executive credited with turning around the fortunes of Ford motor company in the late 2000s, remembers an important lesson he took in self-awareness. It was during his first management position as a 25-year-old and he’d been nurturing a promising young aeronautical engineer whom he much admired. He was enjoying mentoring the man, his first employee, and was totally stunned when he handed in his notice, suddenly telling Mulally “I have to get away from you!”

But rather than feeling bitter, Mulally turned the situation into a learning opportunity and discovered from the unhappy engineer that he (Mulally) had been overly controlling and trying too hard to turn the engineer into a carbon copy of himself. “Can you imagine if no one had told me for years, or for decades? What a gift!” Mulally tells Tasha Eurich in her book Insight, the Power of Self-Awareness in a Self-deluded World.

Eurich, who is a psychologist and business consultant, describes self-awareness as “the meta-skill of the 21st century.” Mulally tells her “Throughout my career and my life, there has been one essential truth: the biggest opportunity for improvement – in business, at home, and in life – is awareness.”

Not knowing ourselves can lead us to make bad career decisions, to be overconfident, and to miss learning opportunities. Self awareness, by contrast, shows us our true motives, how we can improve, gives us the chance to address or own up to our weaknesses, and ultimately it makes us better decision makers, colleagues, and leaders (not to mention friends and companions). Unfortunately, without making the effort to become self-aware, most of us are vulnerable to self ignorance, both in terms of what we know about ourselves and how other people see us.

Consider a study of thousands of professionals from various fields. When researchers compared their self-assessments with their actual performance, there was little correlation. What’s more, those of us who are least competent or capable are more likely to overestimate our knowledge or abilities in that area, a phenomenon dubbed the Dunning-Kruger effect after the psychologists who discovered it (in one dramatic example, prisoners rated themselves as more kind and trustworthy than average).

And lack of self-insight, or at least a lack of motivation to become more aware, usually goes hand in hand with weaker performance, especially the higher you climb in your career. Writing at Forbes, Joseph Folkman describes his research on leaders and the seeking of feedback: among the mostly poorly ranked leaders, only 17 percent ask others for feedback, compared with 83 per cent of top-performing leaders.

How to become more self-aware

To learn more about ourselves, our strengths, weaknesses, motivations and fears, the obvious thing to do is to spend time deep in introspection or to keep a daily diary. But Eurich explains that these techniques don’t work, at least not the way that most of us do them. For example, research shows that people who spend too much time reflecting about the self tend to suffer more anxiety and poorer wellbeing (in part because it’s all too easy to slip into rumination, self blame and the search for absolute truths that simply don’t exist). And according to studies by Eurich and others, diary keepers are more self-reflective, but they don’t have any greater insight.

One reason is that people who like journaling often do it too frequently: experts on the emotional impact of writing, such as James Pennebaker, suggest doing it every few days, certainly not every day. And, says Eurich, it’s important to “explore the negative and not overthink the positive” – you should aim to turn confused perceptions of events into “a coherent meaningful narrative” and avoid squeezing the joy out of positive experiences by over analyzing them.

Another way to boost your insight is to ask yourself the Miracle Question (first described in Chip and Dan Heath’s book Switch): Imagine a miracle occurs tonight as you’re sleeping that ripples out and benefits many areas of your life, what might this miracle be? “Think for a moment” says Eurich, “… how is life going to be different now? Describe it in detail. What’s the first thing you’ll notice as you wake up in the morning?”. Eurich gives the example of Matt, a leader who saw all the benefits that would come from realizing that asking for help isn’t a weakness. His solution “wasn’t an oversimplified single action …” says Eurich. “Instead, he envisioned exactly how both he and his employers would change on a far deeper level.”

Also, try daily check-ins. Unlike journaling or diary keeping, these are short, focused responses in which you spend from just a few seconds up to a maximum of five minutes reflecting on how your day went, what worked, what didn’t and how you could do better tomorrow. Eurich cites research with call center workers that found those who performed this daily ritual boosted their performance by 23 percent on average.

Other tricks to self-awareness involve helping yourself see things from a different perspective. Eurich recommends a basic technique called “going to the balcony” (as named by negotiation expert William Ury), which you could also think of as like imagining you are a fly on the wall. Next time you are in an argument or a stressful situation, place yourself outside of it and see how things seem from that vantage point. Similar to this is “zoom in, zoom out” technique. Again, when you’re in the midst of a tricky encounter, zoom into your own perspective and the baggage you’re carrying – maybe you’re tired, stressed or worried about something – then zoom out to the other person’s perspective – ask yourself, what kind of day may they be having? What are they thinking and feeling?

Meanwhile, to find out more what others think of you, you could try the well-known 360-degree technique, in which each person in the team rates everyone else. Or if you’re feeling particularly bold, Eurich recommends the “dinner of truth” during which you ask the other person “the one thing that annoys them most about you.” This approach should be handled with care! Indeed, when it comes to seeking feedback from others, Eurich stresses that it’s important to seek the right kind of feedback from the right people – loving critics are ideal, people who have your best interests at heart, but who are also prepared to be honest.

But whomever you are seeking feedback from, especially if it is of a personal nature, brace yourself for unpleasant surprises – practicing a brief moment of self-affirmation can help with this, which means reminding yourself of your values and what matters to you in life. That way you’re more likely to take on the new information constructively rather than it stinging and making you resentful.

Ultimately, the path to self-insight is a process. It’s an approach to life rather than a chore to be performed over a weekend. “It can be long, difficult and messy,” says Eurich. But she promises that it will be worth it. “If we can get just a bit more mindful and self-aware each day, the sum total of these insights can be astonishing,” she says.

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Can You Spot The Penis On Bing’s Homepage? Microsoft Didn’t Notice Until It Was Too Late

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Question: if a penis is on the homepage of Bing, and no one visits to see it, does it actually exist? Answer: apparently, yes. In case you weren’t one of the 17 people who use Bing as their search engine of choice, you may not have known that there was a penis on Bing’s homepage today. Bing’s homepage features a photo of a spectacular locale on their homepage. Thursday’s exotic location was the stunning beach on Brač Island in Croatia. Some ballsy beachgoer pulled off the impressive dickmove by drawing a penis in the sand of a beach. The chode artist really puts some time into his sand art because the tallywacker is huge, just compare it to the beach chairs and towels. The aerial photo does make the penis hard to see. But the fine folks at Reddit can spot a dick from a mile away.

bing penis beach

Bing

ENHANCE.

bing penis beach

Bing

ENHANCE.

bing penis beach

Bing

ENHANCE.

Bing

Bing should start hiding dongs (Like these fine gentlemen do) on their homepage every single day to increase traffic.

Well, the peen has been removed and now Bing is dickless. Microsoft rubbed it out with photoshop, but it’s too late, the beach already has crabs.

[TheVerge]

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‘Leftist’ Meltdowns Continue: Therapists Report Huge Spike In Patients Suffering From “President Trump Stress Disorder”

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Authored by Daniel Lang via SHTFplan.com,

There’s only one thing that has been constant throughout the duration of Trump’s presidency, and that is the reaction of the people who oppose him.

Time after time the Left has responded to Trump’s actions and words with unfettered fear, paranoia, and highly publicized meltdowns. His mere presence in the White House seems to leave them hyperventilating, sobbing, and lashing out at anyone dares to support him, or even refuses to denounce him.

Believe it or not, the emotional vulnerability of these people hasn’t improved since he took office earlier this year. The New York Daily News recently interviewed several doctors and therapists around the country, and found that they’ve seen a huge spike in patients who have been freaking out about President Trump. Apparently, these medical professionals are referring to their anxiety as “President Trump Stress Disorder.”

Therapists report that their practices are more robust than ever. Deborah Cooper, a California-based therapist said she can hardly accommodate all of her patients. “I have people I have not seen in literally 30 years that have called me to come back in because of trauma,” she said. “I am more than full. I am overworking.”

 

She cited Trump’s lackluster condemnation of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville as one in a string of anxiety-inducing events that are “coming too fast and furious” for her patients — and her practice — to handle.

 

Clinical psychologist Scott Christnelly said President Trump’s remarks Tuesday serve as confirmation that his patients’ anxiety is well founded. “This is more evidence they should be anxious. There is evidence the anxiety is real, and it’s not just something they are making up,” he said.

The question isn’t whether their pain is real or not. It’s clearly real. It’s a matter of whether or not it’s justified. When Obama was in office, we didn’t see countless conservatives breaking down mentally and losing the ability to function, despite the fact that they were probably just as outraged with Obama as the Left has been with Trump. But what we’re seeing on the Left is an epidemic of mental distress since Trump took office.

“I don’t think I have a patient that has never mentioned it. It’s remarkable,” said Sue Elias, a New York-based psychotherapist.

 

Elias described a patient raised in a dysfunctional, alcoholic household whose past traumas have been brought to the surface by Trump. Her worries and fears now interfere with her day-to-day functioning.

 

“This is so triggering for her, the feeling of every day, what is going to happen next,” Elias said. “It has interfered with her work and she is really struggling…”

 

Talkspace, an online therapy service, also reported three times more traffic than usual in January. Demand for its services remains about one and a half times higher than usual, its founder and CEO Oren Frank told the Daily News.

The article then goes on to give five recommendations from these therapists, for people who are having trouble coping with Trump. They include unplugging from the 24 hour news cycle, getting involved in organizations and political movements they support so that they don’t feel so helpless, exercising, and trying to understand Trump supporters rather than vilifying them. And if all else fails, they recommend therapy.

So in other words, the solution these therapists provided to Leftists who are losing their minds over Trump amount to the following: Get a life, get off your ass, and stop being so close-minded.

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These Stickers Tell You If Your Kid Has a Fever So You Don’t Have to Wake Them 

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Photo: Fever-Bugz

There have been several times when my husband and I have hovered over my four-year-old daughter while she was asleep, touching her forehead in confusion. “Does she feel hot? I think she feels hot.” “No, she’s probably just warm from all the blankets.” “No, feel her—she’s really warm. Should we wake her up and take her temperature?” “No, just leave her alone.” “Okay, I’m just gonna stand here and see.” (Yes, she is the first and only child. How did you know?)

Ear and forehead thermometers are great, but you don’t always have one on hand, especially when traveling. CNN host Lisa Ling posted her solution on Facebook. While on vacation, she used Fever-Bugz Stick-On Fever Indicators to monitor her daughter’s temperature.

The stickers can monitor a kid’s temperature for up to 48 hours, even during baths. Little numbers on them light up to indicate the readings, which are accurate within 1 degree Fahrenheit. Parents get some peace of mind, and kids get a cool giant bug (or butterfly or worm) on their forehead.

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