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Sports Performance Training Behavioral Assessment

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Guardian-Parent Release Form

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Sports Performance Training History

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Child History

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Adult History

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Notice of Privacy Practices

Vision Park Family Eye Care 2699 86th St   Urbandale, IA, 50322 (515) 270-2490   www.vision-park.com Michele Reeves, Privacy Official

 

IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE FEDERAL REGULATIONS OF HIPAA’S PRIVACY RULE, THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN OBTAIN ACCESS TO IT.  PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY

We respect our legal obligation to keep health information that might identify you private.  We are obligated by law to provide you with notice of our privacy practices.  This notice describes how we protect your health information and what rights you have regarding it. TREATMENT, PAYMENT, AND HEALTH CARE OPERATIONS The most common reasons we would use or disclose your health information is for treatment, payment, or business operations.  We routinely use and disclose your medical information within the office on a daily basis.  We do not need specific permission to use or disclose your medical information in the following matters, although you have the right to request that we do not. Examples of how we might use or disclose health information for treatment purposes might include:

Setting up or changing appointments including leaving messages with those at your home or office who may answer the phone or leaving messages on answering machines, voice mails or emails; calling your name out in a reception room environment; prescribing glasses, contact lenses, or medications as well as relaying this information to suppliers by phone, fax or other electronic means including initial prescriptions and requests from suppliers for refills; notifying you that your ophthalmic goods are ready, including leaving messages with those at your home or office who may answer the phone, or leaving messages on answering machines, voice mails or emails; referring you to another doctor for care not provided by this office; obtaining copies of health information from doctors you have seen before us; discussing your care with you directly or with family or friends you have inferred or agreed may listen to information about your health; sending you postcards or letters or leaving messages with those at your home who may answer the phone or on answering machines, voice mails or emails reminding you it is time for continued care; at your request, we can provide you with a copy of your medical records via email transmission

Examples of how we might use or disclose health information for payment purposes might include:

Asking you about your vision or medical insurance plans or other sources of payment; preparing and sending bills to your insurance provider or to you; providing any information required by third party payers in order to insure payment for services rendered to you; sending notices of payment due on your account to the person designated as responsible party or head of household on your account with fee explanations that could include procedures performed and for what diagnosis: collecting unpaid balances either ourselves or through a collection agency, attorney, or district attorney’s office

Examples of how we might use or disclose health information for business operations might include:

Financial or billing audits; internal quality assurance programs; participation in managed care plans; defense of legal matters; business planning; certain research functions; informing you of products or services offered by our office; compliance with local, state, or federal government agencies request for information; oversight activities such as licensing of our doctors; Medicare or Medicaid audits; providing information regarding your vision status to the Department of Public Safety, a school nurse, or agency qualifying for disability status

USES AND DISCLOSURES FOR OTHER REASONS NOT NEEDING PERMISSION In some other limited situations, the law allows us to use or disclose your medical information without your specific permission.  Most of these situations will never apply to you but they could.
  • When a state or federal law mandates that certain health information be reported for a specific purpose
  • For public health reasons, such as reporting of a contagious disease, investigations or surveillance, and notices to and from the federal Food and Drug Administration regarding drugs or medical devices
  • Disclosures to government or law authorities about victims of suspected abuse, neglect, domestic violence, or when someone is or suspected to be a victim of a crime
  • Disclosures for judicial and administrative proceedings, such as in response to subpoenas or orders of courts or administrative hearings
  • Disclosures to a medical examiner to identify a deceased person or determine cause of death or to funeral directors to aid in burial
  • Disclosures to organizations that handle organ or tissue donations
  • Uses or disclosures for health related research
  • Uses or disclosures to prevent a serious threat to health or safety of an individual or individuals
  • Uses or disclosures to aid military purposes or lawful national intelligence activities
  • Disclosures of de-identified information
  • Disclosures related to a workman’s compensation claim
  • Disclosures of a “limited data set” for research, public health, or health care operations
  • Incidental disclosures that are an unavoidable by-product of permitted uses and disclosures
  • Disclosure of information needed in completing form from a school related vision screening, information to the Department of Public Safety, information related to certification for occupational or recreational licenses such as pilots license.
  • Disclosures to business associates who perform health care operations for Vision Park and who commit to respect the privacy of your information
  • Unless you object, disclosure of relevant information to family members or friends who are helping you with your care or by their allowed presence cause us to assume you approve their exposure to relevant information about your health
USES OR DISCLOSURES TO PATIENT REPRESENTATIVES It is the policy of Vision Park for our staff to take phone calls from individuals on a patients behalf requesting information about making or changing an appointment; the status of eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other optical goods ordered by or for the patient.  Vision Park staff will also assist individuals on a patient’s behalf in the delivery of eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other optical goods.  During a telephone or in person contact, every effort will be made to limit the encounter to only the specifics needed to complete the transaction required.  No information about the patient’s vision or health status may be disclosed without proper patient consent.  Vision Park staff and doctors will also infer that if you allow another person in an examination room, treatment room, dispensary, or any business area within the office with you while testing is performed or discussions held about your vision or health care or your account that you consent to the presence of that individual. OTHER USES AND DISCLOSURES We will not make any other uses or disclosures of your health information unless you sign a written Authorization for Release of Identifying Health Information.  The content of this authorization is determined by federal law.  The request for signing an authorization may be initiated by Vision Park or by you as the patient.  We will comply with your request if it is applicable to the federal policies regarding authorizations.  If we ask you to sign an authorization, you may decline to do so.  If you do not sign the authorization, we may not use or disclose the information we intended to use.  If you do elect to sign the authorization, you may revoke it at any time.  Revocation requests must be made in writing to the Privacy Officer named at the beginning of this Notice. YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION The law gives you many rights regarding your personal health information. You may ask us to restrict our uses and disclosures for purposes of treatment (except in emergency care), payment, or business operations.  This request must be made in writing to Privacy Officer named at the beginning of this Notice.  We do not have to agree to your request, but if we agree, must honor the restrictions you ask for. You may ask us to communicate with you in a confidential manner.  Examples might be only contacting you by telephone at your home or using some special email address.  We will accommodate these requests if they are reasonable and if you agree to pay any additional cost, if any, incurred in accommodating your request.  Requests for special communication requests must be made to the Privacy Officer named at the beginning of this Notice. You may ask to review or get copies of your health information.  There are a very few limited situations in which we may refuse your access to your health information.  For the most part we are happy to provide you with the opportunity to either review or obtain a copy of your medical information.  All requests for review or copy of medical information must be made in writing to the Privacy Officer named at the beginning of this Notice. While we usually respond to these requests in just a day or so, by law we have fifteen (15) days to respond to your request.  We may request an additional thirty (30) day extension in certain situations. You may ask us to amend or change your health care information if you think it is incorrect or incomplete.  If we agree, we will make the amendment to your medical record within thirty (30) days of your written request for change sent to the Privacy Officer named at the beginning of this Notice.  We will then send the corrected information to you or any other individual you feel needs a copy of the corrected information.  If we do not agree, you will be notified in writing of our decision.  You may then write a statement of your position and we will include it in your medical record along with any rebuttal statement we may wish to include. You may request a list of any non-routine disclosures of your health information that we might have made within the past six (6) years (or a shorter period if you wish).  Routine disclosures would include those used your treatment, payment, and business operations of Vision Park.  These routine disclosures will not be included in your list of disclosures.  You are entitled to one such list per year without charge.  If you want more frequent lists, you must pay for them in advance at a fee of $35.00 per list.  We will usually respond to your written request (made to the Privacy Officer named at the beginning of this Notice) within thirty (30) days but we are allowed one thirty (30) day extension if we need the time to complete your request. You may obtain additional copies of this Notice of Privacy Practices from our business office or online at our website address shown at the beginning of this Notice. CHANGING OUR NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES By law, we must abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices until we choose to substantially change the Notice.  We reserve the right to change this Notice at any time.  If we change this Notice, the new privacy practices will apply to your existing health information as well as any additional information generated in the future.  If we change this Notice, we will post a new Notice in our office and on our website. COMPLAINTS If you think that anyone at Vision Park has not respected the privacy of your health information, you are free to complain to the Privacy Officer named at the beginning of this Notice.  We are more than happy to try to resolve any concern you may have in writing.  If we cannot resolve your concern at that level, you may also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights or the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.  We will not retaliate against you if you make such a complaint.

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Vision Therapy

shutterstock 1018072846Many visual skills affect the ability to read, process and understand information. Studies show that deficiencies in these areas can lead to a significant handicap in learning. Visual skills that can be improved with vision therapy include: Tracking: Moving the eyes smoothly across a printed page or while following a moving object and being able to quickly and accurately locate & inspect a series of stationary objects. Focusing: The ability to sustain clarity at the near point as well as looking quickly from far to near and back without blur. Eye Teaming or Binocularity: Pointing both eyes at the same place at the same time and moving them together as a team - smoothly, equally and accurately. vision therapy 2Depth Perception: Quickly and accurately judging the distance and speeds of objects - such as catching a fly ball in baseball. Eye / Hand / Body Coordination: How the hand, feet & body respond to visual information. Visual Perception: Understanding what is seen and integrating vision with the other senses. Problems with any of these skills may result in putting forth excessive effort with inconsistent results, reducing attention, comprehension, and general school or sports performance. Vision Therapy improves and/or enhances these skills.

DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE A LEARNING RELATED VISION PROBLEM?shutterstock 1540561286

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  • Child becomes easily distracted
  • Avoids near tasks
  • Poor self-image
  • Low comprehension
  • Poor concentration
  • Fails to complete assignments
  • Frustrated with school
  • Exaggerated head movements
  • Loses place and skips lines
  • Very close reading distance
  • Rapidly fatigues when reading
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  • Closing or covering one eye while reading
  • Turning or tilting of head while reading
  • Blur
  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Eye strain
  • Rubbing of the eyes
  • Re-reading words or paragraphs
  • Word or letter reversals
  • Misjudgements of distance, size and location in sports and play
[/column][/row] As a child’s eyes develop, it is not uncommon for a number of problems to occur. Beyond blurred vision due to refractive error including nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia), children can develop a number of other visual and perceptual problems that are often not detected by a simple vision exam. Even a child with 20/20 vision, can have underlying vision problems!

AMBLYOPIA AND/OR STRABISMUS

Very poor visual skills may result in a lazy or wandering eye.
AMBLYOPIA (LAZY EYE)
The clarity of central vision in one or both eyes is poor in spite of the best lens correction. Treatment varies depending on the extent of the condition and the patient's age. Historically patching the stronger eye to stimulate the weaker eye has been prescribed, but new research now shows that improving the eye teaming skills while stimulating the weaker eye ensures more permanent results.
STRABISMUS (EYE TURN)
An extreme problem in eye teaming when the two eyes do not line up and work together. It may be a constant condition or only occur at specific distances or during certain activities. Strabismus is seldom caused by weak eye muscles. It is usually due to faulty control of the eye muscles. Vision Therapy, corrective lenses, and surgery are treatment options. It is never to late to treat Amblyopia and Strabismus, many adults have benefitted from vision therapy to improve their vision skills.

SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN

special needs childrenVision development is often delayed in children on the autism spectrum or with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), cerebral palsy and attention deficit disorder (ADD). The symptoms of ADD/ADHD and vision problems are very similar. In order to determine which symptoms are attributable to each condition, a functional vision evaluation should be performed and the vision problems must be eliminated. Vision therapy, glasses or both help children build their visually integrated sensory skills for better learning and function in day to day activities.  

VISION THERAPY SUCCESS STORIES

success"Kelly now reads phrases rather than hesitating with each word. This improved flow and speed helps her comprehension. Her progress will make up for the time invested many times over in the future."- Kelly's teacher "I am grateful to Vision Park for giving Matthew a future. After six months of visual therapy, he is much more confident. It was a joy to hear him say, 'Let's go to the library!'"- Matthew's mother "Before vision therapy, Nikolaus couldn't judge the distance of baseballs in little league. After two sessions, he could hit the ball better and that really excited him. He has also jumped to a higher reading level at school."- Nikolaus' mother

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Sports Vision

You Can’t Hit What You Can’t See

You Can’t Hit What You Can’t See

Our comprehensive sports vision evaluation will test performance in vision skills and provide you with a detailed performance profile. Upon completion of the work-up, you may enroll in a weekly training program which is uniquely tailored to enhance visual-motor performance in your particular sport. The visual skills assessed include:

  • Visual Clarity
  • Contrast Sensitivity
  • Depth Perception
  • Ocular Motility
  • Focus Flexibility
  • Visual Reaction Time
  • Central Peripheral Awareness
  • Eye-Hand-Body Coordination
  • Visual Adjustability
  • Near-Far Quickness
  • Eye-Foot Reaction Speed
  • Perceptual Scan
  • Multiple Object Tracking
  • Reaction Time
  • Go/No Go Reaction Time

What is Sports Vision Training?

Sports Vision Training works to increase and en-hance an athlete’s ability to fixate, follow, track, and increase reaction time to make them more competitive in their specific sport. If an athlete is stepping up their physical training but wants to step up to the next level, Sports Vision Training can improve the visual processing necessary for excellence in their sport.

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Customized For You

80% of what we learn comes from the visual system and is higher for competitive athletes. We depend on quick visual processing skills to be able to react, especially when we are fatigued at the end of a game. We tailor the training to the particular sport and position played to enhance the visual skills that are necessary for peak performance as well as the athlete’s individual goals.

How can Sports Vision Training benefit me?

Sports Vision Training can benefit athletes of ALL levels including professionals, college, high school, grade school and those who participate recreationally. Sports vision training can help with:

  • A better read on the green while putting or following the ball after a swing
  • Increased batting average or judgment of pop flies in softball or baseball
  • A better read on the tennis ball and quicker reaction time
  • A quicker reaction to that 5-hole at the goalie’s knees and tracking the fast moving puck to know when to shoot
  • The ability to see more openings when running the football down the field and identify openings in the periphery
  • Seeing where your hitters are to set the ball properly and find the perfect spot to hit the volleyball
  • Increased visual attention in soccer be-tween peripherally watching other players while dribbling with your feet
  • Good decision making on when to pass or shoot, or blocking out peripheral distractions when making an important free throw in basketball

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Technology Used by Professional Teams

Vision Park Family Eye Care uses the same training instruments used by NFL, MLB, NHL, and many NCAA teams. These include the Senaptec Sensory Training System, along with QuickBoard, Fit Lights, and sensory strobe glasses. Some professional athletes who have used Sports Vision Training as a part of their training regimen were baseball greats Alex Rodriguez and Wade Boggs, LPGA golfer Val Skinner, and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman.

Patient Center

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ONLINE FORMS

For your convenience, please print and complete the form(s) and bring with you to your appointment. Adult Health History Form Child Health History Form Sports Performance Training History Form Sports Performance Training Behavioral Assessment Guardian-Parent Release Form

PAYMENT OPTIONS

We accept the following payment methods:
  • Cash
  • Check
  • Visa, MasterCard, and Discover
  • Flexible Spending Plans
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
  • Care Credit

Insurance Accepted

Our practice accepts most insurance plans. Coverage may vary from one plan to the next. Please call our office to verify your benefits before your visit.

APPOINTMENT REQUEST

Please review our office hours before requesting your appointment time. We will contact you within 24 hours to confirm your appointment. If you have not heard from us in that time, please call our office. Please note that your appointment time is not finalized until we have confirmed with you. [button href='/contact-us/appointment-request-form/']Request Now[/button]

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Our secure, online personal health record. revolutionphr

How to Cope with Low Vision

adjusting the lighting can help with low vision Reduced vision is defined as vision that can not be corrected completely using either contact lenses, eyeglasses, or surgery, and is blurry (at the level of at least 20/70), or  limited in its view field. Low vision is sometimes caused by injury to the eye or brain, and it can be inherited. However the main cause of low vision is eye disease, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration. If you have low vision you have some sight. However completing normal activities, including driving and reading, can be hard or even impossible. Low vision is a condition that the elderly suffer from, although it is possible for children and middle-aged patients to have low vision. After a life of seeing normally, losing your vision can be hard, or even traumatic, and can potentially lead to frustration, or even depression.

Low Vision, Working and Independence

What is especially hard about low vision is that many people are unable to work, and lose their existing jobs. In 2010 the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey  showed that the employment rate for Americans with low vision was 24 percent. If you have low vision, you probably feel disconnected from the rest of the world. With low vision, it’s hard to read, see images on television or a computer screen, and impossible to drive. You may not be able to be independant and run your own errands, shop for food, or visit friends and family. Sometimes people with a vision impairment suffer with this burden alone, while others must rely completely on friends and relatives on a daily basis. There are many devices and ways to manage low vision, which can help people suffering with low vision to continue leading productive and independent lives. Some of the devices that can help make the most out of remaining vision are magnifiers, both handheld and mounted on eyeglasses, and telescopes.

Symptoms of Low Vision

Signs that it is time to see an eye doctor include loss of peripheral vision, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, night blindness, needing more light to see, spots or floaters, and reading difficulty. This symptoms could indicate that a cataract is beginning in your eye. Or these problems could be signs of an eye condition such as glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, or macular degeneration. Make sure to see your eye doctor before any eye condition becomes so serious that vision loss occurs. If it’s not possible to correct your vision loss with surgery, medical treatment, or eyewear, your eye doctor will send you to a specialist in low vision care. A low vision specialist, who is usually an optometrist, will evaluate your vision loss. Once he or she determines the type and degree of vision loss you are suffering from, this specialist can create a treatment plan including low vision aids, and guidance in using devices that help you to live with vision loss. Additionally, a low vision specialist has knowledge of many different types of aids for low vision, including large-print and audio books, specially-designed lights, and signature guides that are used to sign checks and other documents. Sometimes eye care professionals that are treating vision loss recommend counseling to help their patients learn to live with the changes that low vision brings.

Low Vision Aids for Computer Users

Concerned Business Man at Desk with Computer Low vision is a condition, often caused by a number of eye diseases which damage parts of the eye, in which individuals have significantly reduced vision. Individuals with low vision have some sight, but usually it is not sufficient to get by in daily life without some assistance. Often they are not able to read, drive, cook or work on a computer without a visual aid. Today there are many low vision aids available on the market to help those with low vision to function independently in performing daily tasks. Computer use is one activity that often requires assistance and the good news is the technology to aid computer users with low vision is always improving. Here are some devices and programs on the market to help:

Text Magnifying:

There are a number of ways to enlarge the text on your computer screen in addition to handheld magnifiers. Via Your Computer Operating System: Both newer generation Windows and Mac operating systems have screen magnifiers built in. These do not have as many capabilities as purchased screen reader programs but for many with mild low vision, they may be sufficient. Via Browser: When using the Internet most browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer) allow you to change the size of the page or text on the screen to suit your needs. To enlarge the text on a PC simply hold down the Control (“Ctrl”) key on your keyboard and either tap the “+” key or roll the wheel on your mouse. To reduce the size tap the “-” key or turn the mouse wheel in the opposite direction. On a MAC, you press command and shift at the same time along with the “+” or “-” keys. Additionally, the browser might have a drop down option under the “view” tab that allows you to Zoom the screen in or out or make the text larger or smaller. Keep in mind that if you are using a larger higher quality screen, this will enable you to see bigger and more clearly as well. Screen magnification programs: there are a number of free and paid software programs that will enlarge the text, picture and images on your computer screen.

Screen Readers and Text to Speech Programs:

There are a number of programs that enable you to “read” what is on the computer without needing to see it - these are designed for people that are totally blind as well. These programs work by scanning the text and icons on a page and converting it to speech which is read aloud. Some of these programs also have a cursor on the page that moves along with the voice. Up to date Microsoft and Apple operating systems do have simple, built in screen readers but they may be limited. The Chrome browser and Android devices do as well. Nevertheless depending on your abilities, you may prefer to purchase a program with more comprehensive options and usability. If you are looking for something simpler, text-to-speech programs exist in which you select a portion of the text you want to read and the program reads it for you.

Screen Contrast

Adjusting your screen to the highest contrast will enable the letters and images on the monitor to stand out. Font should be adjusted to achieve a dark text on a light background. Further it is advisable to reduce glare as much as possible. This may require adjusting window shades and indoor lights or even purchasing an anti-glare screen to reduce glare that can’t be eliminated.

Hardware

You can purchase special keyboards, mice and monitor magnifiers made specifically to enhance usability for those with low vision. Purchasing a large LCD screen for your monitor will also help to enhance visibility. Computers can be a window to open our world to information, connections, work and play. Individuals with low vision can access all of this as well with the assistance of specialized software, devices and programs using the strengths and senses that they do possess. Ask your eye doctor for more information about how we can help.

Eye Condition Treatment

Happy Parents with Child, do they need eye condition treatment? Eye problems can range from mild to severe; some are chronic, while others may resolve on their own, never to appear again. The articles below will give you a basic understanding of some of these problems and their implications. The cardinal rule is if your eyes don't look good, feel good or see well, you should visit your doctor. The following is a short list of common eye conditions we treat, such as astigmatism, dry eye syndrome and presbyopia. For information about cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy please see Eye Disease Management. A more comprehensive list of eye conditions can be found in our Eye Health Library. Please book an appointment with our eye doctor if you have any concerns.

What to Expect

Person wearing glasses reading before an eye doctor's appointment

Preparing for Your Eye Exam

During your eye examination, be prepared to talk about any changes in your medical history since the last time you saw your eye doctor. If this is your first time in our practice, you’ll be asked to provide a more complete medical history, including a list of medications you’re currently taking, and any vision problems your parents may have experienced. You will also wanto to bring your current glasses and contact lenses. We use the most up-to-date technology to help determine the overall health and quality of your vision. We test to see if your current prescription glasses or contacts (if you have one) is still meeting your vision needs. Your optometrist will also check your eyes for signs of any potential vision problems or eye diseases. In many instances, your pupil may be dilated (opened) using special drops so that your eye doctor can better see the structures of the eye. Our doctors will review with you the current state of your eye health and vision, and your eye doctor may “prescribe” vision correction for you in the form of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Any health concerns or possibly serious vision complications will also be discussed, including the next steps you must take to preserve and protect your sight.

How Long Is a Comprehensive Eye Health Examination?

In general, a routine eye exam will last less than an hour depending upon the number of tests you have, and may be partially or completely covered by many vision or medical insurance plans. Visiting eye doctors as a result of a vision screening is also common. However, vision screenings offered by health clinics, pediatricians, public schools or local charitable organizations are not a substitute for comprehensive eye exams. A screening only tests 6% of your total visual needs. Be sure to bring the findings from your screening to your eye doctor—it’s a great way to begin the discussion of your current eye health.

Emergency Eye Care

In addition to annual eye health exams, Vision Park provides emergency eye care for patients with red eyes, pain, loss of vision, flashes and floaters, and foreign objects in the eye. For eye doctor visits that result from eye pain, eye discomfort or vision problems you actually can see, expect to take many of the steps involved in a routine eye exam, but specific to the symptoms you’re having. There may be a number of additional tests required as well, so it’s important—especially when suffering pain or discomfort—to allow for as much time as possible for this examination. And if you feel you are in an emergency situation with your eyes or your vision—don’t wait. Seek immediate emergency medical treatment.

What to Remember For The Eye Doctor's Appointment

Many vision problems and eye diseases often present with minimal or even no symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to make regular appointments to see your eye doctor. And since vision can change gradually over time, it’s important to know that you’re seeing your best, year after year.

Remember the following for your next eye doctor visit:

  • Know your medical history and list of current medications
  • Know your current symptoms and be able to describe them—write them down if necessary
  • Know your family history—some eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts are hereditary
  • Ask in advance about your particular vision insurance plan, and if a co-pay will be due
  • Bring your insurance card, identification and method of payment, if necessary
  • Bring your most recent prescription for glasses or contact lenses
  • Bring your corrective eyewear to the exam
  • If undergoing a test using dilation eye drops, bring proper eye protection, like sunglasses, for after your appointment
 

Specialty Contact Lenses

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Contact Lenses for the Hard to Fit Patient

It is not uncommon for patients to have difficulty wearing contact lenses for a number of reasons. Due to the individual eye shape, certain conditions or impairments or the aftermath of surgery, some patients are considered to be “hard to fit” as contact lens wearers. For hard to fit patients that prefer to wear contact lenses however, there are options available that can provide comfortable and effective contact lens wear. This will require a specialized fitting with an eye doctor that is an expert that knows your condition and the various products available to find the right match for your specific condition.  You may be considered a hard to fit contact lens candidate if you have one of the following conditions:
  • Dry Eyes
  • Astigmatism
  • Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)
  • Keratoconus
  • Pellucid Marginal Degeneration
  • Post-LASIK or other refractive surgery
  • Presbyopia (reduced near vision common in individuals aged 40 and over).
  • Corneal Scarring

Dry Eyes and Contact Lenses

Dry Eye Syndrome causes your eyes to feel dry, gritty, burning, red, and irritated.  Dry Eye Syndrome can also cause blurred vision. Often these symptoms can sometimes worsen by the use of contacts. In fact, many people who do not normally suffer from chronic dry eyes, will experience some of these symptoms as a result of contact lens wear. First of all, if you have chronic dry eyes, you should see your eye doctor for treatment and relief before you think about contact lenses. Once your dry eyes are treated, it is safe to try contacts and there are a number of options that can be considered. Many brands of soft contacts and products such as disinfectant and cleansing solutions are made with ingredients that are designed to be more comfortable for individuals with dry eyes. Your eye doctor will be able to recommend some of these brands and products to you. Alternatively, gas permeable (GP) or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses are made with a hard material that in some cases does not dry out like soft lenses and they are able to hold a certain amount of moisture beneath the lens to keep the eye from drying out. Gas permeable lenses are a very good option and can be quite comfortable for individuals with dry eyes. Additionally, your doctor might recommend a specific wearing schedule such as limiting the time you wear your contacts throughout the day or replacing your contacts on a more frequent basis.

Toric Lenses for Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a condition that causes blurred vision (in some cases double vision) because rather than being round, the front of the eye (the cornea) has two curves instead of one, therefore, having two focal points instead of one. This makes it hard for traditional contact lenses to fit and therefore requires specialized contact lenses such as toric lenses or rigid gas permeable lenses (RGPs). Toric contact lenses are designed to correct astigmatism and custom made to fit the eye of the patient. Most are made of soft material designed to stay in place on the eye, however in some cases, when the rotation of the lens (due to blinking and eye movement) can’t be stopped, gas permeable lenses might be tried. Due to the customization and more complicated fitting process required for these lenses, they are more expensive and take more time for the contact lens laboratory to make than traditional lenses.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC) and Contact Lenses

GPC is a type of conjunctivitis in which the inner surface of the eyelid becomes swollen.  The condition can be caused or worsened by a buildup of protein deposits on contact lenses.  Your eye doctor may either recommend daily disposable lenses or RGP lenses (which are not water based) and therefore have less of a tendency for protein buildup.  Your doctor may also prescribe medicated eye drops and require you to stop the use of contact lenses until the symptoms improve.

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) or Gas Permeable (GP) Lenses

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) also known as Gas Permeable (GP) lenses are effective for many hard to fit patients.  The hard, oxygen permeable material lets the eye breathe and significantly reduces the chance of infection due to protein deposits which tend to harbor bacteria on soft lenses.  RGPs also hold moisture under the lens to keep eyes from drying out.

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses for Keratoconus

Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea thins and bulges forward into a cone shape.  Traditional contact lenses may cause some discomfort in these patients and the vision may still be blurry therefore RGPs are often used for treatment for mild, moderate, and some severe cases.  Rigid gas permeable lenses may help to slow down the cone shape from worsening in some cases. Further, RGPs are able to assist in vision correction for keratoconus which is often not possible with soft contacts or even eyeglasses.

Post-LASIK or Vision Correction (Refractive) Surgery

While LASIK surgery has a very high success rate, there are vision complications and symptoms that sometimes remain.  Night vision after LASIK, in particular, can sometimes give you side effects such as glare or halos around lights.  RGPs are often effective in helping with these side effects and restoring clear vision.

Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses for Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a common condition in those people usually over 40 years old in which the eyes’ ability to focus on close objects is impaired. Many people keep a pair of bifocal or multifocal glasses on hand for times when they have to read menus, newspapers, books, and other objects that require near vision.  For those that prefer contact lenses over eyeglasses, bifocal and multifocal contact lenses are an option. For some patients that have presbyopia and need correction for distance vision as well, one option is monovision.  Monovision is a contact lens fitting process in which you wear a contact lens in one eye for distance vision and the other contact lens of your other eye for near vision.  Another option is multifocal contact lenses.  In this contact lens fitting process, both eyes are usually fit for distance vision and both eyes are used for near at the same time.  Both contact lens fitting options usually take about one week for the brain and the eyes to adjust. If you have one of these conditions or find contact lens wear difficult for another reason, speak with your eye doctor. As technology improves there are more and more options for hard to fit contact lens patients to benefit from the comfort and convenience of contact lens use.

Contact Lens Exams

Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

Man smiling wearing contact lenses Contact lenses are a great alternative to wearing eyeglasses. An often unknown fact is that not all patients wear contact lenses as their primary source of vision correction. Each patient is different, with some patients wearing contact lenses only on weekends, special occasions or just for sports. That is the beauty of contact lens wear, the flexibility it gives each individual patient and their lifestyle. If you decide to opt for contact lens wear, it is very important that the lenses fit properly and comfortably and that you understand contact lens safety and hygiene. A contact lens exam will include both a comprehensive eye exam to check your overall eye health, your general vision prescription and then a contact lens consultation and measurement to determine the proper lens fit.

The Importance of a Comprehensive Eye Exam

Whether or not you have vision problems, it is important to have your eyes checked regularly to ensure they are healthy and that there are no signs of a developing eye condition. A comprehensive eye exam will check the general health of your eyes as well as the quality of your vision. During this exam the eye doctor will determine your prescription for eyeglasses, however this prescription alone is not sufficient for contact lenses. The doctor may also check for any eye health issues that could interfere with the comfort and success of contact lens wear.

Hard To Fit Contact Lens Patients

Even if you've been told you can't wear contact lenses, we may be able to help. Specialty contacts are available for patients with dry eyes, severe astigmatism and more.

The Contact Lens Consultation

The contact lens industry is always developing new innovations to make contacts more comfortable, convenient and accessible. Therefore, one of the initial steps in a contact lens consultation is to discuss with your eye doctor some lifestyle and health considerations that could impact the type of contacts that suit you best. Some of the options to consider are whether you would prefer daily disposables or monthly disposable lenses, as well as soft versus rigid gas permeable (GP) lenses. If you have any particular eye conditions, such as astigmatism or dry eye syndrome, your eye doctor might have specific recommendations for the right type or brand for your optimal comfort and vision needs. Now is the time to tell your eye doctor if you would like to consider colored contact lenses as well. If you are over 40 and experience problems seeing small print, for which you need bifocals to see close objects, your eye doctor may recommend multifocal lenses or a combination of multifocal and monovision lenses to correct your unique vision needs.

Contact Lens Fitting

One size does not fit all when it comes to contact lenses. Your eye doctor will need to take some measurements to properly fit your contact lenses. Contact lenses that do not fit properly could cause discomfort, blurry vision or even damage the eye. Here are some of the measurements your eye doctor will take for a contact lens fitting:

Corneal Curvature

In order to assure that the fitting curve of the lens properly fits the curve of your eye, your doctor will measure the curvature of the cornea or front surface of the eye. The curvature is measured with an instrument called a keratometer to determine the appropriate curve for your contact lenses. If you have astigmatism, the curvature of your cornea is not perfectly round and therefore a “toric” lens, which is designed specifically for an eye with astigmatism, would be fit to provide the best vision and lens fit. In certain cases your eye doctor may decide to measure your cornea in greater detail with a mapping of the corneal surface called corneal topography.

Pupil or Iris Size

Your eye doctor may measure the size of your pupil or your iris (the colored area of your eye) with an instrument called a biomicroscope or slit lamp or manually with a ruler or card. This measurement is especially important if you are considering specialized lenses such as Gas Permeable (GP) contacts.

Tear Film Evaluation

One of the most common problems affecting contact lens wear is dry eyes. If the lenses are not kept adequately hydrated and moist, they will become uncomfortable and your eyes will feel dry, irritated and itchy. Particularly if you have dry eye syndrome, your doctor will want to make sure that you have a sufficient tear film to keep the lenses moist and comfortable, otherwise, contact lenses may not be a suitable vision option. A tear film evaluation is performed by the doctor by putting a drop of liquid dye on your eye and then viewing your tears with a slit lamp or by placing a special strip of paper under the lid to absorb the tears to see how much moisture is produced. If your tear film is weak, your eye doctor may recommend certain types of contact lenses that are more successful in maintaining moisture.

Contact Lens Trial and Prescription

After deciding which pair of lenses could work best with your eyes, the eye doctor may have you try on a pair of lenses to confirm the fit and comfort before finalizing the prescription. If after the fitting, the lenses appear to be a good fit, your eye doctor will order the lenses for you. Your eye doctor will also provide care and hygiene instructions including how to insert and remove your lenses, how long to wear them and how to store them if relevant.

Follow-up

Your eye doctor may request that you schedule a follow-up appointment to check that your contact lenses are fitting properly and that your eyes are adjusting properly. If you are experiencing discomfort or dryness in your eyes you should visit your eye doctor as soon as possible. Your eye doctor may decide to try a different lens, a different contact lens disinfecting solution or to try an adjustment in your wearing schedule. Contact us today to schedule your contact lens exam and fitting.

Website Accessibility Policy

Our commitment and approach to maintaining an accessible website Our practice is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability.   We have made every effort to make our website accessible and easy to use by following the available standards and guidelines. Website standards Our website seeks to conform with Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.  In that regard, this website seeks to comply with Level AA and Level AAA compliance, as practicable. Accessibility features of this website
  • Screen readers - To assist our visitors who are visually impaired or blind, our website is compatible with screen reading software.
  • Code Compliance - This site was built using code compliant with W3C standards for HTML and CSS. Standards compliant code means that the site displays correctly in current browsers and ensures that it will display correctly in future browsers.
  • Text Alternative - With the exception of decorative imagery, all non-text content presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose.  Screen readers can then present this alternate information to the user in place of the image.
  • ARIA Landmarks - We use ARIA landmarks to identify regions of the page allowing those with screen readers to jump to different sections of the page.
  • Skip to Main Content - Our pages all contain a skip to main content link allowing users to jump directly to the page’s main content, avoiding the header content from being read aloud repeatedly.
  • Accessible Forms - Our forms have the proper markup to associate labels with their form controls making it easier for screen readers to present the form information to the user.
  • Headings and Lists - We use the proper markup for headings and lists, i.e. h1-h6 and ol, ul and dl for lists.  Heading markup will allow assistive technologies to present the heading status of text to a user. A screen reader can recognize the code and announce the text as a heading with its level, beep or provide some other auditory indicator. Some assistive technologies allow users to navigate from list to list or item to item.
  • CSS - We use CSS to control visual presentation of text.  This will allow users to modify, via the user agent, the visual characteristics of the text to meet their requirement. The text characteristics include aspects such as size, color, font family and relative placement.
  • Resizing Text - Text can be resized without assistive technology up to 200 percent without loss of content or functionality.
  • Raster Images - We avoid the use of text in raster images, this allows user agents to read aloud any text on the page and apply custom style sheets to make the text more legible.
  • Keyboard Interface - The site is designed with consideration for people unable to use a mouse. The website can be navigated using your computer's keyboard or by using other assistive devices.  All functionality of the content is operable through a keyboard interface without requiring specific timings for individual keystroked.  When all functionality of content can be operated through a keyboard or keyboard interface, it can be operated by those with no vision as well as by those who must use alternate keyboards or input devices that act as keyboard emulators like speech input software or on-screen keyboards.
  • Flashing Content - Web pages do not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period, or the flash is below the general flash and red flash thresholds.  These effects are known to cause seizures if the flashes are bright and large enough.
  • Page Titles - Our web pages have titles that describe topic or purpose.  Descriptive titles help users find content, orient themselves within it, and navigate through it. A descriptive title allows a user to easily identify what Web page they are using and to tell when the Web page has changed. The title can be used to identify the Web page without requiring users to read or interpret page content. Users can more quickly identify the content they need when accurate, descriptive titles appear in site maps or lists of search results. When descriptive titles are used within link text, they help users navigate more precisely to the content they are interested in.
  • Locating Content - More than one way is available to locate a Web page within a set of Web pages.  We provide breadcrumbs, and site maps.  This makes it possible for users to locate content in a manner that best meets their needs. Users may find one technique easier or more comprehensible to use than another.
  • Highlighting - The majority of our web site components allow for highlighting by the user agent when they receive focus.
  • Default Language - The default human language of each Web page can be programmatically determined. Speech synthesizers that support multiple languages will be able to orient and adapt to the pronunciation and syntax that are specific to the language of the page, speaking the text in the appropriate accent with proper pronunciation.
  • Component Focus - When any of our components receive focus, they do not initiate a change of context, i.e. forms submitted automatically when a component receives focus, new windows launched when a component receives focus.
  • Consistent Navigation - We have a consistent navigation across our web pages.  This technique makes the placement of navigational components more predictable.
  • Form Input Errors - In forms, if an input error is automatically detected, the item that is in error is identified and the error is described to the user in text.
  • Proper Coding - Elements have complete start and end tags, elements are nested according to their specifications, elements do not contain duplicate attributes, and any IDs are unique.   These errors that are known to cause problems for assistive technologies when they are trying to parse content which involve having opening and closing tags that are not used according to specification.
  • Portable Document Format (PDFs) - Some documents on this website are in PDF format. You need Adobe Acrobat to open these files. You can download Acrobat for free.  Download Adobe Acrobat.
Exceptions While we strive to adhere to the accepted guidelines and the highest standards for accessibility and usability, it is not always possible to do so in all areas of the website. Future Efforts We are currently working to achieve Level AA and Level AAA conformance to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, as practicable. How to send feedback on this website’s accessibility We welcome feedback on the accessibility of this website or if, for any reason, you are unable to access any part of this website, please contact us immediately. Email us at: [accessibility_email] Phone us at: [accessibility_phone] Write to us at: [accessibility_address]

Women’s Eyeglass Frames

Woman Trying on GlassesWomen’s eyeglasses have come a long way in the last few decades and in today’s eyewear market there is an abundance of options. With constant innovations in style, comfort, and quality, eyeglasses have become as much a fashion accessory as a medical device to improve vision. In addition to all of the optical companies creating eyeglass frames, many of the major designer fashion lines have come to incorporate eyewear into their portfolios as well. So, when it’s time for a new pair, where does a woman start? When you shop at an optical store, the optician is trained to help you select the right pair of frames. This decision should take into consideration your personal style, your lifestyle and your appearance. The right frame will look great with your complexion, coloring and face shape, feel comfortable and suit your needs in terms of flexibility, durability, cost and style. The best way to make the shopping process a success is to have some ideas of what you want before you go in. This will help the optician narrow down the options. Here are some questions to ask yourself in advance of your visit to the optician: 1) What shape eyewear looks good with my facial structure? If you currently have eyeglasses, do you want a similar shape? 2) What color eyewear compliments my complexion? What colors do I like? What colors are predominant in my wardrobe? 3) What style do I prefer? Modern or retro? Classic or contemporary? 4) Where do I wear my frames in general? To work, out on the town? 5) Do I play sports or engage in activities that would require durable glasses? 6) Do I have young kids that might pull my glasses off? 7) How much am I willing to spend on my eyeglasses? 8) Do I want to get coatings on my glasses (anti-scratch, anti-glare etc) or consider transition lenses that darken in the sun? Armed with this information, your optician will have a much easier time assisting you in finding the perfect pair. Once you have narrowed down the options, you want to make sure that the pair you choose fits well and will be comfortable for extended use. You don’t want to have any reason not to wear your new eyeglasses! Make sure the frames are the right width for your face - that they don’t slide off when you look down or press on your temples or behind your ears. The frames should be snug but not cause any pressure. Also pay attention to whether they fit comfortably across the bridge of the nose. Lastly, make sure that your eyes are completely within the frame where the lenses go so you are not looking over the top of the frame. If you can’t find one perfect pair, you can always consider buying a second pair. This way you can mix and match depending on your outfit and your mood.

Eyeglasses

checking lenses  The opticians of Vision Park are eager to help you with every aspect of selecting your glasses, from frame and lens selection to fitting and on-site repair. We will consider function, facial color and shape, occupation, lifestyle, lens designs, personal preferences and other factors to help you find the right eyewear. From single vision to bifocal or multifocal lenses, Vision Park fills each prescription accurately and at competitive pricing. Vision Park features a full line of eyewear that includes designer frames, sports and sun wear, diving and ski goggles, and accessories. New clients and all our current patients are welcome to visit our frame gallery with their current prescription - no appointment necessary.
  • Computer/Occupational Glasses
Adults and children spend hours daily on computers, cell phones, and tablets. This increased near demand can create excess eye strain and headaches, not to mention the toll that damaging blue light can create. Vision Park has many designs of computer/occupational lenses to improve comfort and visual efficiency while on computers and electronics.
  • Sunglasses
Sunglasses can make a great fashion statement, but their most important function is to provide protection against ultraviolet (UV) light. Sunglasses can be worn by anyone, from a young child without a prescription to a person who needs vision correction. Our staff at Vision Park can determine which lens color will work best for your hobbies, whether it is golf or baseball. We offer polarized lenses to aid with glare and enhance water sports like boating and fishing.
  • Prescription Eyeglasses
Vision Park uses lenses with the most up-to-date technologies to provide optimal visual performance and comfort., even for patients with high and difficult prescriptions. Our opticians will help determine which style of lens works best for your lifestyle, whether it's single vision, bifocal lenses or progressive addition lenses. We also offer Transitions® Lenses, the #1 brand of photochromic lenses recommended by eye care professionals worldwide.
  • Specialty Eyewear
Sports, water activities, and all types of recreation can be made more comfortable with proper eyewear. Vision Park offers polarized sunwear to provide the best contrast in sports. We have protective eyewear for raquetball, lacrosse, and baseball/softball, and are happy to provide prescription swim goggles and scuba masks.
    • Kid's Optical
    Vision Park carries a large selection of children's frames, even for infants and toddlers. Our opticians ensure that the frame custom fits each patient.

    Welcome to Vision Park Family Eye Care

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    Dash blk

    WELCOME TO VISION PARK FAMILY EYE CARE

    Since 1929, one of the greatest joys of our practice is helping people experience clearer, sharper vision. At Vision Park Family Eye Care, we see things differently…and you will too!

    Vision Park Family Eye Care proudly serves Central Iowa with quality eye care services and a friendly staff. Our doctors take great pride in offering the best vision care possible for your entire family.

    Vision Park Family Eye Care Proud Member of .ecp-gallery.ecp-instance-7BMqDiCjwT{grid-template-columns:1fr;}.ecp-breakpoint-medium .ecp-gallery.ecp-instance-7BMqDiCjwT{grid-template-columns:1fr;}.ecp-breakpoint-small .ecp-gallery.ecp-instance-7BMqDiCjwT{grid-template-columns:1fr;}.ecp-gallery.ecp-instance-7BMqDiCjwT .ecp-gallery-item-caption{align-items:flex-start;} .ecp-image.ecp-instance-DmoSn01H3X img{;;;;}.ecp-image.ecp-instance-DmoSn01H3X .ecp-image-overlay{;;;;;} smile woman dark green .ecp-heading.ecp-instance-2dcVGrLT64{font-size:28px;} What Our Patients Are Saying... .ecp-button.ecp-instance-eMGq68omtT{color:#ffffff!important;background-color:rgba(255,255,255,0.01);border-style:solid;border-color:#ffffff;border-width:1px;border-radius:0px;width:default;}.ecp-button.ecp-instance-eMGq68omtT:hover{color:!important;}.ecp-button.ecp-instance-eMGq68omtT .ecp-icon i{color:!important;fill:!important;}.ecp-button.ecp-instance-eMGq68omtT:hover .ecp-icon i{color:!important;fill:!important;} Read More Reviews .ecp-posts-wrapper.ecp-instance-hYf6S3mxKo{text-align:left;}.ecp-posts-wrapper.ecp-instance-hYf6S3mxKo .ecp-post-title *{font-size:1.15em;}.ecp-posts-wrapper.ecp-instance-hYf6S3mxKo .ecp-post-content{font-size:1.1em;}.ecp-posts-wrapper.ecp-posts-wrapper-testimonial.ecp-instance-hYf6S3mxKo .ecp-rating-star{color:!important;}.ecp-posts-wrapper.ecp-posts-wrapper-testimonial.ecp-instance-hYf6S3mxKo .ecp-post-attribute{text-align:default;}.ecp-posts-wrapper.ecp-instance-hYf6S3mxKo .ecp-post-address{font-size:1.1em;} 5

    Dr. Billings always does a great job…

    of explaining everything and is always fun to talk to! The staff at both offices are always extremely nice and very helpful.... - Danielle M. - Google Review West Des Moines Office - Jan. 2018 5

    Dr. Shepherd always does an amazing job.

    I appreciate her taking the time to get to know my kids and help them to see better. The staff did a great job as well, and the kids play room was a hit!... - Michelle S. - Google Review West Des Moines Office - Jan. 2018 5

    Dr. Billings and her staff are amazing.

    They have been treating us like family for over a decade. Always straightforward and honest. With Dr. Billings' guidance and Chelsea making sessions fun, our kiddo has also been benefiting from vision therapy. Reading is no longer a such struggle.... - Amy R. - Google Review West Des Moines Office - Jan. 2018 5

    I highly recommend this eye care office.

    My daughter received a very thorough, comprehensive evaluation to determine her vision issue. The doctor was very encouraging and sweet with her.... - Jennifer L. - Google Review Urbandale Office - April 2018 5

    Overall great experience.

    Fast, friendly and quality customer service. Overall great experience. I have been using this team for years and will continue to do so.... - Game M. - Google Review Urbandale Office - July 2018 5

    Highly recommend!

    This place is amazing! The staff and the doctors are prompt and give thorough care. Dr. Billings was extremely professional and very down to earth. She answered all my questions, gave great follow up, and got my vision on the right track. We had another emergency situation and they were... - Todd H. - Google Review Urbandale Office - June 2018

    Dash blk
    MEET OUR DOCTORS

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    Dr. Beth Triebel

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    Dr. Wendy Barhite Muller

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    Dr. Melissa Nemmers Billings

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    Dr. Bryan Larson

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    Sports Vision Training

    Have you ever wished you could improve your batting average, lower your golf score or just play your favorite sport better? If so, you are a lot like most sports participants. We all want to do better at the things we enjoy. Sharpening your vision skills is one way of improving your “game” and giving a “winning edge.”

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    Vision Therapy

    Many visual skills affect the ability to read, process and understand information. Studies show that deficiencies in these areas can lead to a significant handicap in learning.

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    Low Vision Specialist

    We provide devices that help people with low vision function by maximizing their remaining eyesight. This often involves the use of magnifiers (handheld, mounted or stand-alone), telescopes and other tools to enlarge the images of objects to make them more visible.

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    EYE HEALTH

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    Welcome to our New Website

    We invite you to take a look around our new site to get to know our practice and learn about eye and vision health. You will find a wealth of... Read More .ecp-heading.ecp-instance-bkAPFsTIui{font-size:28px;font-weight:400;}body.ecp-breakpoint-small .ecp-heading.ecp-instance-bkAPFsTIui{font-size:22px;} About Us

    At Vision Park Family Eyecare, each member of our vision care team is selected based upon his or her experience, professional demeanor, and dedication to providing personalized care to our optometry patients.

    Our entire optometry staff is committed to ensuring the comfort and satisfaction of each and every patient. We will do our best to accommodate your busy schedule by finding appointment times that meet your needs. Our knowledgeable staff at Vision Park Family Eyecare will work with you to help you understand your vision insurance coverage and provide financial alternatives to ensure you get the best vision care possible.

    Blue Light/High-Energy Visible (HEV) Light and Your Eyes

    According to recent studies, 60% of people spend as much as 6 hours a day in front of a digital device whether it is a computer, tablet, smartphone or other gadget. All of these devices emit blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light, which is a known cause of computer vision syndrome, sleep disruptions and possibly other potential dangers to the eyes.  Blue light radiation is also emitted from television screens, electronic devices. fluorescent and LED lighting and yes, even the sun.

    What is Blue Light?

    Emitted from the sun, blue light is naturally occurring in the world around us. On the spectrum of visible light (light that humans can see), blue light has the highest energy and the shortest wavelength. It is also sometimes known as blue-violet or violet light, which is where ultraviolet (UV) light rays that are just beyond our perception get their name.  Much like ultraviolet light, blue light has both dangers and benefits to our health, particularly to our eyes.

    What are the Potential Dangers of Blue Light?

    Research is still being done to determine the long-term effects of blue light or high-energy visible (HEV)  light emission, however it is known is that blue light is a cause of computer vision syndrome (CVS) and sleep disruptions.

    Eye Strain

    The high energy and shorter wavelengths of blue or HEV light emit a less consistent flow of light, creating a glare or flickering that can cause eye strain.  Because sharpness and visual contrast are affected by this, the eyes have to work harder to see clearly.  After extended periods of time this can result in headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and mental and physical fatigue.

    Sleep Disruptions

    Natural blue light in the atmosphere is known to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm (which controls your sleep cycles), to boost your mood and level of alertness and to improve memory and cognitive function. However, prolonged exposure to artificial sources of blue light has been shown to reverse these positive effects, causing disruptions in the circadian rhythm which affects sleep, as well as an increased risk of depression. Studies show that using a digital device before bedtime can negatively impact ther amount and quality of your sleep.

    Macular Degeneration

    Researchers at Harvard University have shown that over time, prolonged exposure to blue light can cause damage to the retina at the back of your eye, which may lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and possibly other serious health and vision problems. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss and low vision.

    How Can You Protect Yourself from Blue Light Emissions?

    As the dangers of blue light from digital devices emerge, more and more options are becoming available to protect your eyes. The eyes have very limited natural ability to block out blue light radiation so we need to be aware of blue light exposure and how to minimize it. Computer glasses with blue-blocking lenses, coatings and filters are a good solution for those working on a computer for long periods of time each day. You can also add anti-glare coatings with blue light protection to your regular eyeglass and sunglass lenses. Additionally, there are filters available for devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets, to reduce the amount of blue light radiation that can reach your eyes. The easiest way to reduce blue light exposure is to take frequent breaks when working on a computer and to reduce screen time overall.

    Dry Eyes

    shutterstock 1254943354 Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic condition that develops when your eyes do not produce and maintain enough tears to keep the eye’s surface lubricated resulting in multiple symptoms that range from person to person. This can be due to a reduction in tear production or increased tear evaporation from a lack of lipid in the tears that stem from oil glands in the eyelids. The effects can range from minor dryness and discomfort to pain, blurred vision and frequent infections.

    Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease

    Symptoms of dry eye syndrome can vary depending on the severity of the condition but can include:
    • Dry, itchy eyes
    • Burning or stinging
    • Irritation
    • Watery eyes
    • Blurred vision
    • Pain
    • Foreign body sensation
    The main function of tears is to maintain the health of the cornea of your eye by washing away foreign matter and ensuring that the surface of your eye remains moist, smooth and clear. Tears also rinse away dust particles from your eyes and contain enzymes that protect your eyes from bacteria that can cause infections. Dry eyes is a condition that develops when the amount of tears produced is not sufficient to maintain the moisture balance in your eye. This can result in that scratchy sensation, a continuous feeling of dryness, stinging and a sensation of a foreign body in your eye. Ironically in an effort to fight off the condition, dry eyes can cause you to produce excessive tears, which is why some people experience watery eyes.

    Causes of Dry Eye Disease

    Dry eyes can occur naturally as a result of aging or hormonal changes, typically in women who are pregnant, taking oral contraceptives or going through menopause. In fact, women over 50 have a 50% greater risk of dry eye disease than men do of the same age. It can also result from taking certain medications that reduce tear production such as antihistamines, blood pressure medications and antidepressants. Environmental factors can also play a role in drying out the eyes and DED is common in areas where the climate is dry, dusty and windy. Home air conditioners or heating systems and excessive time spent staring at a computer or television screen can also dry out eyes and exacerbate symptoms due to the lack of blinking while staring at our screens. Individuals that suffer from certain medical conditions such as diabetes, blepharitis, lupus, arthritis and thyroid problems are more vulnerable to developing DED. Other causes can be due to eye surgery including LASIK, certain conditions in which the eyelids don’t close properly or extended contact lens use.

    Diagnosis of Dry Eye Disease

    Typically, dry eye disease can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam and a description of your symptoms. On some occasions the eye doctor might decide to do a test that measures how quickly your tears evaporate from the surface of your eye. By instilling a simple dye called fluorescein (much like food coloring) the doctor is able to watch and count how long it takes the tears to start to break up after they’ve asked you to hold your eyes open after a blink. This is called TBUT or a Tear Break Up Time test. A low TBUT generally indicates a lipid (aka oil) deficiency in the tears resulting from oil glands in the eyelids not functioning properly. In another type of test, called a Schirmer test, a strip of filter paper is placed under the lid of the eye and you will be asked to close your eye for five minutes. Following the test the amount of moisture on the strip will be measured. Schirmer tests are performed less frequently than a TBUT test.

    Treatment for Dry Eyes

    There are many treatment options for dry eyes which are highly dependant upon the cause and severity of the condition. Many mild forms of DED can be alleviated using artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to make up for the lack of natural tears usually produced by your eyes. If over-the-counter drops don’t alleviate your symptoms, your doctor might prescribe prescription drops that actually stimulate tear production or steroids for short-term relief. More severe cases of dry eyes might be treated with a punctal insert which is a tiny insert containing a slow-release lubricating substance that is placed inside the lower eyelid. Since DED is often related to eyelid inflammation known as blepharitis your doctor may prescribe a heated hot compress mask, specialty eyelid scrubs and sometimes an antibiotic ointment. Finally, punctal plugs might be recommended for severe cases which would be inserted into the tear ducts to reduce the tear drainage in your eyes to keep them from drying out. In cases where discontinuation or switching to different medications is possible this can eradicate symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend that you limit or refrain from contact lens use for a certain amount of time or switch to a different brand or type of contact lens which will reduce dehydration.

    Preventing Dry Eyes

    If the cause of your dry eyes is something external or environmental, eliminating that cause may solve the problem and resolve the symptoms. Avoid dry environments, hair dryers, heaters and fans, (particularly directed toward the eyes) and smoky environments and wear eye protection such as wrap around glasses or goggles when in dusty or windy areas. Use a humidifier to add moisture to dry indoor air. If working on computer or watching television, make sure to blink purposefully as our natural tendency is to reduce our blink rate when staring at a screen. Also avoid rubbing your eyes as this can further irritate them. Staying hydrated by drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day can also help. Dry eye disease won't have a permanent effect on your vision, but there is no reason to endure dry, itchy and uncomfortable eyes, especially since there are so many treatment options to increase moisture and comfort. It’s also important to realize that this is a chronic disease that needs consistent treatment. Your doctor will work with you to create a long term strategy to keep your eyes as comfortable as possible.

    Presbyopia Treatment

    shutterstock 1236791935 As we reach middle age, particularly after age 40, it is common to start to experience difficulty with reading and performing other tasks that require near vision. This is because with age, the lens of our eye becomes increasingly inflexible, making it harder to focus on close objects. Unlike a true eye disease, this condition is so common, it eventually happens to almost everyone who reaches old age to some extent. It's called presbyopia. To avoid eyestrain, people with untreated presbyopia tend to hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm's length in order to focus properly. Trying to performing tasks at close range can sometimes cause headaches, eye strain or fatigue in individuals who have developed this condition.

    Causes of Presbyopia

    During our youth, the lens of our eye and the muscles that control it are flexible and soft, allowing us to focus on close objects and shift focus from close to distant objects without difficulty.  As the eye ages however, both the lens and the muscle fibers begin to harden, making near vision a greater challenge. Presbyopia is a natural result of the aging process and not much can be done to prevent it.  Its onset has nothing to do with whether you already have another vision impairment such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.  Everyone will notice some degree of loss of near vision focusing power as they age, although for some it will be more significant than others.

    Symptoms and Signs of Presbyopia

    Presbyopia is characterized by:
    • Difficulty focusing on small print
    • Blurred near vision
    • Experiencing eyestrain, fatigue or headaches when doing close work or reading
    • Needing to hold reading material or small objects at a distance to focus properly
    • Requiring brighter lighting when focusing on near objects
    Presbyopia can be diagnosed in a comprehensive eye exam.

    Treatment for Presbyopia

    There are a number of options available for treating presbyopia including corrective eyewear, contact lenses or surgery.

    Eyeglasses

    Reading glasses or “readers” are basically magnifying glasses that are worn when reading or doing close work that allow you focus on close objects. Eyeglasses with bifocal or multifocal lenses such as progressive addition lenses or PALs are a common solution for those with presbyopia that also have refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism). Bifocals have lenses with two lens prescriptions; one area (usually the upper portion) for distance vision and the second area for near vision. Progressive addition lenses or PALs similarly provide lens power for both near and distance vision but rather than being divided into two hemispheres, they are made with a gradual transition of lens powers for viewing at different distances.  Many individuals prefer PALs because unlike bifocals, they do not have a visible division line on the lens.

    Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses

    For individuals that prefer contact lenses to glasses, bifocal and multifocal lenses are also available in contact lenses in both soft and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) varieties. Multifocal contact lenses give you added freedom over glasses and they allow you to be able to view any direction - up, down and to the sides - with similar vision. People wearing progressive lenses in glasses on the other hand have to look over their glasses if they want to view upwards or into the distance. Another option for those who prefer contact lenses is monovision. Monovision splits your distance and near vision between your eyes, using your dominant eye for distance vision and your non-dominant  eye for near vision. Typically you will use single vision lenses in each eye however sometimes the dominant eye will use a single vision lens while a multifocal lens will be used in the other eye for intermediate and near vision. This is called modified monovision.  Your eye doctor will perform a test to determine which type of lens is best suited for each eye and optimal vision.

    Surgery

    There are surgical procedures also available for treatment of presbyopia including monovision LASIK eye surgery, conductive keratoplasty (CK), corneal inlays or onlays or a refractive lens exchange (RLE) which replaces the hardened lens in the eye with an intraocular lens (IOL) similar to cataract surgery. Since it affects so much of the older population, much research and development is going into creating more and better options for presbyopes. Speak to your eye doctor about the options that will work best for you.

    Kid’s Optical

    Little girl trying out glassesStuffed animal with glassesLittle boy in glasses

    Choosing Eyeglass Frames for Children

    According to statistics, approximately one out of five children need to wear glasses to see accurately. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get children to wear glasses for one of several reasons. Children can find glasses uncomfortable, “uncool” and unstylish, or too fragile for an active life. Fortunately, there are strong, comfortable, stylish frames now made for children. These glasses not only improve vision, but they look great. These are some of the things you should look for when buying eyeglass frames for your child:

    The right fit

    A comfortable, correct fit is essential for children’s glasses. The frames should not be too big or too small, too close to the cheekbone and not higher than the eyebrow. The frames should fit the face well, and not be wider than the face itself. In general, the smaller the frames the easier it is for a child to forget about them, and not mind wearing them. However, they need to be large enough so that your child can see easily in all directions. An eye specialist needs to help fit the glasses, because the middle of the glasses needs to be adjusted to directly correspond to the middle of the pupils of the eye. Even small fitting errors can lead to much less effective vision correction. Parents should resist any urge to buy glasses that are a bit large for their children to grow into. It’s also very important that the glasses fit properly on the bridge of the nose. Children have small noses and bridges, so the nose support of the glasses needs to fit very well, and be comfortable, with padding. If the glasses sit on pressure points, they will be very uncomfortable, and it’s unlikely your child will wear them. A new feature is gel-padding, that makes the nose bridge extra comfortable. With these features the glasses will be more comfortable to wear. Pay attention to the way the frames fit at the temples. They should fit comfortably, without pressure, and without being too loose. Spring hinges are very strong, and will ensure the frames have a long lifetime of wear. Eyeglasses fitted with sport temples are also an option. These temples are flexible, and are fitted for a child’s ear. Materials Frame materials for children’s glasses need to have three properties - be extremely strong, break resistant and light. The ideal frame will be made out of a flexible material that can be bent about without breaking.  For this reason eyeglass frames made of titanium are a good choice, as this material is light and strong. As for the lenses, polycarbonate lenses are more impact-resistant than other lenses, and are a good choice for children’s glasses.

    Sports Glasses

    Sports can be particularly challenging for children who need to wear glasses. Glasses tend to slip and slide with strong movements. Special sports glasses for children are available, that are made entirely out of plastic, with temples that don’t include hinges. These glasses include an elastic strap for the head that helps make sure the glasses stay in place.

    Include your child

    The most important part of choosing eyeglasses, is choosing them with your child. Include your child in the choice of glasses, among styles that are suitable. If your child likes the way the glasses look and feel, there is a much better chance that your child will actually wear them. When children wear their glasses they are more successful at everything that they do, both casual activities like sports and games, and learning activities at school.

    Eyeglass Frames

    Are you in the market or mood for a new pair of eyeglasses? The selection is vast, with many fashionable, attractive pairs of glasses to browse through. How can you narrow down your options and choose the style of frames that are best for you? Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Eyewear
    1. What’s my taste? Do I prefer a bold or subtle expression? Do I favor modern lines, a retro look or more conservative, classic styles?
    2. Where do I plan to wear these frames- at work, in the backyard, or for social outings?
    3. What colors work best with my skin and hair tones?
    4. What are the primary colors in my wardrobe?
    5. What’s the shape of my face?
    6. Do I like my current eyeglasses? If not, then what’s the problem?
    Bring this information to your optician when you pay a visit to the eyeglass store, and most of the work will already be done! Your optician, who is highly skilled and an expert in fitting your eyewear will be able to hone in quickly on the eyeglasses that are most suitable. How to Judge Fit and Comfort Research conducted by the eyewear industry indicates that women pay more attention to how eyeglasses appear on their face, while men are more interested in how they feel and fit. Yet even if looks are your primary concern, if your eyeglasses aren’t comfortable – you won’t be pleased for long. To judge the fit of frames when trying them on:
    •  Frames should be wide enough for your face and not too snug on sides of your head. The edges of your eyeglasses should extend beyond the sides of your face. This ensures that the temples won’t press in on your head as they rest on your ears.
    •  The curves at the end of each temple should go past your ear without pushing down on it. If they don’t, then the temples aren’t long enough.
    •  The built-in nose piece or silicone nose pads should fit comfortably and firmly, without pinching the bridge of your nose. Silicone nose pads can generally be adjusted.
    •  Your glasses should be able to stay in place when you move your head to and fro. Nod a few times, turn your head right and left, and bend over to touch the floor. Make sure that your glasses don’t slip off.
    Is One Pair of Eyeglasses Enough? Take a look at your closet. You likely own more than one pair of shoes, right? Unless you’re on a very tight budget, more than one pair of eyeglasses isn’t a luxury. Eyewear is a hip accessory, and the same pair may not be appropriate for all parts of your modern lifestyle. Just like your clothing, your eyeglass needs differ for home, work and social occasions. If owning a solitary pair is enough for you, then choose frames that you love and feel good about no matter what you’re wearing or where you go. These eyeglasses will be on your face constantly, so take your time and pick a style that fits your unique personality and vision requirements.

    Lens Options for Eyeglasses

    If you thought the trickiest part of choosing a new pair of glasses was the frame selection, think again.  You should be putting just as much thought and consideration into the lenses that you select for your new specs. Here’s why: The quality and type of lenses in your eyeglasses will not only correct your visual acuity, but they will allow you to continue to see your best through various conditions.  Whether it is keeping the lenses free from scratches, fog, glare or UV rays, or making them stronger or more attractive, your eyeglass lenses can help to keep your eyes safe and comfortable wherever the day (or night) takes you.

    Lens Coatings

    Here are a variety of coatings that you can apply to your lenses to maintain optimal vision and comfort and to protect your lenses and your eyes. Anti-reflective/Anti-glare Coatings Anti-reflective (AR) also known as anti-glare coatings help reduce the reflections and glare on your lenses, improving your vision and comfort in high-glare environments, and the look of your glasses as well (you can see your eyes clearly without a reflection on the front of the lens).  Reflections from the sun, television and computer screens and bright lights (especially when driving at night) can cause eye strain, headaches and difficulty seeing. AR coatings and lenses can reduce this effect, improving your vision quality and comfort in these circumstances. Scratch Resistant Coatings Scratches not only affect the smooth look of the surface of your glasses but they can disrupt your vision. A scratch-resistant coating adds an extra layer of protection on the surface of the lens to significantly reduce scratching. This coating is particularly great for kids who may tend to be a little more rough with their eyewear. Ultraviolet Coatings Ultraviolet (UV) coatings protect your eyes from harmful UV rays from the sun. This coating can turn standard lenses into UV blocking lenses that can block 100% of the UV light from entering your eyes. UV is linked to the development of a number of eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal damage. Anti-fog Coatings Particularly if you live in a cold climate, you may have experienced walking indoors from the cold and having your glasses lenses fog up completely. This can take a few minutes to resolve and can be dangerous if you are driving or need to see clearly.  Anti-fog coatings will eliminate this effect, creating a smooth transition from cold to hot environments.

    Lens Options

    You may want to go with an upgraded lens to improve the look, strength or functionality of your glasses. High Index Lenses High index lenses have a higher refractive index which means they reflect more light than standard prescription lenses.  What this means for you, the consumer, is that they can be made thinner and lighter than traditional lenses. High index lenses are particularly popular with those that need a high prescription as they are able to avoid thick lenses, adding comfort and a smoother look, but a higher price tag. Trivex or Polycarbonate Lenses  Trivex or polycarbonate lenses are impact resistant lenses - a fantastic choice for sports and safety eyewear as well as standard sunglasses and eyeglasses for active types or kids. These lenses also offer full UV protection and are lightweight for optimal comfort. Polychromatic Lenses Polychromatic lenses are made with special technology that turns them into sunglasses when exposed to sunlight.  The lenses darken automatically when you go outside and return to normal when you go back indoors. Polychromatic lenses can come in a number of tint colors and are great when you need prescription sunglasses but don’t want to carry around or pay for another pair. Aspheric Lenses Aspheric lenses use advanced technology to create a slimmer, flatter and lighter lens than standard prescription lenses. While aspheric lenses can improve the appearance of any prescription lens, they are especially beneficial for those who are farsighted since those lenses tend to bulge out in the middle. So the next time you are in the market for new eyeglasses, speak to your optometrist or optician about the best lens choices for your eyes, your vision and your lifestyle.

    Contact Lens Basics

    If you need vision correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, contact lenses are a popular and effective option. In the United States, approximately 20% of the population who requires vision correction wears contact lenses. Currently dating back more than 125 years, contacts are presently available in a wide variety of materials and types. As opposed to the situation years ago, nowadays almost everyone can wear contact lenses. Eyeglasses may be an attractive way to accessorize your outfit and make a fashion statement, yet you may sometimes prefer your appearance without glasses. Contact lenses allow you to have sharp vision without eyeglasses or costly vision surgery. Another benefit of contacts is that they grant a wider field of vision than glasses. This is a major advantage when it comes to playing sports or engaging in hobbies and professions such as photography. If you are considering wearing contact lenses, you’ll need to schedule an initial eye exam and contact lens evaluation with your eye doctor. In the United States, contacts are regarded as medical devices that require a prescription by an eye care professional (ECP). In order to determine the best lenses for you, your ECP will assess your visual condition, structure of your eye and natural tear production. Contact lenses are categorized depending upon the following factors:
    1. Material composition
    2. How long they can be worn before you have to take them out
    3. Life span- how long they can be used before you have to toss them and grab a new pair
    4. Design of the lenses
    Material Composition of Contact Lenses There are four different types of contact lens materials: Soft Lenses Over 90% of contact lenses on the market today are classified as soft lenses. These ultra-comfortable, thin contacts are constructed from gel-like plastics that contain a high percentage of water. They cover the entire cornea of your eye (clear front surface) and it is typically easy to adapt to wearing them. First introduced in 1971, soft lenses used to be made from hydrogel materials. At present, silicone hydrogel is the most widespread, popular version. They permit a higher quantity of oxygen to reach the eye, which is healthy and comfortable. Hard, Gas Permeable Lenses Also called GP or RGP (rigid gas permeable) lenses, these contacts are smaller and made from plastics that have no water. They often provide the advantage of more acute vision, yet it generally takes longer to adapt to wearing them. Hybrid Lenses The center zone of these lenses is made from rigid gas permeable lenses, and a soft lens material encircles the border. Hybrid lenses thereby provide the best of both worlds – sharp vision from the center and a soft, comfortable border. Wearing Time for Contact Lenses The two primary kinds of contact lenses are daily wear and extended wear. Daily wear lenses must be removed on a nightly basis, and extended wear lenses may be worn up to seven days; a few brands of extended wear lenses are approved by the FDA for monthly wear (also known as “continuous wear” lenses). Extended wear lenses are very convenient even if you always remove them before going to sleep, as they are safe and comfortable for napping. Don’t sleep in your lenses unless you’ve discussed this with your doctor, since improper wear times can lead to corneal damage. Life Span for Contact Lenses All contact lenses must be discarded after a specified amount of time, even if you care for them well and properly. Soft contact lenses in particular accumulate lens deposits and contamination, which raises your risk of eye infections.
    • Daily disposable lenses:  the most convenient and healthiest option, these lenses are replaced after one day of wear
    • Overnight disposable lenses (kept in your eyes overnight):  must be replaced after one week
    • Monthly wear lenses: these are discarded after wearing for 30 days.
    • Gas permeable contact lenses: these are more resistant to lens deposits and can last up to a year or in many cases even longer with excellent care.
    Designs for Contact Lenses Contact lenses vary depending upon the type of vision correction that is required. The most common design is spherical, which works for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Toric lenses, which come in both soft and GP versions, possess multiple lens powers to correct astigmatism. Bifocal and multifocal lenses utilize a number of zones for different viewing needs, such as near, intermediate and far vision. They are often a good option for presbyopia. Orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses are designed to reshape the cornea overnight, which corrects daytime vision without a need for eyeglasses or lenses. Additional Features of Contact Lenses Colored contacts:  Lenses can be worn in color tints that enhance the natural color of your eyes or change your eye color totally. Blue eyes can be made more vibrant, or brown eyes can be altered to green. Special-effect contacts:  These lenses offer an extreme change to the color of your eyes and are generally used for costumes or theatrical effects. You can look like a zombie, an animal, or whatever you envision! Prosthetic contacts: Disfigurations caused by disease or accidents can be masked by these colored contact lenses. With a medical orientation, prosthetic lenses are generally used to match the appearance of both eyes. Contact Lenses that are Right for You To identify the lenses that are ideal for your needs, you must first have a complete eye examination and contact lens evaluation performed by your eye doctor. Your ocular health will be inspected and detailed measurements of your eyes will be taken. Trial lenses will be inserted to check for the best possible and most comfortable fit and vision After your initial fitting, follow-up visits for contact lenses are important. Your eye doctor will check that the fit is right and that no complications are developing. Your tolerance to contact lenses will be assessed. Sometimes a change in the fit or type of lens is necessary. Your contact lens prescription will be issued after the fitting process is complete. Proper Care and Handling of Contact Lenses It is relatively simple to care for contact lenses. A single, multi-purpose lens solution is generally all that’s required for cleaning, disinfecting and storing your lenses. With daily disposables, routine care is totally eliminated and you can enjoy the feeling of a brand new fresh clean lens every day. Your eye doctor or contact lens technician will instruct you how to take care of your contact lenses before you leave the office.

    Worker Productivity and Computer Vision Syndrome

    Since 43% of adults work at jobs that require prolonged use of a computer, tablet or other digital devices, computer vision syndrome (CVS) and blue light exposure are becoming increasingly serious threats to our vision, health and productivity. Computer Vision Syndrome in the Workplace Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), also known as digital eye strain, is an increasingly common condition felt by those that spend two or more hours daily in front of a screen. Symptoms can include blurred vision, eye strain and fatigue, headaches, dry, red, irritated eyes, neck and back pain and headaches. Typically the symptoms of CVS are not permanent, however they can have an impact on comfort, productivity and one’s ability to focus. In rare cases, CVS can even be debilitating. Studies show that symptoms of computer vision syndrome have become the most common workplace complaint or injury among workers with 50-90% of computer users reporting symptoms to some degree. These symptoms have been shown to have an impact on worker productivity. The Effects of CVS on Productivity In a study which looked at the correlation between computer vision and workplace productivity performed at the School of Optometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham correlations were found between proper vision correction and overall productivity as well as the time it takes for a worker to complete a task. Even minor and unnoticeable vision problems were shown to affect productivity by up to 20% and to cause an increase in mistakes. Blue Light Exposure Blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) radiation exposure is another effect of extended digital device use. Excessive blue light exposure has been linked to sleep cycle disturbance - which can have an overall negative impact on alertness and one’s ability to focus. Blue light may also cause long term damage to the retina. While studies are currently being done to determine the effects of blue light, it is clear that protecting your eyes from blue light is recommended for eye health. Workspace Ergonomics and Computer Eyewear From both the worker’s and the employer’s perspectives, an investment in a combination of workspace ergonomics and computer eyewear can benefit the workplace and overall productivity. Workers will be more productive and experience fewer visual and musculoskeletal symptoms that can cause discomfort and distraction. Employers will benefit from productivity gains and reduced worker’s compensation claims.

    Computer Glasses

    Digital devices have impacted our world in so many positive ways, allowing us to connect, work, play, and get information at the speed of light. In fact, many people have a hard time when they “disconnect.” But all of this good brings with it a measure of concern: Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults experience digital eye strain as a result of the growing use of computers and digital devices. Adults aged 18 to 34 report feeling eye strain at a higher rate (45%) than their older counterparts. New research also suggests that overexposure to blue light, also referred to as high-energy visible or HEV light, may contribute to vision problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  Implications are just now being studied, but the short-term impact of digital eye strain affects individuals on a daily basis. Eye care providers are noting a steady rise in the incidence of myopia as well, which research suggests could be correlated to the increase of screen time and near focusing. Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain include:
    • Headaches
    • Blurred or double vision
    • Sore eyes
    • Dry or watery eyes
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Neck, shoulder or back pain
    In addition to these symptoms, emerging research shows that blue light from digital devices causes sleep disturbances by interfering with the REM cycle of sleep. As people move from their computer to their tablet to their phone, more and more of these symptoms are being seen, and in younger and younger people. Computer glasses offer a solution to reduce the strain on your eyes and your exposure to blue light radiation.

    How Computer Glasses Work

    Computer glasses reduce eye strain by adjusting the focus slightly so that your eyes feel like they are focusing on something further away. They also have a tint to remove the glare and block blue light from entering into your eyes.

    Finding the Right Pair

    There are a number of companies that make computer glasses, some that are designed for device users without a prescription or that would wear the glasses with contact lenses. Other manufacturers provide options to incorporate vision prescriptions into the lens. When shopping for computer glasses you want to make sure you find the right pair. The eyewear should sit nicely on your face and provide a comfortable tint. Here are some of the options available:
    • Single Vision Computer Glasses: Provide the optimum lens power and field of view for viewing your computer screen without straining or leaning in to reduce symptoms of CVS. These are ideal for when the computer is at a fixed working distance, and work well if the user needs to view multiple screens at the same working distance.
    • Office Lenses or Progressive Lenses: No-line multifocal eyewear that can be made to correct near, intermediate and some distance vision with a larger intermediate zone for computer vision if indicated. Perfect for those with presbyopia which is the gradual loss of focusing ability that occurs naturally with age. Office lenses work like progressive lenses but provide a wider field of view for intermediate (1-3 m) viewing distance and near working distance (about 40 cm).
    • Blue-Blocking Lenses: Definitely recommended for this electronic age, blue-blocking lenses block blue light emitted from computer screens that is associated with glare, eye strain and possible sleep disturbances.
    • Anti-glare and filtering coatings (treatments): Eliminate reflections from the surfaces of your lens to reduce eye strain and discomfort from glare. Some coatings can also block blue light emitted from computer screens.
    While all of these are good options for protecting your eyes, the 20/20/20 rule still applies - after every 20 minutes of near tasks, look at something beyond 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds...it’s a good time to stretch the rest of the body too. Eye exams are important to test your focusing ability, and to ensure that both eyes are working and focusing at the same place.  Many people do not have the same prescription in each eye.

    Children and Computer Glasses

    Children are using digital devices more than ever and this trend will only continue as smartphones take over and tablet and computer-based learning increases. Their use extends well beyond the school day , as they use computers for homework and gaming and smartphones to text with their friends. Computer glasses should be used for children  proactively before eye strain begins to keep their eyes healthy longer and prevent nearsightedness.

    Children and Computer Vision Syndrome

    The use of computers, tablets and other digital devices has become so commonplace in the daily lives of children that a report by The Vision Council in 2015 showed that close to 25% of children spend more than 3 hours a day using some sort of digital device. These numbers are only expected to grow. As these devices are becoming integrated into schools and becoming more common for use at a younger age, many experts and parents are wondering how the use of these devices can affect children’s eyes in the short and long term.

    Computer Vision Syndrome (aka Digital Eye Strain)

    Just like adults, children are susceptible to computer vision syndrome (CVS), also called digital eye strain, after extended use of computers or digital devices. Symptoms of CVS include eye fatigue and eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain. Staring at a computer screen is a stress for the eyes, particularly for children whose eyes and visual system are less developed. This is because the computer-generated, pixelated images which appear on the screen are not what our eyes are accustomed to and therefore can cause the eye to strain after extended viewing.  Some children find it uncomfortable to view screens for long periods because they simply don’t have the focusing power to spend extended amounts of time looking at these pixelated images. Children don’t always have the self control to limit computer use or the awareness to know when they are experiencing eye fatigue or other symptoms of CVS. Because of this, they are more likely to overuse digital devices which can make symptoms worse.

    Screen Use and Myopia

    Myopia or nearsightedness is a growing concern as studies show the incidences of the condition are growing exponentially.  In the past it was thought that myopia was primarily genetic, however recent research indicates a correlation between environmental factors and the growing exposure to and use of digital devices, particularly in children.  As children increase their computer use and time spent on screen, the likelihood of developing myopia seems to also be increasing. According to a study done at the University of California at Berkeley School of Optometry which researched the incidence of myopia in 253 children between 6 years old and 10 years old showed a link with the amount of time spent on a computer.

    The Effects of Blue Light

    Blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light is emitted from digital devices and is causing greater and greater concerns about long term exposure.  It is already known that blue light can affect sleep and concentration but studies are also indicating that it can cause long term retinal damage, particularly in kids whose young eye have more sensitivity to environmental influences.

    How to Protect Your Children from CVS

    With the increasing use of and dependence upon digital devices it is important to teach your children good habits to protect their eyes while they are young. Understanding the risks and dangers of prolonged screen time should be taught at an early age.  Here are some tips for safe computer and digital device use to reduce digital eye strain and prevent the negative effects it can have on your children’s eyes and vision.
    1. Limit Screen Time:  When possible limit screen time to one or two hours a day, particularly for little children who don’t require computers for school work.
    2. Optimize Your Children’s Work Station: Ensure that children are positioned properly and that lighting is appropriate so that they do not have to bend or stretch in unnatural ways to see the screen adequately. The monitor should be slightly below the child’s eye line and about 18 - 28 inches away.  The chair should also be adjusted so that the child’s arms comfortably rest on the desk and his or her feet touch the floor (when possible).
    3. Have Regular Eye Exams: Monitor your child’s eyesight, particularly an assessment of their near vision skills.
    4. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at something at least 20 feet away.
    5. Get in the Habit of Stretching: At regular intervals stretch the back, arms, shoulders and neck to relieve tension and reduce strain or soreness.
    6. Consider Computer Glasses: Computer glasses are made to help the eyes focus more easily on the computer screen.  If your child already wears prescription eyewear, prescription computer glasses are available as well.
    7. Anti-glare: Anti-glare screens or coatings on eyeglasses can reduce glare and eye strain.
    8. Look for signs of eye or vision problems such as blurred vision or eye rubbing, redness or a stiff neck.  If you notice any lasting vision problems see your eye doctor for an examination.

    Computer Eyestrain

    Digital eye strain is an increasingly common condition as digital devices become more ingrained into our daily lives. Digital eye strain, eye fatigue and computer vision syndrome (CVS) are conditions that result from extended exposure to digital screens such as computers, smartphones, tablets and televisions from a combination of factors including the blue light radiation emitted from the devices and the pixelated content that is difficult for our eyes to focus on. Symptoms of computer or digital eyestrain tend to be noticed after someone has used a digital device for as little as 2 hours a day. Studies show that 60% of people spend more than 6 hours a day in front of a digital device and 70% of adults report some symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS) which include:
    • Eyestrain
    • Headaches
    • Blurred or double vision
    • Physical and mental fatigue
    • Dry or watery eyes
    • Red or irritated eyes
    • Difficulty focusing
    • Sensitivity to light or
    • Neck, shoulder or back pain (caused by compromised posture to adjust to vision difficulty).
    Digital eye strain also impacts your ability to focus and lessens productivity.  Most people do nothing to ease their discomfort from these symptoms because they are not aware of the cause.

    Protecting Your Eyes from Digital Eye Strain and Blue Light

    There are a number of options for reducing digital eye strain and your exposure to blue light which include workspace ergonomics, computer glasses, specialized lenses and protective coatings. The first step is to get a comprehensive eye exam, making sure you speak to your eye doctor about how often you use a computer and digital device. This will help your doctor to get the full picture of your eye and vision needs in order to determine which option is best for you. It was also help the doctor to identify any underlying issues that could be worsening your symptoms.

    Alleviating Digital EyeStrain

    Workspace Alterations

    Proper Lighting and Screen Brightness: You want the screen to be as bright as the surrounding environment or the brightest object in the room (depending on what is most comfortable for you). Therefore interior lighting or sunlight from the outdoors should be dimmed or blocked.  Use fewer light fixtures or lower voltage light bulbs and close curtains or blinds when possible. Adjust the brightness and contrast of your monitor to the levels that are most comfortable. Reduce Glare: Glare is a significant cause of computer eyestrain so it is important to minimize it as much as possible.  Set up your computer where glare from windows won’t affect your screen or cover windows when this is not possible. Glare can also reflect from walls and shiny finishes on desks and other surfaces.  An anti-glare screen on your monitor or an anti-reflective (AR) or anti-glare coating applied to your eyewear can also help to minimize glare and the strain it causes to your vision. Screen size and distance: You want to make sure you are using a high quality (such as a flat LCD) screen that has a relatively large display (look for a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches) and is located directly in front of your line of vision. Your viewing distance should be about an arm’s length away with the top of the monitor at about eye level or slightly below.

    Eye Care

    Keep Eyes Moist: When viewing a digital screen or monitor for an extended period of time, we tend to blink less frequently (about ⅓ as often as we should). Blinking however, is critical for keeping the eyes moist, which allows them to remain clear and comfortable and to avoid dry eyes, irritation, blurry vision or eye fatigue. Focus on blinking by setting a timer for every 20 minutes and slowly closing and opening your eyes 10 times. Keep a bottle of artificial tears handy to use when your eyes are feeling dry. Give Your Eyes a Break: Schedule and take frequent breaks from your screen. Follow the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Take this time to stand up and stretch your back, neck and legs as well.

    Computer Eyewear

    Computer glasses reduce eye strain by adjusting the focus slightly so your eyes feel like they are focusing on something further away. They also have a tint to remove the glare and block blue light from entering into your eyes. There are a number of options for computer eyewear, both if you need prescription eyewear and not. Speak to your eye doctor about what the best options are for you. Learn more about computer glasses here. It is important to know that both adults and children alike are susceptible to computer eye strain from computers and digital devices.  With the growing use of such devices in our everyday lives it is important to start educating ourselves and our children on how to combat the negative effects of these habits.

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    Content on this web site has been provided and/or reviewed by our Practice. We have reviewed site information and find it to be in accordance with the standards of the optometry profession in our jurisdiction. We strive to provide unbiased, accurate, timely and up-to-date information. The information on this site is not presented as a substitute for informed professional advice and does not substitute for consultation with optometrist or any other health and/or medical professional. If you have any questions about your individual situation, please contact your optometrist - your eye health professional. The basic graphical template and parts of this website have been created by a Service provided by EyeCarePro and/or any affiliated companies. EyeCarePro and any of its affiliated companies do not endorse any of the products or treatments described, mentioned or discussed in any of the web pages, services or database information accessible within this website. Due to the possibility of human error or advances in scientific knowledge, EyeCarePro, and/or any commercial partners, their staff nor any other party involved in providing web pages, services or database information accessible within this website, warrant that the information contained therein is in every respect accurate or complete and are not responsible nor liable for any errors or omissions that may be found in such information or for the results obtained from the use of such information. The material contained in this website, including but not limited to text, graphics, video, audio, trademarks and logos, includes that which is owned or controlled by EyeCarePro and that which is owned or controlled by third parties. EyeCarePro authorizes you to view and download a single copy of the Material on the web site solely for your personal, non-commercial use. The contents of this website are protected by copyright and other laws in USA, Canada and elsewhere. Health information about you may be transmitted from this website to our practice. EyeCarePro does not permanently store nor use, transmit (other than for its intended use), record, or otherwise make any use of this health information. Website visitors are advised to read the Notice of Privacy Practices which describes how health information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information and/or to contact us directly.

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    Autorefractor

    If you’ve discovered you might need vision correction during your eye examination, it’s vital to determine just how “much” your eyes need to be corrected with lenses or contact lenses. This is called measuring your “refraction. Autorefractors automatically measure this value during an eye examination. While seated with your chin in a stabilizing chinrest, you’ll be asked to focus on an image or point of light. The autorefractor automatically determines the correction needed to place your “focus point” on top of the retina, the light-sensitive area at the back of the eye responsible for correctly processing images. The measurement taken by an autorefractor can be translated into a prescription for eyeglasses. In eye exams for small children, or for people with special needs who may have trouble sitting calmly during an extended exam, or verbally describing their vision problems—autorefractors give highly accurate measurements used to determine vision correction needs, automatically.

    How do autorefractors work?

    Autorefractors only take a few moments to determine each measurement for each eye. What’s more, autorefractors are quite reliable and are sometimes used in conjunction with a machine called a phoroptor to manually switch lenses in front of your eyes to provide ideal vision correction.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Eye Dilation

    A truly comprehensive eye exam almost always includes eye dilation—the addition of special eye drops that “open up” the pupil at the front of the eyeball. This allows for a maximum amount of light to enter the eyeball, giving your eye doctor the best possible visibility during a variety of specific eye tests. Eye dilation is common during an eye exam after preliminary testing of visual acuity, pressure testing, and any vision-correction measurements have been taken. Your eyes are dilated using special drops, by far the most effective way to examine the structures inside the eye, and the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye. Most eyecare professionals agree: eye dilation is a critical component of a comprehensive eye exam, and vital to the detection of symptoms of eye disease like macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, cataracts and more.

    Anything else I should know?

    Having your eyes dilated doesn’t hurt—it just feels a little strange. Your pupil at the front of your eye automatically adjusts to light intensity, closing when light is more intense, and opening in lower lighting conditions—much like an automatic camera adjusts to take photos indoors or outdoors. The drops used to dilate your eyes don’t wear off immediately, that’s why it’s recommended you bring sunwear with you to a comprehensive eye exam. And if you’re driving, you may want to consider having a friend with you to help you drive home, or assist you if you feel slightly disoriented. (Remember, your eyes won’t automatically adjust to changing light conditions until the drops wear off.)

    Can I have an eye exam without having my eyes dilated?

    In short, yes. Most vision screenings done at a pediatrician’s office, health clinic or community health organizations don’t include eye dilation. But these basic vision tests cannot help you diagnose eye disease, and are certainly no substitute for a regular and thorough eye exam from a qualified eyecare professional. Most eye doctors will tell you with very few exceptions, dilated eyes mean the best possible eye exam environment.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Glaucoma Test

    Glaucoma is the generalized name for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve of the eye, preventing the eye from sending accurate visual information to the brain. Glaucoma tests are designed to test your eyes for one of the key symptoms of the disease—increased eye pressure—however only a comprehensive eye exam can reveal whether or not you have glaucoma. Increased pressure inside the eye is often a key indicator of glaucoma, though not exclusively so. Eye doctors can use a number of tests for eye pressure, but will, by default, check for signs of glaucoma as part of a detailed examination of the retina—the light sensitive area at the back of the eye responsible for processing images.

    How Does Glaucoma Testing Work?

    A glaucoma test is usually part of a routine eye exam. Both types of glaucoma tests measure internal pressure of the eye. One glaucoma test involves measuring what happens when a puff of air is blown across the surface of the eye. (A puff test) Another test uses a special device (in conjunction with eye-numbing drops) to “touch” the surface of the eye to measure eye pressure. While increased eye pressure is a key indicator of the disease, it does not necessarily mean you have a glaucoma diagnosis. In fact, the only way to detect glaucoma is to have a detailed, comprehensive eye exam that often includes dilation of the pupils. So “true” glaucoma testing actually involves examining the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye for signs of the disease. Glaucoma can cause slight to severe vision loss, and is often discovered only after the disease is present—that’s why glaucoma testing is so important.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Ophthalmoscope

    While an ophthalmoscope may seem similar to the retina scope, it has a different purpose. This is a handheld device that combines a light source with built-in mirrors and lenses so that your eye doctor can examine the interior structures of the eye. An ophthalmoscope is particularly useful for examining the structures of the retina—the light sensitive area at the back of the eye responsible for processing images. Traditionally part of almost every eye exam, ophthalmoscopes can identify healthy structures within the eyeball, and easily help your eye doctor see symptoms or indicators of diseases of the eye. In some instances, your eye doctor will use an indirect ophthalmoscope to gain a broader view of your eye’s internal structure, especially the retina. With indirect ophthalmoscopes, your eye doctor wears a head visor (like a jeweler) that projects a bright light. By holding different handheld lenses in front of your eye, your doctor can better see, and magnify, the inside of your eye.

    How does an ophthalmoscope it work?

    Your eye doctor will dim the lights of the room and ask you to focus on a fixed point on a far wall. Using direct or indirect ophthalmoscopes, your eye doctor will examine the structures of your eye. Sometimes, special drops are used to “open up” (dilate) your pupils to aid your eye doctor in the exam. Your eye doctor is looking for signs of a healthy retina, and also for indicators of any number of potential eye problems like cataracts or macular degeneration.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit EyeGlass Guide today!

    Optomap

    For many eyecare patients, having pupils dilated (opened up) using eye drops can be a bother. But as an integral part of a truly comprehensive eye exam, those drops are highly recommended. Dilation gives your eye doctor the widest view of the internal structures at the back of the eye—the optic nerve, retina, even blood vessels. That’s where Optomap technology comes in. Using low-power laser technology, your eyecare professional can take a wide, instantly-viewable and detailed digital scan of your retina (the area responsible for processing images). All in real time. And in no time. Without the use of pupil-dilating eye drops.

    How does Optomap work?

    It’s very similar to sitting down in a type of photo booth and leaning forward to have your picture taken. Except in this instance, the picture being taken is a larger, wide-field image of the inside of your eyeball. Optomap takes around a minute. Since retina scanning is so important in the early detection of cataracts, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and more, it’s pretty easy to see why Optomap technology is so promising. Optomap retinal exams are not available everywhere, however. And in some instances, these scans may not be covered by traditional insurance due to cuts in eye doctor reimbursements. Check with your eyecare professional and ask if an Optomap eye exam is right for you.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit EyeGlass Guide today! 

    Peripheral Vision Test

    As part of a comprehensive eye exam or vision screening, eye doctors almost always include a peripheral vision test. Your peripheral vision is the visual field at the “outside” of your vision. That means, while your eyes may be “focused” on an object directly in front of you, you should still have the ability to see and recognize objects to your left, right, up and down—not directly in your line of sight. Since peripheral vision loss can be a sign of a number of eye diseases, including glaucoma and other optic nerve disorders, side vision must be tested regularly.

    How does a peripheral vision test work?

    A peripheral vision test takes little time and is usually incorporated into the early portion of the eye exam. The most common type of peripheral vision testing is “confrontational” peripheral vision testing, where your eye doctor asks you to focus on a target directly in front of you (the doctor’s eye, or an upraised finger, for example). With one eye covered, and your focus trained on the target, you’ll be asked to describe things you see in the “side” of your vision. What’s important to remember is to keep focus on the main target and honestly describe what you see. You’ll then cover the other eye and repeat the procedure. Peripheral vision loss indicates there may be an eye problem present, one that can then be tested for in greater detail during your eye examination. There are additional types of peripheral vision testing using automated machines with a series of blinking lights in the outer visual field, or special cards with specific lines and patterns that create forced optical illusions. No matter what the form of test, know that peripheral vision loss is a serious symptom that needs to be evaluated by a qualified eyecare professional.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Phoropter

    If, during an eye examination, your doctor has discovered a vision problem like nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, it’s likely that one of the next steps you’ll take will involve a phoropter. A phoropter is special machine used to switch multiple lenses in front of your eyes to correct your vision. Phoropters look imposing—like space-age visors—but are really an ingenious way to quickly determine the exact vision correction needed by your individual eyes. By having you look through the phoropter at a visual reference, image, or the “Big E” chart (the Snellen chart), your eye doctor will help guide you toward lenses that correct your vision impairment by switching lenses within the machine on the fly.

    How does a phoropter work?

    The process of switching lenses in front of your eyes is less involved than it may look, given the imposing nature of the device. A phoropter is used to manually determine “refraction”—exactly how a lens must be shaped and curved to correct your vision to a normal state, nothing more. Phoropters are subjective however, based on your visual perception and response to your eye doctor’s questions. Is your vision better, or worse? With this lens, or this lens? How about now? There are other procedures and technologies available that automatically measure the refraction needed within your eye and produce a “prescription” measurement without your input. These are called autorefractors and aberrometers.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Puffer Test

    Most people who’ve had a comprehensive eye exam are familiar with the puffer test. A puffer test is what it sounds like: With your head resting in the chinrest of a diagnostic machine called a slit lamp, your eye doctor uses a puff of air across the surface of the eye to measure the intraocular pressure, “inside” pressure, of the eye. High pressure is a key indicator of glaucoma, a series of eye diseases that attacks the optic nerve.

    How does a puffer test work?

    Puff tests are quick and largely without discomfort. You’ll look at a light inside the machine while your eye doctor blows a gentle puff of air across the surface of your open eye. A device called a tonometer measures the eye’s resistance to the air, and calculates your internal eye pressure. This usually takes only a few moments, and while your eye might water slightly, the procedure is generally over before you know it! A puffer test is a part of glaucoma testing, and is a routine part of a comprehensive eye exam. Glaucoma is a serious disease of the optic nerve, and often doesn’t present itself until vision becomes impaired—that’s why it’s so important to have a puffer test to measure your intraocular pressure.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Retinoscope

    A retinoscope is a handheld device used by eyecare professionals to determine whether your eyes are “20/20,” or have difficulties in seeing things up close or far away. By shining a light back and forth across your eye, eye doctors are able to determine (usually with great accuracy) if your vision needs corrective lenses by “dialing” the retinoscope so that the light focuses properly at the back of the eye on the retina. This simple procedure is called a retinoscopy. During a retinoscopy, if light focuses in front of or behind your retina, you have what is called a “refractive error” of the eye. This means you may have difficulty seeing things up close (farsightedness) or difficulty seeing things in the distance (nearsightedness). And means you likely need prescription lenses or contact lenses. Many times, your eye doctor can determine your exact prescription by using only a retinoscope, though other equipment during an eye exam will be used to completely study your eye health, and verify any refractive errors that require you to get glasses or contact lenses.

    How does a retinoscope work during retinoscopy?

    Retinoscopy is a relatively quick and pain-free procedure, though your eyes may water or tear up slightly when exposed to the light within the retinoscope. Other high-tech equipment like autorefractors are becoming more common as well, as they take retinoscopy measurements automatically in just a few seconds. The retinoscope is a handy examination tool that can automatically detect a possible vision problem. A retinoscopy can be especially good for young children or people with special needs who might have problems accurately describing “what’s wrong” with their vision.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Slit Lamp Exam

    If you’ve ever had a comprehensive eye examination, chances are you’ve had a slit lamp exam. Slit lamp tests are designed to help your eye doctor magnify and examine the eye from front to back. With your head resting in a machine called a slit lamp, your eye doctor can use a combination of bright light and different magnifying lenses to view your eye’s structure. A slit lamp examination helps your eye doctor see the entire physical structure of your eye from the inside. A slit lamp test is designed to have your eyes tell a story that might indicate the presence of many types of eye diseases and potential vision problems.

    How does a slit lamp exam work?

    A slit lamp examination is relatively quick and largely without discomfort, though your eye may tear or water and you’ll have to resist the urge to blink frequently. With your head resting in the chin rest of the slit lamp, you’ll look at a light inside the machine while your eye doctor performs a meticulous scan of your eyes using different lenses, much like on a microscope. Slit lamp tests are ways to magnify what’s happening on the surface of your eye, at the front of the eye, inside the eye, and at the all-important retina at the back of the eye. A slit lamp test is one of the most common procedures in a comprehensive eye exam because it tells your eye doctor so much about the state of your eye health, and can be used to spot indicators of a wide variety of diseases and conditions including cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, age-related macular degeneration, even blood disorders and certain cancers.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit EyeGlass Guide today!

    Snellen Chart

    Hopefully by now, we’ve all seen one. The projected or wall-mounted Snellen eye chart, usually topped by the big letter “E”, is a common visual acuity test used to measure your sharpness of vision at multiple distances. Arranged as a pyramid of sorts, the letters in the Snellen chart are specifically chosen and arranged to test your sharpness and clarity of vision at a baseline distance of 20 feet. During a visual acuity test, the Snellen eye chart is viewed as a projection, or mounted on a wall. Handheld versions of Snellen charts are used for testing near vision as well. By viewing or reading each line from top to bottom (with one eye covered at a time), your eye doctor can gain a general approximation of the quality of your visual acuity, or sharpness. Where a line of characters begin to become difficult to see is the approximate measurement of your vision. The Snellen chart serves as a beginning—not an end—to a comprehensive eye examination.

    What does “20/20” vision mean?

    Snellen charts help to determine a baseline for your vision in each eye—a baseline typically measured against “20/20” vision. This means when you are 20 feet away from an object, you can comfortably see details that most people with normal vision can also see at 20 feet distance. If you have 20/30 vision, that means what you see comfortably at 20 feet, can be seen by a person with “normal” vision at 30 feet. Your vision is weaker, in other words. Conversely? In the rare instances where vision may test better than normal on a Snellen chart, a value of 20/10 vision means that you can see clearly from a distance of 20 feet, what a person with normal vision sees well at a distance of 10 feet. Make sense? In fact, if you look closely at a Snellen eye chart, you’ll see the vision values associated with measuring your vision on the right or left side of each line of characters.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Vision Screening

    What’s the difference between a vision test and a vision screening? If you consider the vision test as the “goal” of having a comprehensive eye exam at regular intervals throughout your life, then a vision screening is one way to reach that goal. Vision screening sometimes determines an immediate need for vision testing. It’s important to not confuse the two. A vision screening is not a substitute for a vision test or comprehensive eye exam performed by an eyecare professional. But it can play an important role in helping numerous groups get the vision testing they need.

    Vision screening is…

    A set of simple eye tests to help identify people who may have certain eye problems. Often performed by pediatricians, school nurses, assisted living caregivers and other healthcare professionals and volunteers, vision screening usually includes a vision test for your ability to see clearly at distances using the “Big E” chart (Snellen chart). A vision screening may also include testing of your eye’s reaction to light, muscle coordination, or by viewing simple images and graphs that could reveal colorblindness or other hidden problems. The vision test you take to get your driver’s license is an example of a vision screening. Community health organizations, public schools, wellness clinics, and assisted living facilities often offer vision screening as part of their services. Given at important intervals in life, such as early childhood, pre-teen years, and as you age, vision screening can help monitor the quality of your vision, and possibly identify common vision problems. But they’re not a substitute for a complete vision test given by an eyecare professional.

    Vision testing is…

    A comprehensive set of eye tests performed by an eyecare professional in a controlled office setting with equipment that goes far beyond what’s available at a vision screening. Often performed with eyedrops that help the pupil “open up” (dilation), vision tests commonly include testing of vision at multiple distances, peripheral vision testing, and a series of procedures designed to check the structures of the eye for evidence of eye disease or eye problems like age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts or diabetes. A vision test from a qualified eyecare professional is important because many of the things hidden or unknowable at a vision screening, reveal themselves under closer professional observation. And just as importantly, only an eyecare professional can direct you to the treatment necessary to improve your vision or protect your eyes—a prescription for corrective lenses, medications to treat common eye problems, or a wide variety of surgical options now available to people with eye problems.

    Vision test: How often?

    As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to have a comprehensive eye exam and vision test at least every two years. This especially includes children below the age of 5, who may not fully understand that they’re even having a vision problem until they undergo a professional vision test. Vision can change rapidly throughout childhood. Regular vision testing is a quick and smart way to keep up with those changes. In many instances, more frequent vision testing is recommended. If you have diabetes, for example, you are at higher risk for developing glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy--damage to the blood vessels in the retina. After age 35, the risks increase for a host of age-related eye problems or diseases such as presbyopia, macular degeneration, and cataracts. A comprehensive eye exam every year is not unheard of. Vision tests are convenient and protect your eyes in the short term, and long term.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Vision Testing

    Vision testing at the eye doctor is as individual as you are. When it comes to vision testing, no two eye exams are alike, because no two people are alike. In fact, it’s those differences that often determine what types of vision testing—and vision testing equipment—are used during any given examination.

    Types of vision testing

    Visual acuity testing: The Snellen Chart (the chart with the big E at the top) is used to test each eye for visual acuity or “sharpness” at a distance. A smaller, hand-held chart is used to test near vision. Visual field testing: Manual and automatic testing designed to measure the quality of your side vision (peripheral vision). This type of test usually involves covering one eye and focusing the other on a fixed point in front of you, while describing what you can see on the “periphery” of your vision. Cover testing: By having you focus on a distant object within a room, and then alternately covering each eye, your eyecare professional can see if your eyes work together, or must refocus slightly. Color-blind testing: Using a series of multi-colored dots arranged within a circle, color-blind vision testing “hides” numbers within the overall pattern of dots. These numbers will appear as easy-to-see colored numbers to everyone except those few people who suffer from various degrees of color-blindness—the inability to perceive certain colors or color combinations. Refraction testing: Refraction errors like nearsightedness and farsightedness are the most common eye problems. Vision testing is used to determine how strong your prescription glasses must be to see clearly, based on how your eyes react while using the vision testing equipment. Phoropters are machines that allow your eye doctor to “switch” lenses during your exam to see if your focus is better, or worse. Autorefractors are machines that automatically check the lens power needed to clearly focus images on your retina for the best possible vision. Slit lamp testing: This piece of vision testing equipment combines a simple chin rest with a light source that produces a “slit” of light that’s used scan your eye. Your eye doctor (with the help of special viewing lenses) can look into the internal structure of your eye to potentially diagnose a host of eye problems and diseases. Tonometry (Glaucoma) Testing: There are two types of glaucoma vision testing, each with the goal of measuring the internal pressure of the eye. Increased eye pressure is a warning sign for glaucoma, a series of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve of the eye, limiting and sometimes eliminating vision. The “Puffer” Test: A light is beamed into your eye while a gentle puff of air is blown across the eye’s surface. A special machine measures the resistance of the eye to the puff of air, and then calculates internal eye pressure. The Touch Test: Using a machine called an applanation tonometer, a special probe makes gentle contact with the eye’s surface to measure internal eye pressure. Your eye doctor may numb your eye in advance. Dilation testing: Sometimes, your eye doctor will use special drops to “open up” your pupil (dilate it) so that as much light as possible can enter the eye. Using special magnifying lenses and other vision testing equipment, your eye doctor can diagnose a host of eye problems and see internal structures that indicate the presence of eye diseases. Vision testing is both thorough and painless, though there may be some discomfort from direct beams of light momentarily. In addition, the drops used to dilate pupils may take a little time to wear off, so you will be sensitive to bright light, and may need assistance driving after vision testing that includes pupil dilation.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Cataracts Video

      Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Signs & Symptoms

    Cataracts don’t suddenly develop overnight. They generally start off small and only begin to noticeably affect your vision as they grow.  The first symptom is usually that your vision becomes blurred, hazy or cloudy.  Additionally, you may become sensitive to light, making sunlight, oncoming headlights or indoor lighting appear exceptionally glaring or bright. Colors may seem dim and you may notice halos around lights or double vision. The symptoms people experience from cataracts may vary. Some individuals even report a temporary improvement in near vision when a cataract first develops, a phenomenon known as “second sight”. Here is a list of possible signs and symptoms of developing cataracts:
    • Blurry or cloudy vision (that can’t be corrected with a change in eyeglass prescription)
    • Glare from lamps, sunlight, oncoming traffic when driving at night or indoor lighting
    • Colors appear dim and less vibrant
    • Halos around lights
    • Double vision
    • Poor night vision
    • Sudden improvement in near vision
    If you experience any change in your vision, visit your eye doctor immediately.

    Causes of Cataracts

    Cataracts are part of the natural aging process of the eye and therefore, if you live to an old age, you will likely eventually develop one. While most cases of cataracts develop as part of this process, there are instances of congenital cataracts which are present at birth. Further, secondary or traumatic cataracts can occur at any age as a result of an eye injury, surgery or disease.While the risk of developing a cataract does increase as you age, it is not the only risk factor. Research shows that there are environmental, health and behavioral risk factors that can also play a role in cataract development.  Many of these risk factors are avoidable and preventable. These risk factors include:
    • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
    • Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or other sources
    • Obesity
    • Diabetes
    • Hypertension
    • Certain medications such as steroids or statin medications
    • History of eye injury or eye surgery
    • Family history
    Since they are largely a part of the the natural aging process of the eye, cataracts can’t necessarily be avoided, however knowing if you have additional risk factors can help you to take preventative steps to delay the onset of the condition.

    Cataract Surgery & Treatment

    Treatment for cataracts involves surgery, but being diagnosed with a cataract does not mean that you need to have surgery immediately, or maybe ever. You may be able to live with symptoms of early cataracts for a while by using vision aids such as glasses, anti-glare sunglasses, magnification lenses, strong bifocals or brighter lighting to suit your needs. Surgery should be considered when the condition begins to seriously impair your vision to the extent that it affects your daily life such as reading or driving, playing golf, playing cards, watching TV, etc. Sometimes surgery is also necessary if the cataracts are preventing treatment of another eye problem. The good news is that cataract surgery is typically very successful in restoring your vision. Together with your eye doctor, you will decide if and when the time for surgery has arrived.

    Cataract Surgery

    Cataract surgery is one of most common surgeries performed in North America and has a 90% success rate (meaning the patient has improved vision, between 20/20 and 20/40 vision, following the procedure). The surgery involves removing the clouded natural lens and usually replacing it with a clear, plastic intraocular lens (IOL) that becomes a permanent part of the eye. It is a relatively quick and painless procedure and you will not feel or see the IOL after the implant.

    Preventing Cataracts

    While development of cataracts is largely associated with age, there are other factors that can increase the risk of developing the condition. By knowing these risk factors, there are steps you can take to delay or prevent the development of cataracts:
    • Sun Protection: Ultraviolet radiation can be a factor in the development of cataracts.  It is recommended to protect your eyes from ultraviolet sunlight by wearing 100%  UV protective sunglasses and a hat with a brim when you are exposed to the sun.
    • Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol Intake: These habits have been shown to increase the chances of developing cataracts, so if you smoke or regularly consume large amounts of alcohol - stop these habits.
    • Proper Nutrition: Research shows that maintaining good health and nutrition can also reduce the risk of age-related cataracts, particularly by eating foods rich with vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E and other antioxidants found in green leafy vegetables, fruit and a diet rich in Omega-3s.
    • Regular Eye Exams: Once you reach the age of 50, or if you have diabetes or other eye conditions, it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam every year to check for signs of cataracts and other age-related eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma. Early detection and treatment for many of these eye and vision disorders is often essential to save your vision.

    Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)

    During cataract surgery, the Intraocular lens (IOL) replaces the clouded natural lens in your eye to provide the function of focusing light onto the retina.  IOLs are usually made of plastic and most of them are monofocal lenses to correct for distance vision.With advances in technology, specialized IOLs have and continue to be developed to improve the ease and success of cataract surgery and to improve the patient’s vision.  Now, from multifocal IOLs to IOLs that block UV and blue light radiation, patients have greater options available to them.

    Presbyopia Correcting IOLs - Multifocal or Accommodating IOLs

    Presbyopia is another common condition associated with aging, in which the eyes begin to have difficulty focusing on near objects. This condition makes it hard for people to read small print, which is why many people over 40 keep reading glasses close by. Similar to bifocal or multifocal reading glasses, accommodating and multifocal IOLs provide vision correction for far and near (reading) vision to provide the patient with clear sight at a range of distances without the need for reading glasses.  Although you may be able to do most activities without glasses, there may be situations that require an eyeglass prescription to sharpen your vision. Multifocal lenses contain multiple lens powers for various viewing distances, while accommodating lenses have one lens power but accommodate or move with your eye as it focuses on objects at a range of distances.

    Other Types of IOLs

    IOLs that block out ultraviolet (UV) and blue light radiation, which have both proven to be dangerous to your eyes, are also available. Other premium IOLs exist such as aspheric IOLs which, similar to your real lens, are aspheric in shape and can improve vision quality, especially in low light conditions or toric IOLS which are suitable for correcting astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness. Premium lenses such as these are more costly than standard monofocal IOLs and may not be right for everyone. Selecting the right IOL for your eyes, lifestyle and vision is a decision that should be made together with a trusted eye doctor. For some people, it may even be an option to place different IOLs in each eye.

    More About Cataracts

    Though cataracts are often associated with aging—particularly men and women over age 60, people in their 40’s and 50’s are also more prone to developing cataracts. Research suggests that lifestyle factors like cigarette and alcohol use, diabetes and prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays could all contribute to lens yellowing with age, and cataracts. Other types of cataracts include secondary cataracts from surgery for other eye disorders like glaucoma; cataracts that form as a response to eye trauma or injury; cataracts that develop after exposure to certain forms of radiation; and in some cases, cataracts are congenital—you’re born with them. The point is—with cataract symptoms and treatment, as with all things eyecare-related—there’s no substitute for a comprehensive, regularly schedule eye exam to check for vision problems and maintain healthy sight.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today! 

    Overview of Diabetic Retinopathy

    Diabetic retinopathy involves swelling, leaking or abnormal growth of blood vessels in or near the retina. There are multiple stages to this disease, the earliest of which may not present any symptoms you can see. Symptoms you can see include dark or black spots in your vision that increase over time, or severely blurred vision due to bleeding within the eye. That’s why comprehensive eye exams are so important when thinking about diabetes and eye sight—both type 1 and type 2 diabetics are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, and the longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop some form of the disease. Treatments for diabetic retinopathy include replacement of the inner gel inside the eye (called a vitrectomy) and different kinds of laser surgery. A recent clinical trial also suggested that better control of blood sugar levels slows the onset and progression of the disease in many patients.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

    Diabetes prohibits the body from properly using and storing sugar, leaving excessive amounts of sugar in the bloodstream which can cause damage to blood vessels and various parts of the body- including the eyes and visual system.  Diabetic retinopathy is when this condition results in progressive damage to the retina at the back of the eye.  The retina is a light-sensitive tissue that is essential for vision, so if left untreated, diabetic retinopathy will eventually cause blindness. Sadly, despite the fact that proper monitoring and treatment can successfully halt the progression of the diabetic eye disease, it is still the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults in North America.

    Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

    Diabetic retinopathy progressively damages the blood vessels of the retina to the point that they begin to leak blood and fluids. This leakage causes swelling in the retinal tissue which can impact your ability to focus causing vision loss and if left untreated, eventually will cause blindness. Retinopathy typically affects both eyes and often will have no symptoms in the early stages - making regular eye exams essential for anyone with diabetes. The longer an individual has had diabetes, the more likely it is that they will have some degree of retinopathy. Symptoms include:
    • Blurred or cloudy vision
    • Seeing floaters or spots
    • Difficulty reading or seeing close objects
    • Double Vision
    • Poor Night Vision
    Untreated diabetic retinopathy can also lead to a detached retina. This can happen if the disease has progressed to proliferative retinopathy in which new, fragile blood vessels grow in the retina and the vitreous at the back of the eye. The blood vessels can break, leaking fluid and causing the growth of scar tissue which can cause the retina to detach. If left untreated this can cause blindness as well. Many of the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, particular in the early stages of vision loss, can be reversed with proper treatment and control of blood sugar levels.  Diabetics with or without retinopathy must see an eye doctor at least once a year for a comprehensive eye exam to monitor any changes and ensure that proper treatment is prescribed.

    Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy

    What are the causes of diabetic retinopathy and long-term diabetes? Changes in blood-sugar levels is the main culprit. People suffering from diabetes generally develop diabetic retinopathy after at least ten years of having the disease. Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is essential to have an eye exam once a year or more. In the early stage of diabetic retinopathy, called background or non-proliferative retinopathy, high blood sugar in the retina damages blood vessels, which bleed or leak fluid. This leaking or bleeding causes swelling in the retina, which forms deposits. In the later stage of diabetic retinopathy, called proliferative retinopathy, new blood vessels begin to grow on the retinal. These new blood vessels may break, causing bleeding into the vitreous, which is the clear gelatinous matter that fills the inside of the eye. This breakage can cause serious vision difficulties. This form of diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness, and is therefore the more serious form of the disease. It is not hard to greatly reduce your risk of diabetic retinopathy by following some simple steps and being aware of your overall health. The most important factor you can control is maintaining your blood sugar at a healthy level. Eating a healthy diet will help greatly in controlling blood sugar levels. A regular exercise regimen is also a great help. Finally, make sure to listen to your doctor’s instructions.

    Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

    95% of people diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, if treated promptly, can avoid significant vision loss. Laser photocoagulation treatment seals off blood vessels that are leaking into the eye, and stops new blood vessels from growing. This laser treatment only takes a few moments, and is painless. Sometimes in diabetic retinopathy blood leaks into the vitreous humor in the eye, clouding vision. Some eye doctors wait before choosing treatment, as the blood may dissipate by itself. Another treatment option is a vitrectomy, which removes blood that has already leaked into the vitreous humor. To improve the supply of blood to the core inner portion of the retina, a laser may be used to destroy tissue on the outside of the retina which is not essential for basic vision. This procedure is used to save vision. Lucentis is a medication that is administered by an eye doctor using injections. This medication was approved by the FDA in 2015, and is the first non-laser treatment approved by the FDA. The FDA is currently reviewing several other non-laser treatments for diabetic retinopathy.

    Overview

    Macular Degeneration, which is also known as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), because it is usually associated with aging, is a leading cause of vision loss in adults aged 50 and older. The disease is characterized by a gradual loss of central vision and can occur in one eye or both eyes simultaneously.

    Understanding AMD

    Macular Degeneration is a disease that damages the macula, which is the center of the retina responsible for sharp visual acuity in the central field of vision.  The breakdown of the macula eventually results in the loss of central vision and the ability to see fine details.  While AMD doesn’t result in complete blindness, the quality of vision is severely compromised leading to what we refer to as “low vision”. The loss of central vision can interfere with the performance of everyday tasks such as driving, reading, writing, cooking, or even recognizing faces of friends and family.  The good news is, there are many low vision aides on the market now that can assist in helping you to perform these tasks. Wet and Dry AMD There are two types of AMD, wet and dry. Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease. It is characterized by blurred central vision or blind spots, as the macula begins to deteriorate.  Dry AMD is less severe than the wet form, but can progress to wet AMD rapidly. Wet AMD is when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow under the retina and leak fluid and blood into the macula, causing distortions in vision. Wet AMD can cause permanent scarring if not treated quickly, so any sudden blur in vision should be assessed immediately, especially if one is aware that they have AMD.

    Are You at Risk?

    Awareness about the disease, the risk factors and prevention are critical, even for younger generations because taking care of your eyes while you are young will help to reduce the risks later on in life. The biggest risk factor for AMD is age. Individuals over 60 are most likely to develop the disease however it can occur earlier.  Additional risk factors include:
    • Smoking: According to research smoking can double the risk of AMD.
    • Genetics and Family History: If AMD runs in your family you are at a higher risk.  Scientists have also identified a number of particular genes that are associated with the disease.
    • Race: Caucasians are more likely to have AMD than those from Hispanic or African-American descent.
    • Lifestyle: Obesity, high cholesterol or blood pressure, poor nutrition and inactivity all contribute to the likelihood of getting AMD.
    Prevention of AMD: If you have risk factors, here is what you can do to prevent or slow the progression of AMD:
    • Regular eye exams; once a year especially if you are 50 or over.
    • Stop smoking.
    • Know your family history and inform your eye doctor.
    • Proper nutrition and regular exercise: Research indicates that a healthy diet rich in “Eyefoods” with key nutrients for the eyes such as orange peppers, kale and spinach as well as regular exercise may reduce your risks or slow the progression of AMD.
    • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
    • Dietary supplements: Studies by the National Eye Institute called AREDs and ARED2 indicated that a high dosage of supplements of zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and lutein may slow the progression of advanced dry AMD (it is not recommended for those without AMD or early AMD).  Speak to a doctor before taking these supplements because there may be associated risks involved.
    • Wear 99% -100% UV-blocking sunglasses.
    The first step to eye health is awareness. By knowing your risk,  taking preventative measures and visiting your eye doctor on a regular basis, you can greatly reduce your chances of facing this debilitating disease.

    Forms of Macular Degeneration

    There are two forms of macular degeneration, dry (non-neovascular) or wet (neovascular).  The term neovascular refers to the growth of new blood vessels.

    Dry AMD (non-neovascular)

    Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease, making up about 85%-90% of all cases of AMD. It is characterized by blurred central vision or blind spots, as the macula begins to deteriorate.  Dry AMD is an early stage of the disease and is less severe than the wet form,. Dry AMD occurs when the aging tissues of the macula begin to thin out and break down.  Tiny pieces of white or yellowish protein called drusen begin to appear, which are thought to be deposits from the macular tissue as it deteriorates. The appearance of these drusen are often what leads to a diagnosis of AMD during an eye exam. With dry AMD vision loss happens gradually, however, the dry form can progress to wet AMD rapidly.  There is currently no cure for dry AMD, however there is research that shows that some people can benefit from supplemental vitamin therapy including antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin.

    Wet AMD (neovascular)

    Wet AMD is less common occurring in only about 10 percent of those with AMD. AMD is classified as Wet AMD when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow under the retina and leak fluid and blood into the macula, resulting in blind spots and a loss of central vision. Wet AMD can cause more damage to vision and permanent scarring if not treated quickly, so any sudden blur in vision should be assessed immediately, especially if one is aware that they have AMD. Usually vision loss happens faster and is more noticeable than in dry AMD so the quicker it is treated, the more vision you can preserve.

    Symptoms & Risk Factors of Macular Degeneration

    Macular Degeneration can cause low vision and debilitating vision loss, even blindness if not diagnosed and treated in the early stages. Because the disease often has no obvious symptoms early on, it is critical to have regular comprehensive eye exams, particularly if you are at risk.

    Symptoms of AMD

    Macular degeneration is a disease in which the macula slowly breaks down, resulting in a gradual progressive vision loss, at least in its’ early stages. Frequently there are no symptoms and the disease is only diagnosed when a doctor detects signs such as a thinning macula or the presence of drusen in a comprehensive eye examination.  Early vision loss can include blurry, cloudy or distorted central vision or dark spots in your central field of view.  With advanced stages, vision loss can be severe and sudden with larger blind spots and total loss of central vision.

    Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration

    Age is the most prominent risk factor for AMD, as the disease is most common in individuals over the age of 60 (although it can happen in younger individuals as well).  Other risk factors can increase your chances of developing the disease such as:
    • Genetics and Family History: Research shows that there are actually almost 20 genes that have been linked to AMD, and they suspect that there are many more genetic factors to be discovered.  Family history greatly increases your chances of developing AMD.
    • Race: Caucasians are more likely to get AMD than Hispanics or  African-Americans.
    • Smoking: Cigarette smoking can double your likelihood of developing AMD.
    • Lifestyle: Research shows that UV exposure, poor nutrition, high blood pressure, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle can also be contributing factors.
    • Gender: Females have a higher incidence of AMD than males.
    • Medications: Certain medications may increase the chances of developing AMD.
    To reduce your risks of developing AMD it is recommended to make healthy choices such as:
      • Regular eye exams; once a year especially if you are 50 or over.
      • Stop smoking.
      • Know your family history and inform your eye doctor.
     
    • Proper nutrition and regular exercise: Research indicates that a healthy diet rich in “Eyefoods” with key nutrients for the eyes such as orange peppers, kale and spinach as well as regular exercise may reduce your risks or slow the progression of AMD.
    • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
    • Dietary supplements: Studies by the National Eye Institute called AREDs and ARED2 indicated that a high dosage of supplements of zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and lutein may slow the progression of advanced dry AMD (it is not recommended for those without AMD or early AMD).  Speak to a doctor before taking these supplements because there may be associated risks involved.
    • Wear 99% -100% UV-blocking sunglasses.
      The first step to eye health is awareness. By knowing your risk,  taking preventative measures and visiting your eye doctor on a regular basis, you can greatly reduce your chances of facing this debilitating disease.

    Treatment of Macular Degeneration

    While there is no cure for macular degeneration, treatments do exist that can delay the progression of the disease, preserve existing vision and sometimes even improve vision loss. Currently, there are no approved treatments to prevent or cure dry AMD, although there is evidence that indicates that certain nutritional supplements, including omega 3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin, can prevent the progression of the disease to the more advanced wet form, which can cause more severe vision loss. There are a couple of options for treating wet AMD to slow the progression of vision loss which include medicated injections and laser therapy.  These therapies are designed to stop the development of new blood vessels, to destroy existing ones and to prevent leakage into the macula - the main dangers with wet AMD. Unfortunately, while much research continues to be conducted, currently there is no treatment and no way to fully regain vision lost by AMD.  Those who have suffered significant vision loss can benefit from the many low vision devices on the market which utilize your existing vision to assist in maintaining your independence.  Such devices include standing and hand-held magnifiers and telescopes and other aides that can help to improve your vision. If you have been diagnosed with AMD, regular vision tests are essential. Close monitoring and adherence to treatment can not only prevent further vision deterioration but can sometimes even improve vision.

    Protecting Your Eyes From UV Rays

    Every day—sunny or cloudy, Spring through Winter—you are exposed to damaging ultraviolet rays. Though you may not realize it, it’s there—UV radiation is invisible to the naked eye. Watch a video about ultra violet rays: Did you know…
    • UV light can "sunburn" the eye's surface and cause benign yellowish growths on the human eye
    • Prolonged exposure to harmful UVA and UVB radiation over time can contribute to serious, age-related eye conditions or diseases
    • These diseases include cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over age 60
    • Only lens materials or lens treatments that promise 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays protect your eyes fully from the harmful rays of the sun. Demand 100% UV protection.
      Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Protecting Your Eyes From Glare

    Glare is a distracting and sometimes dangerous excess of bright light, and can happen day or night. Glare can cause squinting, eye fatigue, and in extreme cases, even temporary blindness. Did you know…
    • In daylight, glare can occur when walking indoors to outdoors, moving from shade to sunlight, even from reflected light off of surfaces like cars or sidewalks
    • At night, glare can occur from oncoming headlights while driving, or from bright reflections off of wet roads, even signs
    • Glare can impair visual comfort and visual quality, which can diminish healthy sight
    Watch a short video about anti-reflection options: Anti-reflective (AR) treatments are available for many lens products to help protect your eyes. AR treatments are proven to significantly reduce glare while increasing visual comfort. Best of all? These types of lens treatments and materials, plus others like photochromics and polarized lenses, can often be bundled into one lens product for maximum versatility, as well as eye protection.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Why are Eye Exams Important?

    For both adults and children alike, eye exams are an important part of one’s general health maintenance and assessment. Your eyes should be checked regularly to ensure that you are able to see as best as possible. Regular eye health exams will also check for signs of eye disease or conditions that can affect not only your vision but your overall health. Vision and eye health is such a critical part in learning and development, therefore, we highly recommend eye exams for infants and children.

    Vision Screening vs. an Eye Exam

    When we recommend regular eye exams, this should not be confused with a vision screening. A vision screening is a basic test that indicates if you have difficulty seeing and require further assessment and corrective measures.  It can be performed by anyone, whether it is a school nurse, a pediatrician or even a volunteer at a vision clinic. A vision screening usually only checks vision, it does not check eye health.  Also, most vision screenings for kids only check for nearsightedness (when you can not see far), but what happens when the majority of children are farsighted?  Most of the time many of these kids get overlooked. A comprehensive eye exam on the other hand, can only be performed by an eye doctor as it requires special knowledge and equipment to look around and into your eye to check your eye and vision health. Such an exam can assess whether there are underlying causes for vision problems and whether there are any signs of disease which can threaten your site and the health of your eye. A comprehensive eye examination can also diagnose symptoms of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tumors, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and thyroid disorders.  A comprehensive eye examination will also provide an accurate prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

    Eye Exams for Eye Health

    Eye exams are critical because many vision threatening eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, or  diabetic retinopathy have no or minimal symptoms until the disease has progressed. In these cases, early detection and treatment is essential to halting or slowing down the progression of the disease and saving eyesight. During a comprehensive eye examination, your eye doctor will be looking for initial signs of these diseases.  If a problem with your eyes arises such as red eyes, eye allergies, dry eyes, eye swelling,eye pain, always seek an eye doctor as your first doctor to call since they are specifically trained to treat eye diseases.

    Eye Exams and Children

    If your child is having developmental delays or trouble in school there could be an underlying vision problem. Proper learning, motor development, reading, and many other skills are dependent upon not only good vision, but your eyes functioning together. Children that have problems with focusing or hand-eye coordination will often experience frustration and may exhibit behavioral problems as well. Often they don’t know that the vision they are experiencing is abnormal so they aren’t able to express that they need help. Many conditions are much easier to treat when they are caught early while the eyes are still developing, so it is important to diagnose any eye health and vision issues as early as possible.

    Eye Exams Over 40

    Just like the rest of our bodies, our eyes begin to weaken as we age. There are a number of common age-related eye conditions such as presbyopia, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration that can begin to affect your vision and your daily life.  While some of these conditions are more of an inconvenience, others could lead to vision loss and dependency. In addition to regular yearly eye exams, it is important to be aware of any changes in your eye health and vision.  Also know your potential risk factors as well as your family ocular and medical history. Over half of the vision loss worldwide is preventable with proper treatment and care.

    Preparing for an Eye Exam

    For both adults and children, an eye exam is a critical part in maintaining your overall health and well-being, and therefore, regular eye exams should be incorporated into your health routine. Comprehensive eye exams assess your vision and the health of your eye, looking for early signs of disease that may not have obvious symptoms.  You should not wait until you experience a vision problem or symptoms of an eye condition to schedule a routine exam. Depending on your age, family history, general health and eye health, it is recommended to have an eye exam every one to two years.  Of course if you experience any serious symptoms that affect your eyes or your vision, you should contact your eye doctor immediately.

    The Difference Between an Optometrist (OD) and an Ophthalmologist (MD or DO)

    Confusion about the difference between optometrists and ophthalmologists is common, and many people are not aware of how the two eye care professionals differ. Optometrists Optometrists or Doctors of Optometry attend optometry school which is usually at least four years of graduate level training. They are able to perform eye exams, provide prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses, and diagnose and treat eye diseases as as glaucoma, dry eyes,  or eye infections that may require medication or drops. They can consult with and co-manage  patients in pre- or post-op surgical care, however they do not perform surgery. Ophthalmologists Ophthalmologists are medical doctors that attend medical school and later specialize in ophthalmology. They are able to do all of the services mentioned above but also perform eye surgeries such as cataract surgery, refractive surgery such as LASIK and deal with more urgent eye conditions such as retinal detachment.

    Infant and Child Eye Exams

    According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) children should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor at 6 months, 3 years, at the start of school and then at least every 2 years following. If there are any signs that there may be a vision problem or if the child has certain risk factors (such as developmental delays, premature birth, crossed eyes, family history or previous injuries) more frequent exams are recommended. A child that wears eyeglasses or contact lenses should have his or her eyes examined yearly.

    Adult Eye Exams

    Healthy adults under 40 with good vision and who do not wear eyeglasses or contact lenses are recommended to have an eye exam at least every two years.  Those that do use vision correction or have a health issue such as diabetes, high blood pressure or another health condition that can have an impact on your eye health should schedule a yearly exam, unless the eye doctor recommends more frequent visits. Once you reach 40, you become susceptible to a number of age-related eye conditions such as presbyopia, cataracts or macular degeneration, therefore annual or bi-annual exams are strongly recommended. As you continue to age, particularly after age 55, the risks of eye disease increase, and early detection can be critical to preventing significant vision loss or blindness.  Scheduling a yearly eye exam can make all the difference in maintaining your independence and quality of life.

    How to Prepare for Your Exam

    Prior to your exam you should decide whether you will be seeking special services such as a contact lens exam or LASIK consultation.  These services may cost extra.  Check with the doctor’s office or your insurance provider to see if they cover any of the exam expenses. You need to know if you have medical insurance, vision plan coverage or both. Medical insurance usually does not cover “wellness/refractive” exams for glasses or contact lenses. Vision plans will cover exams for glasses or contacts, but usually cannot be used for red eyes, floaters, or other medical eye health problems. Please bring your insurance cards with you. In addition to bringing your current pair of glasses or contacts if applicable, it is important to be aware of your personal and family history and to have a list of medications or supplements you are currently taking. Your pupils will probably be dilated as apart of your exam, so plan accordingly.

    What to Expect

    equipment close up You might be going to a regularly-scheduled eye exam. You may be following a recommendation to see an eye doctor after a vision screening at a local clinic or wellness center. Or your next eye doctor visit could be a response to vision problems or eye discomfort. The more you know going in, the easier the entire vision care process will be. For regularly scheduled eye exams, expect to talk about any changes in your medical history since the last time you saw your eye doctor. And if this is your first time in a new practice, you’ll be asked to provide a more complete medical history, including a list of medications you’re currently taking, and any vision problems your parents may have experienced. In addition, you’ll undergo a series of vision and eye tests that help determine the overall health and quality of your vision. These tests also help to check that your current prescription glasses or contacts (if you have one) is still meeting your vision needs. Your eye doctor will also check your eyes for signs of any potential vision problems or eye diseases. In many instances, your pupil may be dilated (opened) using special drops so that your eye doctor can better see the structures of the eye. You’ll then have an honest discussion about the current state of your eye health and vision, and your eye doctor may “prescribe” vision correction for you in the form of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Any health concerns or possibly serious vision complications will also be discussed, including the next steps you must take to preserve and protect your sight. In general, a routine eye exam will last less than an hour depending upon the number of tests you have, and may be partially or completely covered by many vision insurance plans. Visiting eye doctors as a result of a vision screening is also common, but remember: vision screenings offered by health clinics, pediatricians, public schools or local charitable organizations are not a substitute for comprehensive eye exams. Be sure to bring the findings from your screening to your eye doctor—it’s a great way to begin the discussion of your current eye health. For eye doctor visits that result from eye pain, eye discomfort or vision problems you actually can see, expect to take many of the steps involved in a routine eye exam, but specific to the symptoms you’re having. There may be a number of additional tests required as well, so it’s important—especially when suffering pain or discomfort—to allow for as much time as possible for a complete, comprehensive eye exam. And if you feel you are in an emergency situation with your eyes or your vision—don’t wait. Seek immediate emergency medical treatment.

    What to Remember

    Many vision problems and eye diseases often present minimal, if any, symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to make regular appointments to see your eye doctor. And since vision can change gradually over time, it’s important to know that you’re seeing your best, year after year. Remember the following for your next eye doctor visit:
    • Know your medical history and list of current medications
    • Know your current symptoms and be able to describe them—write them down if necessary
    • Know your family history—some eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts are hereditary
    • Ask in advance about your particular vision insurance plan, and if a co-pay will be due
    • Bring your insurance card, identification and method of payment, if necessary
    • Bring your most recent prescription for glasses or contact lenses
    • Bring your corrective eyewear to the exam
    • If undergoing a test using dilation eye drops, bring proper eye protection, like sunglasses, for after your appointment
    Most importantly, remember that eye doctors—and everyone within the eyecare practice—are there to help you see your best and feel your best   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for information material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Visiting Your Eye Care Professional

    eye doctor and patientWhether you or a loved one are having a first eye exam, a repeat eye exam, or are seeing a new eye doctor for the first time, there are a number of routine questions you can expect. But your answers to these questions during eye exams are anything but routine for your eye doctor. That’s because there are any number of factors in your medical history that can contribute to current or potential vision problems. Understanding your lifestyle and describing any visual problems you’re having helps to point your eye exam in the right direction. And there are medical conditions, medications and circumstances that can put you or a family member at a higher risk for certain eye diseases. Though the processes and procedures involved in an eye doctor visit and exam are similar for everyone—your exam is unique to you and you alone. That’s because the process of examining your visual acuity (sharpness), visual ability, and then using different machines and procedures to examine your eyes, is as individual as a fingerprint. Over time, your vision and overall health changes. That, more than anything, is why there's a general procedure to follow during an eye exam, and why it’s important to visit your eye doctor. Without eye doctor visits, these critical changes in vision and eye health may go unnoticed.

    An eye doctor visit is a process

    Beyond what you need to know going into an exam, know that visiting your eye doctor is a process you should repeat regularly to maintain eye health and ideal vision.
    1. You can expect an eye doctor visit to last about an hour or so, depending upon whether or not you’ll need to have your pupils dilated (opened up) with special drops to allow your eyecare professional to fully analyze the internal structure of the eye.
    2. Your eye doctor visit starts with a review of your eye exam history, and any visible changes in your sight, your lifestyle, and any changes in your medical condition that may affect your vision. (This includes knowing all medications you’re taking.)
    3. Then you’ll undergo simple visual acuity tests designed to check your overall vision, near vision, and side vision. These tests may reveal vision errors that need correction; errors that usually direct your exam toward special equipment used to accurately determine your prescription.
    But expect even more out of your visit to the eye doctor—because correcting vision and maintaining good eye health do require additional, regularly-performed tests.

    Visit regularly

    Visiting your eye doctor regularly is the only reliable way to maintain healthy sight and possibly prevent mild to serious eye diseases. For children, teens, and adults of all ages, an eye doctor visit needs to happen regularly; at the minimum once every two years, and more frequently if you currently have eye disease, are at risk or have diabetes, or are approaching stages in life that put you at risk for age-related eye disease.

    Things to know before eye exams

    Beyond having your vision insurance information, necessary payment and identification ready, here’s a checklist of things to know before you approach the front desk at your next eye exam.
    • What eye problems are you having now? Is your vision blurry or hazy at certain distances? Do you have problems in your side vision? Are you experiencing pain or discomfort in certain lighting situations?
    • Do you have a history of any eye problems or eye injury? Do you have a current prescription for glasses or contact lenses? Are you wearing them regularly, and if so, are you still happy with them?
    • Were you or your loved one born prematurely? Have you had any health problems in the recent such as high blood pressure or heart disease? Are you diabetic? Are you considered overweight?
    • Are you taking any medications? Do you have allergies to medications, food or other materials? Seasonal allergies?
    • Has anyone in your family (including parents) suffered from eye problems or diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration?
    • Has anyone in your family (including parents) suffered from high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes? What about other health problems that can affect the whole body like blood disorders or cancer?
    Eye exams include a detailed history because many things you might consider unrelated to vision may actually affect your current vision, or reveal potential risks for developing certain eye diseases. Be ready to provide a complete history at your next eye exam, and help the front desk, and your eye doctor, best prepare for the examination that follows.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today! 

    What to Ask

    doctor with patientIt’s essential, too, that you make the most out of your exams. We’ve included a range of questions for you to ask during your next eye exam, or if necessary, before your exam to avoid any miscommunication. We hope you find these helpful and that the information contained in our EyeGlass Guide 2.0 will help to facilitate a comprehensive and informed dialogue between you and your eye care professional.

    Questions to ask before your eye exam…

    • Do you accept my insurance plan’s vision coverage?
    • Is payment required at the time of service?
    • What will my eye exam entail?
    • How long should I expect to be there?
    • Will my pupils be dilated?
    • What should I bring with me?

    Questions to ask at your eye exam…

    • Given my age, eye condition and other risk factors, how often should I have my eyes examined?
    • At what age should I start to schedule my children for regular eye exams?
    • What lens designs and options are a good fit for me?
    • Can my glasses block UV rays?
    • Do all sunglasses protect my eyes from UV rays?
    • What are photochromic lenses and are they a good option for me?

    Things to remember

    It’s always a good idea to bring any of the following (if available) to your eye exam appointment:
    • Your insurance card/insurance information
    • A list of all medications, vitamins and other supplements you are taking
    • All pairs of prescription glasses you currently own
    • If you have it, a copy of your latest eyeglass prescription
    • Information on frames you like, or lenses you’ve researched
    Don’t forget, if participating in a flexible spending account program, you may be able to use the account to pay for portions of your eye care not covered directly by your insurance plan. To create a printable personal eyeglass suggestion based on your own preferences and lifestyle, use our interactive tool.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today! 

    Your Comprehensive Eye Exam

    Your eyes are one of the most complex organs in your body. A comprehensive eye exam to assess your visual system and eye health involves a number of different of tests. Unlike a simple vision screening, which only assesses your vision, a comprehensive eye exam includes a battery of tests in order to do a complete evaluation of the health of your eyes and your vision. The tests that you will undergo in a comprehensive eye examination may vary from eye doctor to eye doctor but here are are some common exams that you may encounter:

    Patient Background and History

    One of the most important parts in a comprehensive eye exam is your patient health history. This information will alert your doctor to any conditions that should be monitored closely, such as an allergy to any medications, current or family history of systemic or eye pathology or environmental conditions that could be affecting your vision or eye health. This will also help your doctor to determine any preventative eye care measures that are relevant to keep your eyes healthy for years to come.

    Visual Acuity

    Visual acuity is a measurement of your vision using an eye chart, the Snellen Eye Chart. In this test the patient is seated at a standard distance and is asked to read letters or symbols of various sizes, which get smaller as you move down the chart. The results are the familiar ratio of 20/20, 20/40 etc. which is a comparison of your vision compared to the average person with good vision, which is typically 20/20. For example, a patient that has 20/40 vision, can only see at 20 feet what the normal person can see from a distance of 40 feet. This test is a preliminary test of how clearly you are seeing in each eye but it does not give you a prescription for corrective lenses.

    Refraction

    Those who don’t have 20/20 vision have what is referred to in most cases as a “Refractive Error.” The patient may have nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or other eye conditions that prevent the patient from seeing 20/20. A refraction will tell the doctor which prescription lenses will correct your eyesight to achieve 20/20 vision or whichever amount your vision is correctable to. A refraction may include a couple of steps.

    Retinoscopy

    Retinoscopy is a test that allows the doctor to obtain an approximate prescription for eyeglasses. In this test the doctor uses a hand-held instrument called a retinoscope that shines a light into the patient’s eye. The doctor then analyzes the reflex of the light from the patient’s eye to determine the patient’s prescription for glasses. An instrument called a phoropter is something most patients associate with an eye exam. This space age appearing instrument, positioned in front of the patient’s face during the eye exam, gives the doctor the ability to determine the patient’s focusing ability as well as their eye alignment. The phoropter also determines which, out of the hundreds and hundreds of potential eyeglass prescriptions, will help the patient see as clear as possible. Using the phoropter, the doctor will ask the patient which series of lenses makes their vision the clearest. While retinoscopy is quite effective for children and nonverbal patients, there are now a number of computerized or automated instruments available today to help doctors accurately determine a patient’s eyeglass prescription.

    Autorefractors and Aberrometers

    Autorefractors and aberrometers are computerized machines that are able to measure your refractive error to determine your prescription for glasses or contact lenses. These instruments are usually used in addition to testing described earlier: - An autorefractor is similar to retinoscopy, which electronically analyses the light reflex from the patient’s eye. - An aberrometer measures distortions or aberrations in the cornea and lens of the eye that disrupt proper focus of light on the retina. Using wavefront technology, the instrument measures the rays of light as they pass through your eye to look for imperfections which may indicate a refractive error.

    Eye Focusing and Eye Teaming Tests

    During the comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will also want to test how your eyes function individually and together from a mechanical perspective. In order to see clearly and comfortably, your eyes need to work together as a team.

    Eye Health

    The final and most important aspect of a comprehensive eye exam is a check of your overall eye health. These tests (below) are done to identify any eye conditions or diseases, both inside the eye as well as the external parts of the eye, that could affect your vision and general health.

    Slit Lamp Test

    The slit lamp or biomicroscope is an instrument that allows the doctor to examine the internal and external parts of the eye in detail, such as the conjunctiva, iris, lens, cornea, retina and the optic nerve. The patient rests their forehead and chin on a headrest to stabilize the head, while the doctor looks into the eye with the slit lamp microscope, which is magnified with a high-intensity light. A slit lamp test enables the doctor to evaluate the eyes for signs of normal aging and eye pathology, such as conjunctivitis, cataracts, macular degeneration or retinal detachment. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases are essential for preventing vision loss.

    Tonometry

    Tonometry is a test to detect glaucoma by measuring the pressure inside your eye or IOP (intraocular pressure). Glaucoma can cause vision loss and even blindness if the IOP in the eye is too high and damages the optic nerve. The applanation tonometer, typically attached to a slit lamp, is one of the most common instruments used to measure the pressure in the eye. Prior to doing this test the doctor will numb the patient’s eyes using an anesthetic, before gently applanating (putting pressure on) the patient’s cornea to measure the pressure in the eye.

    Pupil Dilation

    During your comprehensive eye exam, your doctor may decide to do a dilated eye exam. In this test, your doctor will instill dilating drops in each eye, which would enlarge your pupils to give the doctor a better view of certain parts of the back of the eye. Dilation is done at the discretion of the doctor, with some patients dilated every year and others at specified intervals; the frequency of dilation will vary for each patient. Typically the drops take around 20 to 30 minutes to take effect and may last up to several hours following the exam; each patient is different. Since more light enters your eyes when your pupils are dilated, you will be more sensitive to bright light, especially sunlight. Although your doctor may provide disposable sunglasses, you may want to bring a pair of sunglasses to wear after the exam to make it more comfortable until the drops wear off. A comprehensive eye exam is an important part of your overall general health maintenance and should be scheduled on a regular basis. The findings from your comprehensive eye exam can give your doctor important information about your overall health, particularly diabetes and high blood pressure.

    Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

    Contact lenses are a great alternative to wearing eyeglasses. An often unknown fact is that not all patients wear contact lenses as their primary source of vision correction. Each patient is different, with some patients wearing contact lenses only on weekends, special occasions or just for sports. That is the beauty of contact lens wear, the flexibility it gives each individual patient and their lifestyle. If you decide to opt for contact lens wear, it is very important that the lenses fit properly and comfortably and that you understand contact lens safety and hygiene. A contact lens exam will include both a comprehensive eye exam to check your overall eye health, your general vision prescription and then a contact lens consultation and measurement to determine the proper lens fit.

    The Importance of a Comprehensive Eye Exam

    Whether or not you have vision problems, it is important to have your eyes checked regularly to ensure they are healthy and that there are no signs of a developing eye condition. A comprehensive eye exam will check the general health of your eyes as well as the quality of your vision. During this exam the eye doctor will determine your prescription for eyeglasses, however this prescription alone is not sufficient for contact lenses. The doctor may also check for any eye health issues that could interfere with the comfort and success of contact lens wear.

    The Contact Lens Consultation

    The contact lens industry is always developing new innovations to make contacts more comfortable, convenient and accessible. Therefore, one of the initial steps in a contact lens consultation is to discuss with your eye doctor some lifestyle and health considerations that could impact the type of contacts that suit you best. Some of the options to consider are whether you would prefer daily disposables or monthly disposable lenses, as well as soft versus rigid gas permeable (GP) lenses. If you have any particular eye conditions, such as astigmatism or dry eye syndrome, your eye doctor might have specific recommendations for the right type or brand for your optimal comfort and vision needs. Now is the time to tell your eye doctor if you would like to consider colored contact lenses as well. If you are over 40 and experience problems seeing small print, for which you need bifocals to see close objects, your eye doctor may recommend multifocal lenses or a combination of multifocal and monovision lenses to correct your unique vision needs.

    Contact Lens Fitting

    One size does not fit all when it comes to contact lenses. Your eye doctor will need to take some measurements to properly fit your contact lenses. Contact lenses that do not fit properly could cause discomfort, blurry vision or even damage the eye. Here are some of the measurements your eye doctor will take for a contact lens fitting:

    Corneal Curvature

    In order to assure that the fitting curve of the lens properly fits the curve of your eye, your doctor will measure the curvature of the cornea or front surface of the eye. The curvature is measured with an instrument called a keratometer to determine the appropriate curve for your contact lenses. If you have astigmatism, the curvature of your cornea is not perfectly round and therefore a “toric” lens, which is designed specifically for an eye with astigmatism, would be fit to provide the best vision and lens fit. In certain cases your eye doctor may decide to measure your cornea in greater detail with a mapping of the corneal surface called corneal topography.

    Pupil or Iris Size

    Your eye doctor may measure the size of your pupil or your iris (the colored area of your eye) with an instrument called a biomicroscope or slit lamp or manually with a ruler or card. This measurement is especially important if you are considering specialized lenses such as Gas Permeable (GP) contacts.

    Tear Film Evaluation

    One of the most common problems affecting contact lens wear is dry eyes. If the lenses are not kept adequately hydrated and moist, they will become uncomfortable and your eyes will feel dry, irritated and itchy. Particularly if you have dry eye syndrome, your doctor will want to make sure that you have a sufficient tear film to keep the lenses moist and comfortable, otherwise, contact lenses may not be a suitable vision option. A tear film evaluation is performed by the doctor by putting a drop of liquid dye on your eye and then viewing your tears with a slit lamp or by placing a special strip of paper under the lid to absorb the tears to see how much moisture is produced. If your tear film is weak, your eye doctor may recommend certain types of contact lenses that are more successful in maintaining moisture.

    Contact Lens Trial and Prescription

    After deciding which pair of lenses could work best with your eyes, the eye doctor may have you try on a pair of lenses to confirm the fit and comfort before finalizing and ordering your lenses. The doctor or assistant would insert the lenses and keep them in for 15-20 minutes before the doctor exams the fit, movement and tearing in your eye. If after the fitting, the lenses appear to be a good fit, your eye doctor will order the lenses for you. Your eye doctor will also provide care and hygiene instructions including how to insert and remove your lenses, how long to wear them and how to store them if relevant.

    Follow-up

    Your eye doctor may request that you schedule a follow-up appointment to check that your contact lenses are fitting properly and that your eyes are adjusting properly. If you are experiencing discomfort or dryness in your eyes you should visit your eye doctor as soon as possible. Your eye doctor may decide to try a different lens, a different contact lens disinfecting solution or to try an adjustment in your wearing schedule.

    Eye Exams for Children

    According to experts, 80% of learning is visual, which means that if your child is having difficulty seeing clearly, his or her learning can be affected.  This also goes for infants who develop and learn about the world around them through their sense of sight.  To ensure that your children have the visual resources they need to grow and develop normally, their eyes and vision should be checked by an eye doctor at certain stages of their development. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) children should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor at 6 months, 3 years, at the start of school, and then at least every 2 years following. If there are any signs that there may be a vision problem or if the child has certain risk factors (such as developmental delays, premature birth, crossed or lazy eyes, family history or previous injuries) more frequent exams are recommended. A child that wears eyeglasses or contact lenses should have his or her eyes examined yearly.  Children’s eyes can change rapidly as they grow. Eye Exams in Infants: Birth - 24 Months A baby’s visual system develops gradually over the first few months of life. They have to learn to focus and move their eyes, and use them together as a team.  The brain also needs to learn how to process the visual information from the eyes to understand and interact with the world. With the development of eyesight, comes also the foundation for motor development such as crawling, walking and hand-eye coordination. You can ensure that your baby is reaching milestones by keeping an eye on what is happening with your infant’s development and by ensuring that you schedule a comprehensive infant eye exam at 6 months.  At this exam, the eye doctor will check that the child is seeing properly and developing on track and look for conditions that could impair eye health or vision (such as strabismus(misalignment or crossing of the eyes), farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism). Since there is a higher risk of eye and vision problems if your infant was born premature or is showing signs of developmental delay, your eye doctor may require more frequent visits to keep watch on his or her progress.

    Eye Exams in Preschool Children: 2-5

    The toddler and preschool age is a period where children experience drastic growth in intellectual and motor skills.  During this time they will develop the fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and perceptual abilities that will prepare them to read and write, play sports and participate in creative activities such as drawing, sculpting or building.  This is all dependent upon good vision and visual processes. This is the age when parents should be on the lookout for signs of lazy eye (amblyopia) - when one eye doesn’t see clearly, or crossed eyes (strabismus) - when one or both eyes turns inward or outward. The earlier these conditions are treated, the higher the success rate. Parents should also be aware of any developmental delays having to do with object, number or letter recognition, color recognition or coordination, as the root of such problems can often be visual.  If you notice your child squinting, rubbing his eyes frequently, sitting very close to the tv or reading material, or generally avoiding activities such as puzzles or coloring, it is worth a trip to the eye doctor.

    Eye Exams in School-Aged Children: Ages 6-18

    Undetected or uncorrected vision problems can cause children and teens to suffer academically, socially, athletically and personally.  If your child is having trouble in school or afterschool activities there could be an underlying vision problem. Proper learning, motor development, reading, and many other skills are dependent upon not only good vision, but also the ability of your eyes to work together. Children that have problems with focusing, reading, teaming their eyes or hand-eye coordination will often experience frustration, and may exhibit behavioral problems as well. Often they don’t know that the vision they are experiencing is abnormal, so they aren’t able to express that they need help. In addition to the symptoms written above, signs of vision problems in older children include:
    • Short attention span
    • Headaches
    • Frequent blinking
    • Avoiding reading
    • Tilting the head to one side
    • Losing their place often while reading
    • Double vision
    • Poor reading comprehension

    The Eye Exam

    In addition to basic visual acuity (distance and near vision) an eye exam may assess the following visual skills that are required for learning and mobility:
    • Binocular vision: how the eyes work together as a team
    • Focusing
    • Peripheral Vision
    • Color Vision
    • Hand-eye Coordination
    • Tracking
    The doctor will also examine the area around the eye and inside the eye to check for any eye diseases or health conditions. You should tell the doctor any relevant personal history of your child such as a premature birth, developmental delays, family history of eye problems, eye injuries or medications the child is taking. This would also be the time to address any concerns or issues your child has that might indicate a vision problem. If the eye doctor does determine that your child has a vision problem, they may discuss a number of therapeutic options such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, an eye patch, vision therapy or Ortho-k, depending on the condition and the doctor’s specialty.   Since some conditions are much easier to treat when they are caught early while the eyes are still developing, it is important to diagnose any eye and vision issues as early as possible. Following the guidelines for children’s eye exams and staying alert to any signs of vision problems can help your child to reach his or her potential.

    Common Tests

    eye doctor with scopeWhile there are some basic eye vision tests common to most eye exams, children and young adults have different vision testing needs than say, a healthy middle-aged adult, or an adult with a history of eye problems. Vision testing equipment ranges from simple tools like the “Big E” eye chart (Snellen Chart) and a hand-held penlight and eye cover, to more complex devices that swap lenses in front of your eyes or use special lamps to view the eye’s structure. A comprehensive eye exam includes vision testing, and vision testing equipment that is common to almost all eye exams, but is often tailored to your age, your specific need, or your individual symptoms. The following are some common tests you may be given during a routine eye exam.   (Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!)

    Medications

    medicationIn addition to being “windows to the soul”, your eyes are also a clear indicator—or window—to your overall general health. That’s why it’s so important to understand the relationship between your eyes and any medications you may currently be using. Since eye doctors can use your eye health as a predictor or measure of your general health, all medications that could affect your eyes need to be discussed with your eye care professional.

    Can non eye-related medications affect my eyesight?

    Yes, they can. Because of its rich blood supply and relatively small mass, the eye is susceptible to certain drugs and toxic agents. Many medications, both prescription and nonprescription (over the counter) can alter the quantity or the quality of your vision, or pose a threat to your future eye health. Your current medications and healthy sight actually go hand in hand, and need to be discussed with your eye doctor.

    How can medications affect eyesight?

    Potential adverse effects of medications on your eyes can be classified into three basic categories:
    1. Medications that can cause blurred vision or alter your eyes’ ability to adjust to the environment can affect your quantity of vision.
    2. Medications that can induce glare, increase light sensitivity, or impair light-dark adaptation affect your quality of vision.
    3. Medications that can contribute to the development of ocular disorders. Certain medications can become a factor in developing disorders such as: cataracts, keratopathies, retinopathies, maculopathies, optic neuropathies, and glaucoma. These potential effects of certain medications are typically long term, potentially more serious, and pose a greater threat to vision. However, their progression can usually be prevented (or limited) if recognized early and the offending agent is discontinued or the dosage reduced.

    Are there other factors to consider connecting medications and eyesight?

    There is a growing body of experimental and epidemiological evidence connecting chronic UVR exposure with vision-threatening ocular disorders such as cataracts. Medications that either dilate the pupil (increasing the amount of UV entering the eye) or increase the effects of UV on the eye (photosensitizers) may increase the risk of developing UV-related eye disease. If you are concerned about the effects your medications may have on your eyes, or experience any eye-related side effects, you should consult your primary care doctor or eye care professional.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today! 

    Children's Vision Video

      Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Children's Vision – FAQ's

    Most parents believe that if their child had an eye or vision problem they would know. However, this is far from the truth for a number of reasons. First of all, children often can’t express or don’t realize the difficulty they are having, and often vision problems will be overlooked by the associated behavioral issues that come as a result of frustration. Further, many eye or vision problems don’t show symptoms until they have progressed significantly which often makes the condition harder to treat. Conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (crossed-eyes) can be corrected more effectively when they are diagnosed and treated early at a young age. Further, the sooner you diagnose and correct a vision problem, the sooner your child will be able to achieve his or her potential without struggling with these difficulties. This is why it is critical to have your child’s eyes examined by an eye doctor at regular intervals. Here are some FAQ’s and answers about Children’s Vision that every parent should know: Q: At what ages should children have their eyes examined? A: The official recommendations for the American and Canadian Optometric Associations are that infants should have their first eye exams at 6 months. Following that, children with no known vision issues should have another exam at 3 years and then prior to entering kindergarten. Children who do not require vision correction or therapy should have a vision checkup every year or two years and those who use vision correction should have an annual eye exam. Of course if your child is experiencing difficulty in school or after school activities that may be due to a vision problem schedule an eye exam immediately. Q: My child passed a vision screening by the nurse at school. Does he still need an eye exam? A: Yes. Many schools implement a basic vision screening test to assess whether the child sees clearly at a distance, however these tests are limited in scope. They do not assess functional vision such as the child’s ability to focus, track words on a page or the eyes’ ability to work in tandem. They also do not look at the health of the eye itself. These tests are essential to know the comprehensive picture of how healthy the eyes are and how well they are doing their job. In fact, studies shown that up to 43% of children with vision problems can pass a vision screening test! A comprehensive eye exam will assess all of these functions as well as color vision, depth perception, and eye coordination. Q: My child was diagnosed with strabismus and amblyopia. Can this be treated and if so, what are the options? A: Especially when diagnosed early, chances of a complete correction for strabismus and amblyopia are good when treated properly. The optimal age for this to occur is before 8-10 years old. Depending on the severity of the strabismus (crossed-eye), surgery may be required to straighten and properly align the crossed eyes. Amblyopia (lazy eye) can then be treated using eyeglasses, eye patching, or vision therapy to strengthen the weak eye and train the eyes to work together. A doctor that specializes in pediatric optometry can assess the condition and discuss treatment options on an individual basis. Q: What is vision therapy? A: Vision therapy is a doctor-supervised, individualized program of exercises to strengthen the functions of the eye. It is used to correct issues with eye alignment, focusing, coordination, tracking and more. Vision therapy often utilizes tools such as specialized lenses or prisms and involves exercises both during office visits and at home to reinforce the changes. The process usually takes about 6 months to see lasting improvement. Q: My son’s nearsightedness keeps getting worse - he needs a new prescription every year. Is there a way to stop this? A: There is research that shows that progressive myopia can be stopped or slowed during the childhood years. There are a number of therapies that are used for what is called “myopia control” including multifocal eyeglasses or contact lenses, orthokeratology (ortho-k) or atropine eye drops. Speak to a pediatric optometry specialist to learn more about the options and what might work best for your child. Q: Every morning it is a fight to get my child to wear her glasses. What can I do? A: It may take time for your child to adapt to the feel of the glasses and to be comfortable seeing with them. For little children, you can find glasses that come with integrated headbands that can help to hold the glasses in place. It helps to be consistent in putting them on to allow the child to adapt to the feel of the glasses. Very often, especially for small children that can’t tell you what is bothering them, the reason for a child’s refusal to wear glasses is that something is not comfortable. It could be that the prescription is not right, that the glasses pinch or that are feeling heavy. It could be worthwhile to take the glasses back to the eye doctor to ensure that they are in fact a proper fit. Q: At what age is it acceptable for a child to wear contact lenses? A: Contact lenses can be a great convenience, especially for kids that are active or tend to break or lose their glasses. However, they are a medical device that must be treated with proper care and hygiene. If a child is not responsible enough to take care of them properly he could end up with a serious eye infection, a scratched cornea or worse. Most experts agree that the youngest age that contact lenses should be considered would be between 10-12 depending on the child’s maturity and cleanliness. Consult with your eye doctor about what would be best for your child.

    Your Infant's Visual Development

    Your baby’s visual system is not fully developed at birth and continues to develop gradually over the first days and months of life. In fact, from your baby’s perspective at birth, the world is black and white, blurry and rather flat. As the days and months go on, they begin to focus, move their eyes and start to see the world around them. While each child will grow and develop on his or her own schedule, knowing an infant’s vision milestones will help you ensure that your infant is on track to achieving good vision and eye health and start treatment early if there is a problem.

    Birth - 3 months

    Because newborn babies’ eyes and visual system are underdeveloped, they can not focus their eyes on close objects or perceive depth or color. Babies need to learn to move, focus and coordinate eye movements to team the eyes (have them move together as a team). The brain also needs to learn how to process the visual information from the eyes to understand and interact with the world. In fact, until about 3 months, the optimal distance a baby can focus on is about 8 - 10 inches from their face, about the distance their parents face will be during feeding. Your baby will start to be able to perceive color within the first 2-3 weeks, however it will take a few months to learn how to focus and use the eyes, to track objects, differentiate between two objects and shift from one object to the other.  During this time you may notice that the eyes appear crossed and do not work together or team. This is quite common at the early stages of development, however if one eye appears to be constantly turned in or out, seek a doctor’s evaluation. At around three months, as hand-eye coordination begins to develop, a baby should be able to follow a moving target with their eyes and reach for objects.

    4-6 Months

    By 6 months, your baby will begin to move his eyes with more speed and accuracy, seeing at farther distances and focusing well. Color vision should be fully developed and the eyes should be able to work as a team and follow moving objects with relative ease.  Hand-eye coordination and depth perception should be greatly improved as your baby will begin to understand the 3-dimensional world around them. At six months, you should take your baby for his or her first comprehensive eye exam to ensure that the eyes are developing on track and there are no signs of congenital or infant eye disease.

    7-12 Months

    At this stage of development babies will be coordinating vision and body movements by crawling, grasping, standing and exploring the surrounding world.  They should be able judge distances accurately, throw a ball toward a target and pick up a small object with their fingers. Delays in motor development can sometimes indicate a vision problem.

    The First Eye Exam

    While at 6 months, your baby will not be able to read an eye chart, eye doctors can perform an infant eye exam through non-verbal testing to assess visual acuity (for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism), eye teaming abilities and eye alignment. The eye doctor will also be able to see inside the eye for any signs of disease or problems that could affect eye or vision health. InfantSEE® InfantSEE® is a public health program in which participating optometrists provide a free comprehensive infant eye exam to babies between 6 and 12 months of age. The program was initiated to provide accessible eye and vision care for infants to ensure they have the best chances for normal development and quality of life. If your child has any unusual symptoms such as excessive tearing, constant eye misalignment, red or crusty eyes or extreme light sensitivity  consult an eye doctor as soon as possible.

    Are Contact Lenses a Good Choice for Kids?

    Many children who wear glasses want to switch to contact lenses, especially older children who are concerned with their appearance.  So, how do you know if and when contact lenses might be an option for your child? Contact lenses may not only improve a child’s confidence in their appearance but they can also be very convenient for active children who play sports or those who tend to lose or break their glasses. Yet before you jump to schedule an appointment with the optometrist, it’s important to know that while contact lenses are a great solution for many, they are still medical devices that require care and responsibility. Carelessness with contact lenses can lead to infections, irritation, scratched corneas, pain, and sometimes even vision loss. So if you want to know if contact lenses are a good choice for your child, read below and think about whether your child is mature and responsible enough to take proper care of his or her eyes. At What Age Can a Child Start Wearing Contact Lenses? The recommended age for kids to start considering contact lenses varies however it is generally accepted that sometime between 11 and 14 is ideal. Some doctors will recommend them even for children as young as 8 years old who have shown that they are responsible enough to use them. Contact lens use requires good hygiene and cleanliness so if your child shows those traits, she may be ready. Additionally, if he is highly motivated to wear contacts and if he has the support of his parents, this will help in ensuring that the daily regimen is a success. What is the Process of Getting Fitted for Contacts? The first step is to schedule an appointment for a contact lens exam with your optometrist.  The eye doctor will perform a vision exam and go over the different options for contact lenses, depending on the prescription, the health of the eye and lifestyle and personal preferences. Contact lenses are designed with a number of options including the lens materials used (soft or rigid gas permeable), the replacement schedule (if disposable, how often you replace the pair - daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly) and the wear schedule (daily or extended overnight wear). Often doctors will recommend daily lenses for children because they are thrown away after each use so there is less care involved, less buildup and less risk for infection. Then the doctor will give a training on inserting and removing the lenses as well as instructions for proper care.  Your child will probably be given a schedule for wearing the lenses for the first week or so in order to allow their eyes to adapt.  During this time you may have to be in touch with your eye doctor to assess the comfort and fit of the lenses and you may have to try out a couple of options in order to find the best fit. Purchasing Contact Lenses As a medical device, contact lenses require a prescription and should only be purchased from a licensed distributor such as an eye doctor. Unauthorized or unmonitored contact lenses can cause severe damage to your eyes that could result in blindness. This is true also for cosmetic lenses such as colored lenses or costume lenses. Any time you are putting a lens in your eye, you must have a proper prescription. Following are some basic contact lens safety tips. If your child is responsible enough to follow these guidelines, he or she may be ready for contact lens use:
    1. Always follow the wearing schedule prescribed by your doctor.
    2. Always wash your hands with soap before applying or removing contact lenses.
    3. Never use any substance other than contact lens rinse or solution to clean contacts (even tap water is a no-no).
    4. Never reuse contact lens solution
    5. Follow the eye doctor’s advice about Don’t swimming or showering in your lenses
    6. Always remove your lenses if they are bothering you or causing irritation.
    7. Never sleep in your lenses unless they are extended wear.
    8. Never use any contact lenses that were not acquired with a prescription at an authorized source. Never purchase cosmetic lenses without a prescription!
    Contact lens use is also an ongoing process. As a child grows, the lens fit may change as well, so it is important to have annual contact lens assessments. Plus, new technology is always being developed to improve comfort and quality of contact lenses. Contact lenses are a wonderful invention but they must be used with proper care. Before you let your child take the plunge into contact lens use, make sure you review the dangers and safety guidelines.

    Controlling Nearsightedness in Children

    Childhood myopia or nearsightedness is a common condition that causes blurred distance vision and can usually be easily corrected with either glasses or contact lenses. Unfortunately, simply getting a pair of glasses doesn’t always solve the problem, because often myopia is progressive which means that every year the vision gets worse. This usually continues until sometime around the child’s 20th birthday when his eyes stop growing and eyesight levels off. It can be worrisome and quite disconcerting for both the parent and the child when each visit to the eye doctor results in a higher prescription. There could be a number of factors involved in progressive myopia, involving hereditary factors as well as possible environmental or behavioral factor such as frequent close-up tasks such as reading or using an electronic device. In fact, studies show that children that spend more time outdoors playing have a lower incidence of myopia.  Much research is currently being done into treatments for slowing or stopping myopia progression in children.  Here are some of the treatment options currently being offered:

    Orthokeratology (Ortho-k)

    Ortho-k is a process that uses specially designed rigid gas permeable contact lenses worn at night to gently reshape the cornea, eventually allowing clear vision during the day. The lenses are worn every night or every couple of nights depending on the results of the individual.  Ideal for mild to moderate myopia, ortho-k usually takes a few weeks to show results, during which time the patient may need to  temporarily continue wearing glasses or contact lenses. Studies show that the use of ortho-k can permanently reduce the progressive lengthening of the cornea which is responsible for nearsightedness and can therefore slow or stop the childhood progression of the condition.  Therefore, in addition to being used for myopia correction, it is now also being offered as a therapeutic treatment to halt myopia progression in children.

    Multifocal Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses

    Bifocal or multifocal soft contact lenses or glasses have been shown in some studies to slow myopia progression.  This therapy is based on the idea that the eye is strained from accommodating to see close up and that by providing multiple focusing powers, this allows the eye to relax when doing near work, which reduces the progression of the refractive error. This treatment has been shown to delay or slow the advancement of myopia in some children.

    Atropine Drops

    Treatment with atropine drops is another therapy that is used to relax the eye from “focusing fatigue” which may be a culprit in myopia progression. Research is still being done but some studies show that daily use of low doses of atropine drops do slow the progression of myopia. Atropine drops dilate the pupil which temporarily prevents the eye from being able to focus, thereby allowing this mechanism to relax. Research is still being done to determine dosages, but the results are promising. If your child has progressive myopia, seek out a pediatric optometrist who is knowledgeable about the options available. Finding the right treatment could give your child the gift of better eyesight for life.

    Corrective Eye Surgery Basics

    In recent years there have been tremendous advances in the field of vision correcting eye surgery which is also known as refractive or laser surgery. Corrective eye surgery offers patients clear vision without the use of glasses and contact lenses.  There are a number of types of refractive surgeries that are able to correct different vision problems, so if you are considering surgery here are some of the options you should know about.

    LASIK

    LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery is perhaps the most well-known refractive surgery today.  LASIK can help patients with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.  During the procedure, the doctor makes a flap in the outer layer of the corner to reach the underlying tissue and then uses a laser to reshape the tissue which allows the cornea to then focus light properly.  The procedure is usually painless and vision is usually clear within a few hours. Recent advances in the field have developed subcategories of LASIK surgery such as Bladeless LASIK, which uses a laser rather than a mechanical tool to make the initial flap or Wavefront (custom) LASIK which uses computer mapping to guide the reshaping of the cornea and is able to create a much more precise visual correction for very subtle optical imperfections.  There is also a procedure called Epi-LASIK in which following the procedure, the doctor applies a soft contact lens to protect the surgical area, holding the flap in place while it heals.

    PRK

    PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) also uses a laser to correct mild to moderate myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.  PRK was a precursor to LASIK which eliminated many of the complications of prior surgeries such as glare, seeing halos around lights, blurred vision and regression of vision. Unlike LASIK, the procedure only reshapes the surface of the cornea and not the underlying tissue. Consequently, there is often some discomfort for a couple of weeks until the outer layer of the cornea heals.  Additionally, the patient may experience blurred vision during this period of healing.  PRK does offer an advantage over LASIK in that there is less risk of certain complications.  Wavefront technology is also available for PRK surgeries. Due to the increased comfort of LASIK there was a period that PRK saw a decline. Recent studies show however that LASIK and PRK have similar long-term success for improved visual acuity and with the assistance of newly developed effective pain medications, PRK has become more popular again as an option.

    LASEK

    In LASEK or laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratomileusis, the doctor creates a flap smaller but similar but to LASIK, and then uses an alcohol solution to loosen the tissue around the cornea which is pushed aside, and then a laser is used to reshape the cornea itself. In an Epi-LASEK procedure, the doctor may apply a soft contact lens to hold the flap in place to assist in reattaching to the cornea as the eye heals. Patients that undergo LASEK generally experience less discomfort and quicker vision recovery than PRK patients. LASEK may be preferred over LASIK as a safer option for patients with a thin cornea.

    Cataract Surgery

    Cataract Surgery is a very common refractive surgery that removes the clouded natural lens of the eye and replaces it with an artificial lens called an IOL (intraocular lens).  Many patients these days will receive a lens that also corrects any refractive error they have such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or presbyopia.

    RLE

    RLE or refractive lens exchange is a non-laser procedure the replaces the natural lens of the eye. This is the same as the surgery that is used to treat cataracts, ,yet for non-cataract patients, RLE is used to correct severe nearsightedness or farsightedness. The procedure involves the doctor making a small cut in the cornea, removing the natural lens and replacing it with usually a silicon or plastic lens. It is particularly useful for patients with minor corneal problems such as thin corneas or dry eyes. RLE is more risky than the other procedures mentioned and can affect the patient’s ability to focus on close objects, possibly requiring reading glasses following the procedure. However,  in cases of severe vision correction it is often the preferred method.

    PRELEX

    PRELEX or presbyopic lens exchange is for patients with presbyopia, the age-related condition in which you lose the flexibility of your lens and can no longer focus on close objects.  Patients that prefer not to wear reading glasses or multifocals, can opt for a procedure in which the doctor removes the natural lens of your eye and replaces it with a multifocal artificial lens. This procedure is often done in conjunction with cataract surgery.

    Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants

    Phakic IOLs are implants that are used for individuals with very high nearsightedness who do not qualify for LASIK or PRK. The implant is attached to your iris or inserted behind your pupil, while the natural lens remains intact. Because this is a procedure that involves the inner eye, it is more risky than LASIK or PRK and is therefore also typically more expensive.

    Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)

    CK uses a hand-held radio wave device to shrink tissue on the cornea to reshape it. The procedure is typically used to treat mild farsightedness and presbyopia, particularly for patients who have already undergone LASIK. Any surgical procedure has risks and may have some side effects or complications that you should research before you decide to go ahead with the surgery. Nevertheless, as technology advances these complications are being significantly reduced making refractive surgery a great option for vision correction in many patients.

    LASIK

    LASIK or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis is a refractive surgery that is used to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism as an alternative to eyeglasses or contact lenses. LASIK is currently the most common of the refractive eye surgeries, largely because of the relatively low risk and the quick recovery and improvement in eyesight. Also known as laser eye surgery or laser vision correction, LASIK uses a laser to reshape the cornea which is responsible for clear vision. The procedure is quick and relatively painless and eyesight is usually improved to 20/20 vision within one day of the surgery. How Does LASIK Work? LASIK is an outpatient procedure, which takes about 15 minutes for the actual surgery on both eyes and an hour total with recovery. A topical anesthetic drop is used and there is no need for bandaging or stitches following the procedure. The doctor will start by stabilizing the eye and then making a small flap in the outer layer of the cornea. Then with access to the underlying tissue, he uses a laser to reshape the corneal tissue and re-closes the flap, which will heal on its own. The nature of the corneal reshaping depends on the type of refractive error. Wavefront LASIK Wavefront LASIK uses computer mapping technology to guide the laser treatment based on the precise shape of the cornea. This can correct very precise issues, provide much sharper vision than non-wavefront LASIK and can reduce complications such as halos, glare and problems seeing at night. What to Expect During and After LASIK? During the procedure you may feel some pressure on your eye while the laser is working. Immediately following you will likely experience some blurriness and may feel burning or itching (be sure not to rub your eyes!). For your journey home you will be given protective shields to guard your eyes and will need someone to drive you. You will also be prescribed medicated eye drops for a week or so to aid in healing and prevent infection. Your doctor may also recommend artificial tears to moisten the eyes and keep them comfortable in the days following the procedure. The day after the surgery you will be asked to visit your eye doctor (or the surgeon) for a checkup and to evaluate whether you are able to drive. Most people experience an improvement in vision by then, although for some it can take a few days or even a week. Your eyes may be sensitive to light for a day or two as well. You will likely be advised to rest for a day or two and to refrain from strenuous physical activity for about a week until further healing has taken place. Most people achieve at least 20/20 vision following the surgery, although this can vary and there are cases where 20/40 vision is obtained or where people continue to wear glasses or contacts with a much lesser prescription. Some patients have light sensitivity, particularly when driving at night, also suffering from seeing halos around lights or glare. There are glasses and lenses available to reduce this glare and assist with night driving. For some, it can take weeks or even months until the vision completely stabilizes. Occasionally, after a few months, patients who do not experience perfect results will schedule an enhancement or touch up surgery to correct the vision even further. Am I a Candidate for LASIK? The ideal LASIK candidate is a patient over 18 with generally healthy eyes. Since the procedure involves shaping the cornea by removing some of the tissue, it is not ideal for individuals with a thin cornea or any sort of corneal condition or disease. Patients with chronic dry eyes might also be disqualified as LASIK can often exacerbate these symptoms. During a comprehensive eye exam your eye doctor will assess your eligibility by looking at the general health of your eye including your cornea, your pupil, the moisture in your eye, the type of refractive error you have and whether you have any other eye conditions of concern. For the right candidate, LASIK can offer a lifestyle improvement in giving clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses, however, the results are not guaranteed. You and your eye doctor need to weigh the benefits and the potential risks based on your personal needs.

    LASIK Risks and Complications

    LASIK is the most common refractive eye surgery, partially due to the fact that the risks and complications are low. The majority of patients don’t experience any long term complications as a result of the surgery. Nevertheless, as with any surgical procedure there are some risks, however rare they are and it is important to know them and to discuss them with your eye doctor or surgeon prior to undergoing the surgery. Side effects of LASIK There are a number of side effects that are somewhat common immediately post-op and in some instances can last longer - sometimes indefinitely. Those include: Dry Eyes About half of LASIK patients experience dry eyes, which are usually a temporary side effect that resolves within 3-6 months after the surgery. Your doctor will likely prescribe artificial tears in the days and weeks following the surgery which should be continued as long as the symptoms persist. Because of this, it is usually recommended that patients with a history of chronic dry eyes opt for another type of refractive surgery such as PRK, another style of laser refractive surgery with reduced risk. Eye Infection or Irritation While not common due to the eye drops and checkups prescribed post surgery, there is a chance of developing an eye infection. If this does occur, it can be treated with antibiotic eye drops, anti-inflammatories or sometimes may require other treatment such as oral antibiotics. If you are experiencing symptoms of an eye infection such as redness, pain, discomfort, discharge or any change in vision, see your eye doctor immediately. As a precaution, it is imperative to follow your surgeon’s instructions for your post-operative care including prescription medications and doctor’s visits. Vision Issues Following surgery, you may experience certain vision issues such as such as poor night vision, double vision, halos around lights or glare. These side effects are common and can last up to a few weeks, but typically go away. Some patients report a lasting reduction in vision in low light conditions and may require vision aids for seeing better at night. Other risks of LASIK include surgical errors, many of which can be corrected by a follow-up surgery. These include: Overcorrection or Undercorrection The key to vision improvement in LASIK is accurate reshaping of the corneal tissue. If too much is removed or not enough is removed, your vision will remain imperfect and when possible may require a follow up procedure to obtain the clear vision being sought. Flap Complications Perhaps the greatest risk involved in LASIK is the accurate creation and healing of the flap of the cornea that is lifted to reshape the underlying tissue and replaced after. If the flap in the cornea is not made accurately, cut too thick or too thin and not carefully replaced back on the eye, it can cause complications in the shape of the eye surface and therefore clear vision. Studies indicate that these complications occur usually in under 6% of cases and the experience and skill of the surgeon play a large role. There can also be complications in the healing process of the flap which include infection or excessive eye tearing. Vision Loss There is a chance, albeit small that the surgery can result in a loss of vision or reduction in visual clarity due to complications with the surgery. It is quite rare for any permanent damage or vision loss to occur as a result of LASIK and usually any vision problems can be corrected by a follow-up procedure. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are risks, so it is important to reduce your risks by finding an experienced surgeon and carefully considering your suitability for the surgery in the first place.

    LASIK – How to Measure Success or Applicability

    Is laser eye surgery for everyone? Below are some guidelines to help you decide if LASIK is a good choice for you.
    • Vision stability: Young adults often experience annual changes in their prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. A 12-month period of maintaining the same prescription is highly recommended prior to LASIK. Otherwise there is a considerable risk of requiring repeated LASIK surgery in the future.
    • Healthy Eyes: Problems, diseases or conditions related to your eyes could cause increased risks to both the actual surgery and the healing process. If you have a condition that can be treated such as dry eyes, pink eye (conjunctivitis) or any eye injury speak to your doctor. It is probably best to wait until the condition is resolved to schedule your LASIK surgery.  Conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, and other more serious conditions may disqualify you from LASIK altogether.
    • Age: 18 is the minimum age of consent for LASIK. Younger patients may be able to get special exemptions based on certain circumstances.
    • Vision prescription range: A very high degree of myopia may require removal of too much corneal tissue. This may exclude your candidacy for LASIK or make another refractive surgery a better option. For example, many surgeons conclude that a phakic IOL procedure provides better results and possesses less risk than LASIK for nearsighted prescriptions higher than -9.00 diopters.
    • Pregnancy: Normal hormonal changes of pregnancy may cause swelling of the cornea which can alter vision. Dry eye is also common during pregnancy. Additionally, medications (antibiotics or steroids) which are administered for LASIK could cause risk to the embryo or nursing infant. It is recommended to delay LASIK for several months after childbirth until the eyes stabilize and risks are reduced.
    • Systemic and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, HIV or AIDS may disqualify or delay candidacy for LASIK. If your body has trouble healing, your cornea may not heal properly after LASIK surgery. Opinions vary among professionals as far as which diseases automatically disqualify and which ones pose acceptable risks. Discuss this in depth with your doctor if applicable.

    PRK

    Photorefractive Keratectomy or PRK is a type of refractive laser eye surgery used to correct a patient’s vision to eliminate or reduce their dependence on glasses or contact lenses. PRK is the style of laser eye surgery that preceded LASIK, having been the former most common type of refractive surgery until LASIK came along. PRK is effective in correcting nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism and has very similar rates of success and outcomes as LASIK. PRK remains a common option for laser eye surgery. How Does PRK Differ From LASIK PRK and LASIK both permanently reshape the cornea to improve vision by using a laser (an excimer laser to be exact) to remove part of the tissue underneath the corneal epithelium. The epithelium first needs to be removed in order to get access to the tissue and how this is done is what differentiates the two procedures. While LASIK creates and lifts a flap on the outer corneal layer, reshapes the corneal tissue underneath and then replaces the flap, PRK removes the outer layer of the cornea completely. The outer layer will regenerate usually within a few days. Advantages of PRK Since PRK completely removes the outer corneal layer, there is a greater area of the cornea to work with. This is ideal for patients with a thin cornea who would otherwise be at risk with LASIK. It is also usually recommended for patients with chronic dry eyes. With PRK, there is also less risk of infection or issues having to do with the flap and the related healing process. This is an advantage for individuals who lead a lifestyle in which they are at risk for eye injuries (athletes, military, law enforcement etc.) which may subject the flap to injury or complications. So, Why Is LASIK More Popular? The main advantages that LASIK has over PRK are two-fold and mainly have to do with comfort and recovery time. First of all, PRK patients usually experience slightly more discomfort during the first couple of days of recovery, mainly because it takes time for the outer corneal layer to heal. They will be prescribed eye drops to be taken for several months to prevent infection, increase comfort and assist the healing process. LASIK patients on the other hand, typically experience less discomfort and if they do, it subsides very quickly. Additionally, vision recovery takes longer with PRK. While LASIK patients can typically see normally within a few hours after the surgery, with vision gradually continuing to improve within the next few months, PRK patients may experience blurred vision for up to three days and it can take up to six months until they achieve full visual clarity. While patients who undergo LASIK can usually drive and resume normal functioning within a day or two, PRK patients shouldn’t plan on returning to normal for at least several days until the outer layer of the cornea has grown back. Whether PRK or LASIK is a better option for you depends on a number of factors, including the health and structure of your eye. This is a decision that your eye doctor or surgeon will help you make. Rest assured however, that both procedures have been shown to be incredibly successful in correcting vision, with minimal complications. What You Need to Know About PRK Prior to any laser correction surgery, you will meet with a surgeon for a thorough exam to assess your eye health and determine whether you are a candidate and if so, which type of surgery would be best suited to your needs. During this exam it is essential to tell the doctor any relevant medical history (injuries, hospitalizations, diseases etc.) and existing conditions you have. The surgeon will determine if you are currently eligible for surgery and if not, if you will be at a future point, and whether you require any specialized care pre or post surgery. The surgery itself is an ambulatory procedure. It takes about 15 minutes or less for both eyes and you go home the same day. You will need someone to drive you home from the procedure. The first step in the procedure is that your eye will be anesthetized using numbing eye drops and then a device will be inserted to prop your eyelids open so you won’t blink. Once the eye is numb, the surgeon will remove the outer epithelial layer of the cornea to expose the underlying tissue. Then the surgeon will use the laser to reshape the corneal tissue. You may feel a small amount of pressure during this step. Lastly, the surgeon will apply medicated eye drops and place a temporary contact lens that is used as a bandage to protect the eye. Following the surgery you will be instructed to apply medicated eye drops multiple times each day to reduce the risk of infection and you may also be given prescription pain relievers to alleviate any pain or discomfort. As with any type of surgery, it is critical to carefully follow your surgeon’s instructions after PRK. Make sure that you take your medication as prescribed, get enough rest, and call your eye doctor immediately if you experience any problems. It is normal for it to take several days or even weeks for your vision to improve and up to 3-6 months for full recovery to clear and stable visual acuity. Usually, your doctor will require you to refrain from driving for a week and up to three weeks depending on how fast your vision recovers. Risks and Complications of PRK While serious complications are rare, like any surgery, there are some risks to PRK, and these happen to be very similar to any laser corrective surgery like LASIK. They include:
    • Dry eyes- this condition usually goes away within a couple of months, but there is a chance that it could become chronic.
    • Infection or Inflammation- the risk of infection is greatly reduced if you take proper care to follow your doctor’s instructions following the procedure.
    • Vision Problems- which can include glare, seeing halos around lights poor night vision and sometimes a general haziness.
    • Incomplete Vision Correction - sometimes an additional procedure might be needed to achieve optimal visual acuity.
    In general, PRK is considered to be a relatively safe and effective treatment for vision correction. If you wish to live a life without depending on your glasses or contact lenses, speak to your eye doctor about whether PRK is an option for you.

    Surgery for Presbyopia

    Presbyopia is a common age-related condition in which near vision worsens due to the hardening of the lens of our eye.  It causes people to have difficulty reading and performing other tasks that require sharp and focused close vision. Symptoms begin around the age of 40 when you begin to see people with untreated presbyopia holding books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm's length in order to focus properly and avoid eye strain. Other symptoms include headaches or fatigue when trying to focus on something at close range.

    Causes of Presbyopia

    During our youth, the lens of our eye and the muscles that control it are flexible and soft, allowing us to focus on close objects and shift focus from close to distant objects without difficulty.  As the eye ages however, both the lens and the muscle fibers begin to harden, making near vision a greater challenge.

    Surgical Treatment for Presbyopia

    The most common form of treatment for presbyopia is wearing reading glasses, bifocals or progressive lenses.  Bifocal and multifocals are also available in contact lenses for those who prefer to be glasses-free.  A third option, however, is a number of surgical procedures that allow you the freedom of correcting your near vision without the use of glasses or contact lenses.

    LASIK

    Monovision LASIK

    Monovision is a technique that began with presbyopia-correcting contact lenses designed for individuals with presbyopia and nearsightedness or astigmatism. Each eye gets a different lens power - one lens is used in the dominant eye to correct for distance vision and the other for near vision.  The eyes adapt to the two lens powers by learning to use the appropriate eye for the necessary distance power.  Monovision LASIK surgery is based on the same principle of correcting each eye for a different refractive power and has shown just as high if not higher success rates than the contact lens technique.  Usually, patients will try out monovision with contacts first to ensure that it works and that the eyes adapt properly.

    PresbyLASIK

    PresbyLASIK is a procedure that is currently available in Canada and Europe and undergoing clinical trials in the United States. As opposed to monovision LASIK, this procedure is a multifocal alternative in which different rings of refractive power are created on the cornea, similar to multifocal lenses. This provides vision correction at all distances simultaneously.

    Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)

    Conductive Keratoplasty uses radio waves via a hand-held instrument to mold the corneal surface to improve near vision.  The procedure can be done on one eye using the monovision principle and is a good solution for those that do not need vision correction for nearsightedness or astigmatism. The effects of CK, however are not permanent and the improvement in near vision will diminish over time.

    Corneal Inlays or Onlays

    Corneal inlays and onlays involve surgically implanting a small lens into the eye to increase focus and near vision. The distinction between inlays and onlays is in where the lens is placed on the eye.

    Refractive Lens Exchange

    In refractive lens exchange the eye’s hardened lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) to provide multifocal vision. This surgery is similar to and often done in conjunction with cataract surgery.

    Corneal Inlays and Onlays

    Corneal inlays and onlays are corneal implants that are used to correct presbyopia, a common condition for individuals over age 40 in which the eyes have difficulty focusing on near objects. Presbyopia occurs as the lens of the eye begins to age and weaken, reducing the ability to focus on close objects without the assistance of reading glasses or another visual aid. Corneal implants, such as inlays and onlays, offer a treatment solution to correct presbyopia as an alternative to using reading glasses or multifocals to obtain clear vision at a close range. Corneal inlays and onlays are like tiny contact lenses that are inserted into the cornea which reshape it to improve the refractive power and thereby improve near vision. Unlike corrective laser surgery such as PRK or LASIK the actual corneal tissue isn’t touched, but rather the shape of the cornea is changed by the transplanted lens. Corneal inlays are placed in the stroma, the middle layer of the cornea (thus the name “in-lays”), while onlays are implanted closer to the surface of the cornea, under the epithelium, which is the thin outer layer of the cornea. The procedures for both inlays and outlays are relatively simple and quick, with minimal recovery. Corneal Inlay and Onlay procedures are still in the early stages of development and with a number of clinical trials in progress, the technology should only improve in coming years.

    Corneal Transplants

    The cornea refers to the clear, front surface of your eye. When a corneal transplant is done, officially termed keratoplasty (KP), the central part of the cornea is surgically removed and replaced with a “button” of clear and healthy corneal tissue donated from an eye bank. According to the National Eye Institute, approximately 40,000 corneal transplants are performed annually in the United States. The overall success rate for keratoplasty is relatively high, yet up to 20% of patients may reject their donor corneas. Aggressive medical treatment with steroids is generally given in response to signs of rejection, and it is often effective at subduing the negative reaction and saving the cornea. At five to ten years after KP surgery, studies report an encouraging success rate of 95% to 99%. Why are corneal transplants done? Corneal transplants are typically done when the cornea becomes damaged or scarred in a way that uncorrectable vision problems occur. These types of vision conditions are not resolved by eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive laser surgery (such as LASIK). Disease or injury is the usual culprit for the vision loss. Keratoconus is a common reason for needing a corneal transplant. In this degenerative condition, the cornea thins and bulges forward in an irregular cone shape. Rigid gas permeable (GP) contact lenses can treat mild cases by flattening the cornea, yet contacts are not effective when it comes to advanced stages of keratoconus. The National Keratoconus Foundation reports that 20% to 25% of people with keratoconus will require corneal transplant surgery to restore vision. Other corneal degenerative conditions will also result in a need for keratoplasty. Corneal ectasia is a thinning and bulging of the cornea that sometimes occurs after LASIK or other refractive vision correction procedures. In the event that this happens, a corneal transplant may be needed to restore vision. Corneal scarring, due to chemical burns, infections and other causes, is an additional reason that a corneal transplant may be indicated. Traumatic injuries to the eye are also commonly responsible. Corneal Transplant Procedure Keratoplasty is generally done on an outpatient basis, with no need for overnight hospitalization. Depending upon age, health condition and patient preference, local or general anesthesia is used. Using a laser or a trephine, this is an instrument similar to a cookie cutter, the surgeon cuts and removes a round section of damaged corneal tissue and then replaces it with the clear donor tissue. Extremely fine sutures are used to attach the donor button to the remaining cornea. The sutures remain in place for months (sometimes years) until the eye has recuperated, healed fully and is stable. Recovery from a Corneal Transplant The total healing time from keratoplasty may last up to a year or longer. At first, vision will be blurred and the site of the corneal transplant may be inflamed. In comparison to the rest of the cornea, the transplanted portion may be slightly thicker. For a few months, eye drops are applied to promote healing and encourage the body to accept the new corneal graft. A shield or eyeglasses must be worn constantly after surgery in order to protect the healing eye from any bumps. As vision improves, patients may gradually return to normal daily activities. What happens to vision post-keratoplasty? Some patients report noticeable improvement as soon as the day after surgery. Yet a great deal of astigmatism is common after a corneal transplant. A patient’s prescription for vision correction tends to fluctuate for a few months after the surgery, and significant vision changes may continue for up to a year. Hard, gas permeable contact lenses generally provide the sharpest vision after a corneal transplant. This is due to a residual irregularity of the corneal surface. Even with rigid contact lenses, eyeglasses with polycarbonate lenses must be worn in order to provide adequate protection for the eye. Once the sutures are removed and healing is complete, a laser procedure such as LASIK may be possible and advised. Refractive laser surgery can reduce astigmatism and upgrade quality of vision, sometimes to the point that no eyeglasses or contact lenses are needed.

    Cataracts

    Cataracts are one of  the leading causes of vision loss in people over 45.  A condition that commonly develops as the eye ages, by the time we reach 80, more than half of us will have developed a cataract. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye which is normally transparent. The lens, located inside the eye, behind the iris and the pupil, focuses light onto the retina at the back of your eye, where it is converted to nerve signals that are passed to the brain, allowing you to see. When your lens becomes cloudy, the images projected onto your retina become blurry and unfocused and therefore the signal to the brain is also unclear. You can compare this to looking through a dirty or cloudy window. If the window is not clear, you can’t see well. Usually cataracts develop slowly over time so your vision gradually worsens. While the majority of cataracts are a result of the aging process, there are also congenital cataracts that are present at birth, secondary cataracts that result from eye surgery or diseases such as glaucoma or diabetes and traumatic cataracts that result at any age from an injury to the eye. While you may be able to live with mild or moderate cataracts, severe cataracts are treated with surgery.  The procedure involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant. Cataract surgery is a common procedure that has a very high success rate of restoring vision to patients. Modern cataract surgery is frequently done as an outpatient procedure.  Patients will have greatly improved vision the next day, and will continue to improve over the next few weeks.  Surgery is often done in one eye first, and surgery on the second eye, if needed, may be done 2 weeks later. Learn more about the specifics of Cataracts on the links below:
    • Signs & Symptoms of Cataracts Understand the warning signs and symptoms of cataracts to prevent them from affecting your daily life.
    • Risk Factors of Cataracts Learn more about the risk factors associated with cataracts and what measures you can take to prevent or delay them.
    • Treatment for Cataracts and Cataract Surgery Treatment options for living with cataracts. Learn more about cataract surgery and how to know if it is right for you.
    • Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) If you are getting cataract surgery, there are a variety of IOLs to choose from including presbyopia-correcting IOLs, which can also correct for near vision loss associated with aging.
    • Preventing Cataracts Additional information including lifestyle factors that could impact cataracts.

    Diabetes and Eyesight

    Diabetes is a disease that affects the way we process food for energy and growth. With all forms of diabetes—type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes—the body has trouble converting sugar in the blood into energy, resulting in a host of potential health problems. Diabetes increases the likelihood that common diabetes-related vision problems or diseases might occur:
    • Diabetics are prone to developing cataracts (a clouding of the eye’s lens) at an earlier age.
    • People with diabetes are almost 50% more likely to develop glaucoma, an eye disorder that damages the optic nerve often marked by an increase of internal eye pressure.
    • Macular edema (and macular degeneration) are more common in diabetics due to malfunctioning blood vessels in the middle region of the retina responsible for central, sharp vision.
    • Most notably, diabetes can result in diabetic retinopathy; an eye disease that affects the blood vessels in the all-important retina. Nearly 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.
    That’s why there’s no separating diabetes and vision. If you have diabetes, then you should understand vision problems that increase in likelihood as a result of the disease. [eyemaginations id='6f5da2dc-43bb-4996-4cca-47dc452045ab']

    Diabetes Statistics

    Over 21 million people in the United States have diabetes, with an estimated additional 6 million people unaware they have a form of the disease. What’s more, an estimated 54 million Americans ages 40 to 74 have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. According to a recent American Optometric Association survey, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults ages 20 to 74.

    Glaucoma

    Glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable vision loss and blindness in adults in the United States and Canada and the second leading cause of blindness in the World.

    What is Glaucoma?

    Glaucoma is not a single disease. It is actually a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve due to an increase in pressure inside the eye, which is called intraocular pressure (IOP). When detected in the early stages, glaucoma can often be controlled, preventing severe vision loss and blindness. However, symptoms of noticeable vision loss often only occur once the disease has progressed. This is why glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight”. Unfortunately, once vision is lost from the disease, it usually can’t be restored. Treatments include medication or surgery that can regulate the IOP and slow down the progression of the disease to prevent further vision loss. The type of treatment depends on the type and the cause of glaucoma.

    Risk Factors

    Prevention is possible only with early detection and treatment. Since symptoms are often absent, regular eye exams which include a glaucoma screening are essential, particularly for individuals at risk of the disease. While anyone can get glaucoma, the following traits put you at a higher risk:
    • Age over 60
    • Hispanic or Latino descent, Asian descent
    • African Americans over the age of 40 (glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African Americans, 6-8 times more common than in Caucasians.)
    • Family history of glaucoma
    • Diabetics
    • People with severe nearsightedness
    • Certain medications (e.g. steroids)
    • Significant eye injury (even if it occurred in childhood)

    Understanding Glaucoma

    Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma: Due to a buildup of pressure in the eye, glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve which is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain. How does glaucoma affect your vision?

    Types of Glaucoma: There are a number of types of glaucoma, some more acute than others. Learn about the common types of glaucoma and the differences between them.

    Diagnosis and Treatment of Glaucoma: Early detection and treatment of glaucoma are essential to stopping or slowing the disease progression and saving vision. Treatment can include medicated eye drops, pills, laser procedures and minor surgical procedures depending on the type and stage of glaucoma.

    Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma

    The intraocular pressure caused by glaucoma can slowly damage the optic nerve, causing a gradual loss of vision. Vision loss begins with peripheral (side) vision, resulting in limited tunnel vision. Over time if left untreated, central vision will also be affected which will increase until it eventually causes total blindness. Unfortunately, any vision that is lost from the optic nerve damage cannot be restored.

    What are the Symptoms?

    Typically, glaucoma sets in without any symptoms. At the early onset of the most common type of glaucoma “open angle” glaucoma, vision remains normal and there is no pain or discomfort. This is why the disease is nicknamed the “sneak thief of sight”. An acute type of glaucoma, called angle-closure glaucoma, can present sudden symptoms such as foggy, blurred vision, halos around lights, eye pain, headache and even nausea. This is a medical emergency and should be assessed immediately as the intraocular pressure can become extremely high and cause permanent damage within hours.

    Types of Glaucoma

    The primary forms of glaucoma are open-angle and narrow-angle, with open-angle being the most common type.

    Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG)

    POAG gradually progresses without pain or noticeable vision loss initially affecting peripheral vision.  By the time visual symptoms appear, irreparable damage has usually occurred, however, the sooner treatment starts the more vision loss can be prevented.  When untreated, vision loss will eventually result in total loss of side vision (or tunnel vision) and eventually total vision loss.

    Normal-tension glaucoma or low-tension glaucoma

    This is another form of open-angle glaucoma in which the intraocular pressure remains within the normal level. The cause of this form of glaucoma is not known, but it is believed to have something to do with insufficient blood flow to the optic nerve, causing damage. Individuals of Japanese descent, women and those with a history of vascular disease or low blood pressure are at higher risk.

    Angle-closure glaucoma

    Acute angle-closure glaucoma is marked by a sudden increase in eye pressure, which can cause severe pain, blurred vision, halos, nausea, and headaches. The pressure is caused by a blockage in the fluid at the front of the eye which is a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. Without prompt treatment to clear the blockage vision can be permanently lost.

    Congenital glaucoma

    The inherited form of the disease that is present at birth. In these cases, babies are born with a defect that slows the normal drainage of fluid out of the eye; they are usually diagnosed by the time they turn one. There are typically some noticeable symptoms such as excessive tearing, cloudiness or haziness of the eyes, large or protruding eyes or light sensitivity. Surgery is usually performed, with a very high success rate, to restore full vision.

    Secondary glaucomas

    Glaucoma can develop as a complication of eye surgeries, injuries or other medical conditions such as cataracts, tumors, or a condition called uveitis which causes inflammation. Uncontrolled high blood pressure or diabetes can result in another serious form called neovascular glaucoma.

    Pigmentary glaucoma

    A rare form of glaucoma, this occurs when pigment from the iris sheds and clogs the drainage of fluid from the eye resulting in inflammation and damage to the eye and drainage system. Treatment of glaucoma is dependant upon the severity and type of glaucoma present.

    Glaucoma Diagnosis and Treatment

    Detecting Glaucoma

    During a routine comprehensive eye exam to check for glaucoma, your eye doctor will dilate your eye to examine the optic nerve for signs of glaucoma and will also measure the intraocular pressure (IOP) with an instrument called a tonometer.

    IOP Measurement

    Tonometry involves numbing the eye with drops and then gently pressing on the surface of the eye to measure the pressure. Since your IOP can fluctuate throughout the day and glaucoma can exist without elevated IOP this is not enough to rule out the disease. If there are signs of the disease, further testing will be performed.

    Visual Field Test

    A visual field test is designed to detect any blind spots in your peripheral or side field of vision. You will be asked to place your head in front of a machine while looking ahead and indicate when you see a signal in your peripheral field of view.

    Retina Testing

    Your doctor may also measure the thickness of the cornea with an ultrasonic wave instrument in a test called pachymetry or use imaging techniques such as digital retina scanning or optical coherence tomography (OCT) to create an image of your optic nerve to look for glaucoma damage.

    Treating Glaucoma

    Treatment for glaucoma depends on the type and severity of the disease and can include medication such as eye drops or pills or laser or traditional surgery.

    Medication

    Medication and drops to lower IOP are often the first resort for controlling pressure-related glaucoma. These drops may have some uncomfortable side effects, but compliance with the treatment plan is essential for preserving vision and halting the progression of the disease.

    Surgery

    Surgical procedures are designed to control the flow of fluids through the eye by either decreasing the amount of fluid produced or improving the drainage. Your doctor may decide that a combination of surgery and medication will be the most effective in many cases.

    Prevention

    It cannot be stressed enough that the most effective treatment for glaucoma happens when the disease is detected and treated early before significant vision loss occurs. Any vision that is lost cannot be restored. This is why the best prevention is awareness by knowing your risks and taking responsibility by having your eyes examined on a regular basis.

    Macular Degeneration Information

    Macular Degeneration There are various types of macular degeneration. However, the most common form is associated with aging, this eye disease is also called age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). The main symptom of Macular Degeneration is slowly losing vision in the central part of sight. This loss precludes the ability to do many everyday activities, including reading and driving. It also reduces your ability to see intricate details such as small prints and patterns. The leading cause of vision loss in older Americans, 60 and older, is ARMD. There are two forms of this disease, wet macular degeneration and dry macular degeneration. Both forms affect the central portion of the retina, which is the light-sensitive section located in the back of the eye. This part of the eye processes images and is essentially responsible for sight. The dry form of ARMD is more common than the wet form. In fact, almost 90% of ARMD is the dry form. Statistics The leading cause of losing vision in people over 60 years of age is macular degeneration. There are various risk factors, including smoking, obesity, and exposure to UV rays. Caucasians are at a significantly greater risk for contracting ARMD than African Americans. Additionally, macular degeneration affects women in greater numbers than men, and has a genetic component.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

    Amblyopia, which is also called “lazy eye”, is a disorder that affects the visual development in children. Amblyopia is difficult to correct just with the use of contact lenses, or eyeglasses. Ambylopia can cause vision loss if it is not treated early and properly. This vision disorder affects 2-3% of the population. What are the symptoms of Amblyopia? Usually children that are born with amblyopia, the symptoms start in early childhood. Some signs of amblyopia in children are squinting, closing one eye in order to see better, poor general vision, headaches, and eyestrain. Usually caretakers such as parents, caregivers, doctors, or nurses notice these symptoms and recommend the child for treatment. What are the causes of Amblyopia? Strabismus is usually the cause of amblyopia. Strabismus is the eyes aligning incorrectly. Amblyopia can also be caused when there is a large difference between the eyes in refractive errors (prescription much higher in one eye than the other). For example, one eye is nearsighted, while the other is farsighted. If amblyopia is not treated, the brain will learn to disregard the vision in the eye with amblyopia. The eye that is disregarded does not grow with clear image and vision loss can be permanent.  This is why it is very important to get early treatment and take your child to see your eye doctor if any signs are apparent. How is Amblyopia treated? There are several treatments for amblyopia, depending on the cause. Often children are treated using vision therapy, which usually includes a patch on the better eye. Other treatments are atropine eye drops, correct prescription eyeglasses, or surgery. Vision Therapy Vision therapy consists of eye exercises, which aim to teach the eyes to work together. In cases of amblyopia, the exercises require the brain to recognize the affected eye, which restores vision in that eye. Some doctors place a patch over the more functional eye, which forces the less functional eye to work harder and become stronger. The patch is generally worn for a few hours a day.  Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment can last for weeks or months. Some children refuse to wear a patch, in those cases, a prosthetic contact lens is available. These contact lenses look like the regular eye, and are designed to block vision in that eye. Atropine drops Some doctors use atropine eye drops to treat amblyopia. These drops blur vision in the child’s better eye, forcing the weaker eye to work harder and get stronger. In the morning, one drop is instilled under eye doctor’s instructions. The advantage to this method of treatment is that the patch is avoided. Prescription eyeglasses If your child has developed amblyopia because of uncorrected vision, sometimes all that is needed is a pair of eyeglasses. When there is strong uncorrected prescription, or when there is a large difference in prescription between the two eyes, sometimes amblyopia can result. Your eye doctor may recommend eye patch therapy in addition to corrective lenses. Surgery Strabismus surgery is usually required if the amblyopia is due to a large eye turn. This type of surgery aligns the eyes and corrects the problem within the eye muscles. After the surgery the eyes will able to focus better.  Additional vision therapy may be required after strabismus surgery. Amblyopia must be treated as early as possible as there is no chance that it will resolve by itself. Untreated amblyopia can lead to permanent vision loss in that eye and reduced depth perception. Amblyopia needs to be treated promptly so that your child can have the best vision possible in childhood and later in life. When amblyopia is diagnosed and treated before age 9, the weaker eye can often develop significantly better vision.  The most critical time to treat amblyopia is from 3 to 6 years of age.  If you or anyone sees any signs of amblyopia, go to your eye doctor to find the best treatment for your child.

    Astigmatism

    Many people have never heard of astigmatism, although it is an extremely common eye condition. Astigmatism is one type of refractive error. Nearsightedness and farsightedness are other types of refractive error. Refractive errors are not eye diseases. Refractive error is a result of and imperfection of the size and shape of the eye, which results in blurry or double vision. If left untreated, astigmatism may cause eyestrain, headaches, and blurry vision. If you have astigmatism you may not see objects in the distance or near without some form of distortion.

    Symptoms of Astigmatism

    Small amounts of astigmatism can go unnoticed, however, you may be suffering from eye fatigue, eyestrain, and headaches. Astigmatism is a condition that usually can develops early in childhood. According to a study from The Ohio State University School of Optometry, 28% of school age children suffer from astigmatism.  Parents should be aware that their children might not notice that their vision is blurry, not understanding that this is not normal.  Nevertheless, astigmatism should be treated because vision problems can lead to learning problems and in extracurricular activities.  Make sure to have your child’s eyes examined at an eye doctor’s office at least once a year.

    Causes of Astigmatism

    Astigmatism is generally caused by a cornea with an irregular shape. The cornea is the front, clear layer of the eye.  With astigmatism, the cornea is not round and spherical and is instead irregular having two curves instead of one curve.  Astigmatism in some cases could also be caused by the lens located inside the eye that is irregular in shape. Eyes with astigmatism distort the light that comes into the eyes because the cornea is irregularly shaped. This causes the light rays entering the eye to create two images in the back of the eye (because of the two curves), instead of one image. This is what causes the distortion in sight.

    Treatments for Astigmatism

    For most people, their astigmatism is fully corrected using prescription glasses or contact lenses. If you select contact lenses to correct your vision, soft contact lenses are the most common option. If for whatever reason soft contact lenses are not an option, rigid gas permeable (RGP or GP) are also a great choice.  Rigid gas permeable lenses usually give the clearest vision but the adaptation process will be significantly longer.  Another option are hybrid contact lenses. These contacts have a center made from a rigid gas permeable (RGP) lens and an outer ring made of soft contact lens material. This type of lens provides both excellent clarity and comfort.  LASIK could be another option to correct astigmatism.  LASIK usually only corrects low levels of astigmatism and some patients with higher levels of astigmatism might not be candidates.

    Blepharitis

    Blepharitis is an eye condition characterized by an inflammation of the eyelids which causes redness, itching and irritation. The common eye condition is caused by either a skin disorder or a bacterial infection. Blepharitis is generally not contagious and can affect patients of any age. While it can be very uncomfortable, it usually does not pose any danger to your vision. There are two types of blepharitis: anterior and posterior. Anterior blepharitis occurs on the front of your eyelids in the area where the eyelashes attach to the lid. This form is less common and is usually caused by a bacterial infection or seborrheic dermatitis, which is a skin disorder (dandruff) that causes flaking and itching of the skin on the scalp and eyebrows. While it is more rare, allergies or mites on the eyelashes can also lead to this condition. Posterior blepharitis occurs on the inner eyelid that is closer to the actual eyeball. This more common form is often caused by rosacea, dandruff or meibomian gland problems which affect the production of oil in your eyelids. Symptoms of Blepharitis Blepharitis can vary greatly in severity and cause a variety of symptoms which include:
    • Red, swollen eyelids
    • Itching
    • Burning or gritty sensation
    • Excessive tearing
    • Dry eyes
    • Crusting on eyelids
    If left untreated, symptoms can become more severe such as:
    • Blurred vision
    • Infections and styes
    • Loss of eyelashes or crooked eyelashes
    • Eye inflammation or erosion, particularly the cornea
    • Dilated capillaries
    • Irregular eyelid margin
    Treatment for Blepharitis Treatment for blepharitis depends on the cause of the condition but a very important aspect is keeping the eyelids clean. Warm compresses are usually recommended to soak the lids and loosen any crust to be washed away. It is recommended to use a gentle cleaner (baby soap or an over the counter lid-cleansing agent) to clean the area. For bacterial infections, antibiotic drops or ointments may be prescribed, and in serious cases steroidal treatment (usually drops) may be used. Blepharitis is typically a recurring condition so here are some tips for dealing with flare-ups:
    • Use an anti-dandruff shampoo when washing your hair
    • Massage the eyelids to release the oil from the meibomian glands
    • Use artificial tears to moisten eyes when they feel dry
    • Consider breaking from use of contact lenses during the time of the flare-up and or switching to daily disposable lenses.
    The most important way to increase your comfort with blepharitis is by keeping good eyelid hygiene. Speak to your doctor about products that he or she recommends.

    CMV Retinitis

    CMV or cytomegalovirus retinitis is a vision threatening virus that causes inflammation of the retina, primarily in individuals with a compromised immune system, such as those with AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). Symptoms of CMV Retinitis Symptoms of CMV retinitis often appear relatively suddenly. They include general blurriness, seeing flashes or floaters, sudden loss of peripheral (side) vision, or blind spots in central vision. These symptoms all appear as the virus attacks the retina, the light-sensitive layer of nerves at the back of the eye. If left untreated, the virus can cause retinal detachment and will eventually destroy the retina and damage the optic nerve, causing permanent vision loss. Usually there is no pain felt as the retinal damage is taking place. Symptoms usually start in one eye and but can spread to the other eye as well. Causes of CMV Retinitis Cytomegalovirus is a herpes type virus that is actually present in most adults. However, most healthy adults never experience any symptoms or problems from the virus. Individuals with a weakened immune system however, such as those with AIDS, chemotherapy or leukemia patients, newborns or the elderly are at greater risk of the virus being activated and spreading throughout the body, including the retina. Treatment for CMV Retinitis Treatment includes antiviral medications such as ganciclovir, foscarnet or cidofovir, which can be administered orally, via injection through a vein or directly into the eye or through a time-release implant the releases the medication at intervals. Laser surgery to improve the damaged area of the retina, such as in a retinal detachment, may also be prescribed. Immune strengthening is also a critical part of preventing and treating CMV retinitis. Individuals with HIV or AIDS may be put on a regimen of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to boost the immune system and fight the virus. This has been shown to be highly effective in reducing the incidence of CMV retinitis in AIDS patients and reducing the damage for those that are affected. While these treatments can stop further damage to the retina, any vision that is lost cannot be restored. Further, even if the virus is temporarily stopped, further progression may occur in the future. This is why it is critical to see a retinal specialist on a regular basis if you have had the condition or you are at risk.

    Corneal Transplant

    A cornea transplant, also known as keratoplasty or a corneal graft, replaces damaged tissue on the clear front surface of the eye. When disease or injury damages the cornea, eyesight is affected. Light that enters the eye becomes scattered, resulting in blurred or distorted vision. When the cornea is extremely scarred or damaged, a corneal transplant is needed to restore functional vision. Keratoplasty is performed routinely and is regarded as the most successful of all tissue transplants. According to the National Keratoconus Foundation, over 40,000 cornea transplants are done annually in the United States. In recent years, an innovative type of corneal transplant has gained popularity. Known as Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK), this new procedure removes a smaller and thinner portion of the cornea. In 2009, DSEK was declared by the American Academy of Ophthalmology as superior to the conventional surgery because it may provide better vision outcomes and more eye stability. It is also associated with less risk factors. However, when the majority of the cornea is damaged, a more comprehensive removal may still be necessary to facilitate a successful transplant. Criteria for a Corneal Transplant A multitude of reasons indicate candidacy for a corneal transplant. Possible reasons include:
    •  Eye diseases, such as keratoconus
    •  Complications from laser surgery, such as LASIK
    •  Extreme inflammation on the cornea
    •  Scarring as a result of infections, such as eye herpes or fungal keratitis
    •  Thinning of the cornea and an irregular shaped cornea
    •  Hereditary factors
    •  Corneal failure due to previous surgical procedures
    •  Chemical burns or injuries that damaged to the cornea
    Cornea Transplant Procedure Once a patient has been recommended and approved for a corneal transplant to restore vision, the patient’s name is added to a list at an eye bank. The United States has a very advanced eye bank system, and the general wait time for a donor eye is one to two weeks. The tissue of donor corneas is checked for clarity and screened meticulously for disease before it is released for transplant. The actual surgery is generally performed as an outpatient procedure that does not require hospitalization. General or local anesthesia may be used, depending upon the patient’s preference, age and health condition. Local anesthesia is injected into the skin surrounding the eye, which relaxes the muscles that control movement and blinking. Eye drops numb the eye itself. Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the surgeon inspects and measures the damaged corneal area in order to decide upon the size of the transplantation. Eyelids are held open during this time. The surgeon then removes a round, button-shaped piece of the corneal tissue and replaces it with a nearly identical sized button of donor tissue. The new, healthy tissue is sutured into place. The entire procedure takes approximately one to two hours. Following the surgery, a plastic shield must be worn over the eye in order to protect it against any inadvertent bumps or rubbing. Rejection of the Corneal Graft Although the vast majority of cornea transplants are successful, sometimes the new tissue is rejected. Warning signs of rejection include:
    •  Extreme sensitivity to light
    •  Redness
    •  Pain
    •  Decreased vision
    These symptoms may be experienced as soon as one month after the surgery, or as delayed as five years later. Medications can be prescribed to reverse the rejection process. If the corneal graft fails completely, the transplant can be repeated and the outcome is generally positive. Yet the total rejection rates do increase with the total number of corneal transplants. Recovery and Healing It can take up to a year or longer to heal completely from a corneal transplant. At the beginning, vision is blurry and the transplant site is often swollen and thicker than the rest of the cornea. As vision returns, patients are able to return to normal daily tasks and most people can return to work within three to seven days after surgery. However, heavy lifting and exercise must be avoided for the first few weeks. To help the body accept the corneal graft, steroid eye drops must be applied for several months. A pair of eyeglasses or a protective shield must also be worn for eye safety. Depending upon the health of the eye and the healing rate, stitches may be removed at any time from three months to more than a year later. Astigmatism often occurs as a result of an irregular corneal surface, and adjustments may be made to the sutures around the new cornea in an effort to reduce this problem. Vision after a Cornea Transplant Vision improvement after a cornea transplant is a process that can last up to one year later. Eyeglasses or contact lenses must be worn immediately after the surgery, since the curvature of the corneal transplant will not precisely match the natural corneal curve. When healing is complete and stitches are removed, laser surgery may be indicated to correct vision. LASIK or PRK are both procedures that can help decrease dependence on eyeglasses or contacts. An irregular corneal surface may point to the need to wear rigid gas permeable (GP) contact lenses for vision correction.

    Dry Eye Syndrome

    Dry eye syndrome (DES or dry eye) is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Its consequences range from minor irritation to the inability to wear contact lenses and an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections. [eyemaginations id='144a5ce4-4ed8-42ae-422e-45ac41a94240,11c64c1a-4d7e-4bfc-4e88-4b3e410545d4,2943386f-41c8-49ee-406c-47bb4e0540b1,20b4714-4584-4987-4c8b-40bd43ca45e0,49c268d-4316-443e-4a42-460d41e74185,4c90f2f7-4114-4c89-4ad5-4ada4c2c4d6e']

    Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye

    Persistent dryness, scratchiness and a burning sensation on your eyes are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. These symptoms alone may be enough for your eye doctor to diagnose dry eye syndrome. Sometimes, he or she may want to measure the amount of tears in your eyes. A thin strip of filter paper placed at the edge of the eye, called a Schirmer test, is one way of measuring this. Some people with dry eyes also experience a "foreign body sensation” – the feeling that something is in the eye. And it may seem odd, but sometimes dry eye syndrome can cause watery eyes, because the excessive dryness works to overstimulate production of the watery component of your eye's tears.

    What Causes Dry Eyes?

    In dry eye syndrome, the tear glands that moisturize the eye don't produce enough tears, or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly. Dry eye syndrome has several causes. It occurs:
    • As a part of the natural aging process, especially among women over age 40.
    • As a side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson's medications and birth control pills.
    • Because you live in a dry, dusty or windy climate with low humidity.
    If your home or office has air conditioning or a dry heating system, that too can dry out your eyes. Another cause is insufficient blinking, such as when you're staring at a computer screen all day. Dry eyes are also associated with certain systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea or Sjogren's Syndrome (a triad of dry eyes, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis or lupus). Long-term contact lens wear, incomplete closure of the eyelids, eyelid disease and a deficiency of the tear-producing glands are other causes. Dry eye syndrome is more common in women, possibly due to hormone fluctuations. Recent research suggests that smoking, too, can increase your risk of dry eye syndrome. Dry eye has also been associated with incomplete lid closure following blepharoplasty – a popular cosmetic surgery to eliminate droopy eyelids.

    Treatment for Dry Eye

    Dry eye syndrome is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye – including dryness, scratchiness and burning – can usually be successfully managed. Your eyecare practitioner may recommend artificial tears, which are lubricating eye drops that may alleviate the dry, scratchy feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye. Prescription eye drops for dry eye go one step further: they help increase your tear production. In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe a steroid for more immediate short-term relief. Another option for dry eye treatment involves a tiny insert filled with a lubricating ingredient. The insert is placed just inside the lower eyelid, where it continuously releases lubrication throughout the day. If you wear contact lenses, be aware that many artificial tears cannot be used during contact lens wear. You may need to remove your lenses before using the drops. Wait 15 minutes or longer (check the label) before reinserting them. For mild dry eye, contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Switching to another lens brand could also help. Check the label, but better yet, check with your doctor before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Your eye doctor will know which formulas are effective and long-lasting and which are not, as well as which eye drops will work with your contact lenses. To reduce the effects of sun, wind and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound styles offer the best protection. Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that's too dry because of air conditioning or heating. For more significant cases of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes more moist. If your dry eye is caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), your doctor may recommend warm compresses and suggest an in-office procedure to clear the blocked glands and restore normal function. Doctors sometimes also recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also offer some relief. If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first. Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo. If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery, as well.

    Eye Allergies

    Along with congestion, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, headaches and difficulty breathing, individuals with allergies often suffer from eye allergies or allergic conjunctivitis resulting in red, watery, itchy and sometimes swollen eyes.  Just as irritants cause an allergic response in your nasal and respiratory system, your eyes also react with an oversensitive immune response, triggered by an environmental substance that most people’s immune systems ignore. Most individuals with allergies also suffer from eye allergies which affect millions of North Americans, particularly with seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) which is common during the spring,  summer and fall.

    What Causes An Eye Allergy?

    Eye allergies, or any allergies for that matter, occur when the immune system is hypersensitized to a stimulus in the environment that comes into contact with the eye.  The allergen stimulates the antibodies in the cells of your eyes to respond by releasing histamine and other chemicals that cause the eyes and surrounding tissue to become inflamed, red, watery, burning and itchy. Eye allergens can include:
    • Airborne substances found in nature such as pollen from flowers, grass or trees.
    • Indoor allergens such as pet dander, dust or mold.
    • Irritants such as cosmetics, chemicals, cigarette smoke, or perfume.

    Tips for Coping With Eye Allergies

    Allergies can go from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating.  Knowing how to alleviate symptoms and reduce exposure can greatly improve your comfort and quality of life, particularly during allergy season which can last from April until October. To reduce exposure to allergens:
    1. Stay indoors and keep windows closed when pollen counts are high, especially in the mid-morning and early evening.
    2. Wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes, not only from UV rays, but also from airborne allergens.
    3. Avoid rubbing your eyes, this can intensify symptoms and increase irritation. When the eyes get itchy, it is difficult not to rub and scratch them.  However, rubbing the eyes can aggravate the allergic cascade response, making them more swollen, red, and uncomfortable.
    4. Check and regularly clean your air conditioning filters.
    5. Keep pets outdoors if you have pet allergies and wash your hands after petting an animal.
    6. Use dust-mite-proof covers on bedding and pillows and wash linens frequently.
    7. Clean surfaces with a damp cloth rather than dusting or dry sweeping.
    8. Remove any mold in your home.
    9. Reducing contact lens wear during allergy season or switch to daily disposable contact lenses.
    Treatment for the uncomfortable symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include over-the-counter and prescription drops and medications.  It is best to know the source of the allergy reaction to avoid symptoms.  Often people wait until the allergy response is more severe to take allergy medication, but most allergy medications work best when taken just prior to being exposed to the allergen.  Consult your eye doctor about your symptoms and which treatment is best for you. Non-prescription medications include:
    • Artificial tears (to reduce dryness)
    • Decongestant eyedrops
    • Oral antihistamines
    Prescription medications include eyedrops such as antihistamines, mast-cell stabilizers, or stronger decongestants as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids. Immunotherapy which are allergy injections given by an allergist are sometimes also helpful to assist your body in building up immunity to the allergens that elicit the allergic response. If no allergy medicine is on hand, even cool compresses and artificial tears can help alleviate symptoms. Finding the right treatment for your allergies can make all the difference in your quality of life, particularly during the time of year when most of us like to enjoy the outdoors.

    Eye Floaters and Spots

    Eye floaters are spots, squiggles or flecks that appear to drift into your visual field. Usually they are harmless, a benign, albeit annoying sign of aging. If however, your floaters are accompanied by a sudden loss of vision, pain or flashes, they could be a sign of an underlying serious eye condition and should be checked out by an eye doctor as soon as possible. What are Eye Floaters and Spots? Floaters, like their name, are specks or spots that float in and out of your visual field. Usually they move away when you try to focus on them. They can appear as dark dots, threads, squiggles, webs, or even rings. But what causes them to appear? Floaters are shadows from clumps of fibers within the vitreous, the jelly-like substance in your eye, that are cast on the retina at the back of the eye. Usually, floaters don’t go away, but you tend to get used to them and eventually notice them less. Patients usually see them more when they are looking at a plain background, like the blue sky or a white wall. In most cases, there is no treatment for floaters, people just get used to them, however if there are more serious symptoms that accompany them, there could be an underlying problem such as inflammation, diabetes or a retinal tear that needs to be addressed and treated. If the floaters are so serious that they are blocking your vision, a surgical procedure to remove the clumps may be performed. What Causes Floaters? Age: Although floaters may be present at any age, they are often more apparent as a result of aging. With time, the fibers in the vitreous begin to shrink and clump up as they pull away from the back of the eye. These clumps block some of the light passing through your eye, causing the shadows which appear as floaters. You are also more likely to develop floaters if you are nearsighted. Eye Surgery or Injury: Individuals who have previously had an injury, trauma or eye surgery are more susceptible to floaters. This includes cataract surgery and laser surgery as well as other types of eye surgery. Eye Disease: Certain eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, eye tumors or severe inflammation can lead to floaters. Retinal Tears or Detachment: Retinal tears or detachments can be a cause of floaters. A torn retina can lead to a retinal detachment which is a very serious condition where the retina separates from the back of the eye and if untreated can lead to permanent vision loss. When to See a Doctor There are some cases where seeing spots is accompanied by other symptoms that could be a sign that there is a more serious underlying problem. The most common of these is seeing flashes of light. This often happens when the vitreous is pulling on the retina which would be a warning sign of a retinal detachment. Retinal detachment must be treated immediately or you can risk a permanent loss of vision. Flashes of light sometimes also appear as symptoms of migraine headaches. If you experience a sudden onset or increase in floaters, flashes of light, pain, loss of side vision or other vision disturbances, see a doctor immediately. Further, if you have recently had eye surgery or a trauma and you are experiencing floaters during your recovery, it is advised to tell your doctor. Generally, floaters are merely a harmless annoyance but keep an eye on your symptoms. As with any sudden or serious change in your health, it is worth having them checked out if they are really bothering you. In some cases, they may be an early warning sign of a serious problem that requires swift treatment to preserve your vision.

    Farsighted (Hyperopia)

    Farsightedness or hyperopia is a refractive error in which distant objects are clear, while close objects appear blurry. A refractive error occurs when the eye is not able to refract (or bend) the light that comes in into a single point of focus, therefore not allowing images to be seen clearly. Nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are the most common types of refractive error. What Causes Hyperopia? Hyperopia is usually caused when the shape of the eye is shortened or the cornea (which is the clear front surface of the eye) is flatter than normal. This prevents light that enters the eye from focusing properly on the retina, and rather focuses behind it. This condition causes close objects to appear blurry, while typically objects at a distance remain clear. Farsightedness, which is less common than nearsightedness, is often an inherited condition. It is common in children who experience some amount of hyperopia during development which they will eventually grow out of as the eye continues to grow and lengthen. Sometimes these children don’t even have symptoms as their eyes are able to accommodate to make up for the error. Symptoms of Hyperopia Symptoms of hyperopia vary. As mentioned, sometimes people with hyperopia don’t experience any symptoms while others will experience severe vision difficulties. In addition to blurred near vision, often squinting, eye strain and headaches will occur when focusing on near objects. Treatment for Farsightedness Farsightedness is easily treated with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. These lenses, will correct for the refractive error by changing the way the light bends upon entering the eyes. Refractive eye surgeries such as LASIK or PRK that reshape the cornea may also be options for vision correction. Treatment for farsightedness depends on a number of factors including your age, lifestyle, eye health and overall health. Farsightedness vs. Presbyopia Farsightedness is not the same as presbyopia, an age-related condition that also affects one’s ability to see near objects clearly. Presbyopia is caused when the natural lens of the eye begins to age and stiffens, causing difficulty focusing. Farsightedness or hyperopia is a common refractive error that is easily treated. If you are experiencing difficulty seeing close objects it’s worth having an eye exam to determine the cause, ensure your eyes are healthy and to find a solution to improve your vision and quality of life.

    Keratoconus

    Keratoconus is a rare, progressive disease that affects the cornea, which is the clear, transparent layer at the front of the eye. The cornea is responsible for focusing the light that comes into your eye onto the retina for clear, sharp vision. Keratoconus causes the corneal tissue to thin out and bulge into a cone-like shape which deflects the light entering the eye and distorts vision. Causes of Keratoconus The exact cause of keratoconus is not known. The disease usually starts to appear in the late teens or twenties and can affect one or both eyes, usually progressing at a slow pace and slowing or stabilizing after around 10-20 years. It is believed that there is a genetic component as often it runs in families. New research suggests that there may be a link between keratoconus and oxidative damage which weakens the cornea. There is also an association with overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and chronic eye irritation. Symptoms of Keratoconus With the gradual change in the shape of the cornea, vision becomes progressively worse. The patient may experience nearsightedness, astigmatism, distorted vision (straight lines look wavy), blurry vision, light sensitivity and glare, and eye redness or swelling. Typically, patient’s eyeglass prescription will change often as the vision becomes worse and contact lenses will be difficult to wear due to discomfort and improper fit. When keratoconus become more severe (which usually takes a long time however on occasion can happen rather quickly), the cornea can begin to swell and form scar tissue. This scar tissue can result in even further visual distortion and blurred vision. Treatment for Keratoconus In the early stages of the disease, standard eyeglasses and soft contact lenses will usually correct the nearsightedness and astigmatism experienced by the patient. As the disease progresses however, glasses and soft contact lenses may no longer correct vision and soft lenses may become uncomfortable. This is when other forms of vision correction will be recommended. Gas Permeable and Scleral Contact Lenses At the more advanced stage of keratoconus rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses, scleral or semi-scleral lenses may be used for increased comfort and visual acuity. Since they are more rigid, RGP and scleral lenses are able to create a smooth, round shape around the cornea, creating a smoother surface for better vision. Scleral or semi-scleral lenses have a larger diameter which covers the entire cornea and reaches over into the white part of the eye, which is known as the sclera. Many patients find these more comfortable than regular RGPs and find that they move around less when the eyes move. The main disadvantage of these rigid lenses is that for some, they are somewhat less comfortable than soft lenses and they must be continually refit as the shape of the eye changes. Whether it is glasses or contact lenses being used to correct vision, patients will likely have to undergo many tests and prescription changes as their vision needs change. Intacs Intacs are small, surgically implanted plastic inserts which are placed on the cornea to flatten it back to shape. Usually they are able to restore clear vision, with the continued use of glasses. Intacs are often recommended when contact lenses and eyeglasses are no longer able to correct vision adequately. Intacs take about 10 minutes to insert and can delay the need for corneal transplant. Corneal Crosslinking (CXL) In corneal crosslinking, a UV light and eye drops are used to strengthen and stiffen the cornea which helps to reduce bulging and restore the cornea to its natural shape. Corneal Transplant When corneal scarring occurs and eyeglasses and contact lenses no longer help, doctors may suggest a corneal transplant to replace the corneal with healthy donor tissue to restore vision. Most patients will still require eyeglasses or contact lenses for clear vision following the transplant. Keratoconus is a condition that requires ongoing treatment by a qualified eye doctor. If you or a loved one suffers from this disease make sure that you find an eye doctor that you like and trust to accompany you on this journey.

    Nearsighted (Myopia)

    Nearsightedness, technically known as myopia, is a condition which causes difficulty focusing on objects at a distance, while near vision remains normal. Myopia is one of the most common vision problems worldwide and it is on the rise. Myopia Signs and Symptoms People with myopia are usually able to see well up close, but have difficulty seeing objects at a distance. Due to the fact that they may be straining or squinting to see into the distance, they may develop headaches, eye fatigue or eye strain. Myopia Causes Myopia is a refractive error caused by an irregular shaped cornea that affects the way light is focused on the retina. For clear vision, light should come to a focus point directly onto the retina. In myopia, the cornea is longer than usual, resulting in a focus point that falls in front of the retina, causing distant objects to appear blurry, while close objects can be seen normally. Myopia typically has a genetic component as it often appears in multiple members of a family and it usually begins to show signs during childhood, often getting progressively worse until stabilizing around age 20. There may also be environmental factors that contribute to myopia such as work that requires focusing on close objects for an extended period of time and spending too much time indoors. Diagnosis of Myopia Myopia is diagnosed by an eye examination with an qualified optometrist. During the exam the optometrist will determine the visual acuity of the eye to prescribe eye glasses or contact lenses. A prescription for myopia will be a negative number such as -1.75. Treatment for Myopia Myopia is typically treated with corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses and in certain cases refractive surgery such as LASIK or PRK is an option. Surgery is the most risky treatment as it requires permanently changing the shape of the cornea. Other treatments involve implanting a lens that reshapes the cornea called a phakic intra-ocular lens or vision therapy. A treatment called Ortho-k, in which the patient wears corneal reshaping contact lenses at night to see without correction during the day can be another option. While some people require vision correction throughout the day, others may only need it only during certain tasks such as driving, watching television or viewing a whiteboard in school. The type of treatment depends on the overall health of your eye and your eye and vision needs.

    Ocular Hypertension

    The term Ocular Hypertension refers to higher than normal pressure in one or both eyes. When the intraocular pressure (IOP) in your eye is higher than normal it can cause nerve damage and vision loss if an eye disease like glaucoma goes untreated. Ocular Hypertension on its own does not mean you will definitely develop glaucoma, but it does make you a “glaucoma suspect”  Having a diagnosis of Ocular Hypertension does mean that more eye health evaluations will be required to monitor and regulate your intraocular pressure. Studies estimate that about 2% to 3% of the general population may have ocular hypertension.

    Signs and Symptoms of Ocular Hypertension

    There are no apparent signs such as eye redness or pain associated with ocular hypertension.  That is why it’s so important to see your eye doctor for regular eye health evaluations. Eye care professionals determine the intraocular pressure (IOP), the fluid pressure inside your eye, with a device called a tonometer. They may numb your eye first with eye drops before using a small probe that gently rests against your eye’s surface. Another type of tonometer utilizes a puff of air directed onto your eye’s surface. This method does not require numbing drops. There are two primary mechanisms that can cause ocular hypertension.  Either inadequate drainage or excessive production of aqueous fluid may cause the intraocular pressure (IOP) to become elevated.

    Ocular Hypertension Treatment

    People with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) are thought to be at risk for the development of glaucoma. If there are additional risk factors including family history, diabetes or hypertension, or being of African or Hispanic heritage, doctors will often consider prescribing medications to lower the pressure to prevent any vision loss. The price of eye drops can be costly in some cases, and they may occasionally cause some adverse side effects.  Your eye care professional will consider many factors before deciding to either monitor your IOP more often, or to prescribe ocular hypotensive medications if s/he detects that you may be developing glaucoma. Since ocular hypertension and glaucoma have no obvious symptoms until vision has been lost, regular eye health examinations with IOP measurements are recommended, especially if you have a family history of glaucoma or any of the other risk factors for developing the disease

    Photophobia

    All types of light, ranging from interior lighting fixtures to streetlights and to the bright rays of the sun, have the potential to cause eye discomfort or pain. Photophobia refers to this ocular sensitivity to light. An eye irritation or infection may cause photophobia. Other culprits include albinism, migraines, recent eye surgery or a variety of vision problems. In rare incidences, a congenital disease or certain medications may increase your sensitivity to light. The retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye, is responsible for processing images. Treatment for photophobia involves treating the underlying cause that is disturbing the retina. With light-sensitivity, the retina sends signals to the brain that are interpreted as discomfort or pain. The level of discomfort is in direct proportion with the strength of the light source, and it doesn’t matter if the light is man-made or natural.

    Signs of Photophobia

    When exposed to bright light, symptoms of itching, burning, wincing and squinting may all be experienced. Excessive tear production is another sign of photophobia.

    Diagnosis and Treatment

    If you suffer from light-sensitivity, you should schedule a consultation with your eye care professional. People with lighter-colored eyes generally have more of a tendency towards photophobia, and intense light is likely to bother them. If you have light eyes, the lower quantity of pigment is less efficient at diffusing the light beams. Photophobia may be temporary, or it can appear as a permanent side-effect of an underlying eye condition. The only way to treat photophobia is therefore to get to the root of the problem with a comprehensive eye exam. It’s important to mention any current medications to your eye doctor, as they may be associated with photophobia.

    Pingueculae & Pterygia

    Pingueculae and Pterygia are both benign growths that develop on the surface of the eye. While often grouped together, there are some differences in expression, symptoms, causes and treatment so here is an explanation of each condition and the differences between them. Pinguecula Pingueculae (pinguecula in singular) are growths that occur on the conjunctiva or the thin clear layer that covers the white part of the eye known as the sclera. They can be diagnosed on patients of any age, but tend to be more common in middle age. Pingueculae are typically yellowish in color and appear as a small, raised, sometimes triangular protrusion close to the cornea. Causes of Pinguecula Pinguecula occur when bumps, typically containing fat and/or calcium, form on the tissue of the conjunctiva. The exact cause of pinguecula is not known but there is a correlation between unprotected exposure to sunlight, wind, excessive dryness and dust. Symptoms of Pinguecula Pingueculae may have no symptoms or they can cause feelings of dryness, irritation or feeling like there is a foreign body in your eye. In more severe cases they may become itchy, inflamed, red and sore. Treatment of Pinguecula Often, there is no treatment necessary other than to protect the eye from the sun and other elements. If however, the pinguecula is causing discomfort or other issues, there are treatments available depending on the symptoms. Dryness, irritation and itchiness can sometimes be treated with eye drops or ointment and in cases where there is swelling, steroid eye drops along with anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed. In rare cases that the pinguecula is causing serious problems such as vision problems, untreatable discomfort or preventing blinking, or the patient is unhappy with the way it looks, it may have to be removed surgically. Pytergia Pytergia (pytergium in singular) are wedge-shaped growths on the surface of the cornea (the sclera), made of fibrous conjunctival tissue and containing blood vessels, which sometimes make it appear pink. Pytergia often grow out of pinguecula and tend to be more visible. Causes of Pytergia Like pinguecula, pytergia are believed to be caused by extended exposure to UV rays from the sun and are sometimes called “surfer’s eye”. They are more common in adults (ages 20 - 50) who live in dry, sunny climates and spend significant time outdoors. Risks increase in those who do not properly protect their eyes by using sunglasses and hats when they are outdoors. Symptoms of Pytergia Pytergia may occur in one or both eyes and usually grow in the corner of the eye closest to the nose in toward the cornea. Very often there are no symptoms however some people may experience dry eyes, redness, irritation, the feeling that something is in their eye and inflammation. Pytergia may also cause discomfort for contact lense wearers. If the pytergium is serious it could grow far enough into the cornea to obstruct vision or cause the cornea to change shape resulting in astigmatism. Treatment for Pytergia If necessary, treatment for symptoms of pytergia may be similar to those used for pytergia such as lubricating eye drops or steroidal drops or creams to reduce inflammation. Surgery is more common for pytergia because of the more obvious change in appearance and because of the potential for vision disturbances. Sometimes a conjunctival graft is performed to prevent recurrence which is when a small piece of tissue is grafted onto the area where the pytergia was removed. Pytergia and pingueculae are often completely benign conditions but should be monitored by a doctor to ensure they do not get worse and pose a threat to vision. Nevertheless, these growths go to show how important it is to protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

    Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

    Pink eye or conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye infections, especially in children.  The infection is an acute inflammation which causes redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, which is the clear mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and the surface of the eye. Pink eye can be caused by a virus, bacteria or even allergies such as pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics or other products that come in contact with the eyes.  Some forms of pink eye can be highly contagious and easily spread in schools and at home.

    Symptoms of Pink Eye

    Pink eye develops when the conjunctiva or thin transparent layer of tissue that lines the eyelid and the white part of the eye becomes inflamed. Symptoms can occur in one or both eyes and include:
    • Redness in the white part of the eye
    • Itching or burning
    • Discharge
    • Tearing
    • Swollen eyelids and
    • Crusty eyes in the morning

    Causes of Pink Eye

    There are three main types of pink eye infections: bacterial, viral and allergic conjunctivitis.

    Viral Conjunctivitis

    Viral Conjunctivitis is usually caused by an adenovirus, the same virus that produces the recognizable red and watery eyes, sore throat, cough and runny nose of the common cold or upper respiratory infection. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious usually spread because of poor hygiene especially a lack of hand washing. Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis usually last from five days to a week but may last longer. Since there is generally no medical treatment for a viral infection you have to wait for the infection to run its course. To avoid spreading the infection to others, it is recommended to stay home from school or work until the symptoms disappear which is usually after 3-5 days or up to a week. Viral conjunctivitis typically causes a light discharge and very watery, red eyes. To relieve discomfort, you can apply cool compresses to the eyes and artificial tears.

    Bacterial Pink Eye

    Bacterial pink eye is usually caused by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria and is often characterized by a significant amount of yellow, sticky discharge. Also contagious, bacterial pink eye can be picked up from bacteria found anywhere and often spread to the eye by touching them with unclean hands.  Contact lens wearers are at a higher risk for bacterial pink eye due to the handling of lenses and unclean contact lens cases. Treatment is usually administered by antibiotic eye drops which should begin to show improvement after three or four days, however the infection can also resolve itself after a week to 10 days without treatment. If you do use antibiotic drops, you can return to work or school 24 hours after you being treatment.

    Allergic Conjunctivitis

    Allergic conjunctivitis is not infectious or contagious as it is an allergic reaction to something in the environment such as pollen, pet dander or smoke. Symptoms, which occur in both eyes, include redness, itching and excessive tearing. The first step in treating allergic conjunctivitis is to remove or avoid the irritant, if possible. Applying cool compresses and artificial tears can help to relieve discomfort in mild cases. In more severe cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines might be prescribed. In cases of persistent allergic conjunctivitis, topical steroid eye drops are used.

    Pink Eye Prevention

    In all cases of pink eye, practicing good hygiene is the best way to prevent from catching and spreading the infection.  Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently and don’t touch your eyes with your hands, especially if you work with or around small children. If you have allergies, try to stay indoors on days with a high pollen count and to keep doors and windows closed.  Inside the house, clean air duct filters, vacuum and dust frequently to reduce the presence of allergens.

    Presbyopia

    As we reach middle age, particularly after age 40, it is common to start to experience difficulty with reading and performing other tasks that require near vision. This is because with age, the lens of our eye becomes increasingly inflexible, making it harder to focus on close objects. This condition is called presbyopia and eventually it happens to everyone who reaches old age to some extent. To avoid eyestrain, people with untreated presbyopia tend to hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm's length in order to focus properly. Trying to performing tasks at close range can sometimes cause headaches, eye strain or fatigue in individuals who have developed this condition.

    Causes of Presbyopia

    During our youth, the lens of our eye and the muscles that control it are flexible and soft, allowing us to focus on close objects and shift focus from close to distant objects without difficulty.  As the eye ages however, both the lens and the muscle fibers begin to harden, making near vision a greater challenge. Presbyopia is a natural result of the aging process and not much can be done to prevent it.  Its onset has nothing to do with whether you already have another vision impairment such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.  Everyone will notice some degree of loss of near vision focusing power as they age, although for some it will be more significant than others.

    Symptoms and Signs of Presbyopia

    Presbyopia is characterized by:
    • Difficulty focusing on small print
    • Blurred near vision
    • Experiencing eyestrain, fatigue or headaches when doing close work or reading
    • Needing to hold reading material or small objects at a distance to focus properly
    • Requiring brighter lighting when focusing on near objects
    Presbyopia can be diagnosed in a comprehensive eye exam.

    Treatment for Presbyopia

    There are a number of options available for treating presbyopia including corrective eyewear, contact lenses or surgery.

    Eyeglasses

    Reading glasses or “readers” are basically magnifying glasses that are worn when reading or doing close work that allow you focus on close objects. Eyeglasses with bifocal or multifocal lenses such as progressive addition lenses or PALs are a common solution for those with presbyopia that also have refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism). Bifocals have lenses with two lens prescriptions; one area (usually the upper portion) for distance vision and the second area for near vision. Progressive addition lenses or PALs similarly provide lens power for both near and distance vision but rather than being divided into two hemispheres, they are made with a gradual transition of lens powers for viewing at different distances.  Many individuals prefer PALs because unlike bifocals, they do not have a visible division line on the lens.

    Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses

    For individuals that prefer contact lenses to glasses, bifocal and multifocal lenses are also available in contact lenses in both soft and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) varieties. Multifocal contact lenses give you added freedom over glasses and they allow you to be able to view any direction - up, down and to the sides - with similar vision. People wearing progressive lenses in glasses on the other hand have to look over their glasses if they want to view upwards or into the distance. Another option for those that prefer contact lenses is monovision. Monovision splits your distance and near vision between your eyes, using your dominant eye for distance vision and your non-dominant  eye for near vision. Typically you will use single vision lenses in each eye however sometimes the dominant eye will use a single vision lens while a multifocal lens will be used in the other eye for intermediate and near vision. This is called modified monovision.  Your eye doctor will perform a test to determine which type of lens is best suited for each eye and optimal vision.

    Surgery

    There are surgical procedures also available for treatment of presbyopia including monovision LASIK eye surgery, conductive keratoplasty (CK), corneal inlays or onlays or a refractive lens exchange (RLE) which replaces the hardened lens in the eye with an intraocular lens (IOL) similar to cataract surgery. Since it affects so much of the older population, much research and development is going into   creating more and better options for presbyopes.  Speak to your eye doctor about the options that will work best for you.

    Ptosis

    Ptosis is a pathological eye condition in which the eyelid falls or droops. It is a condition that can affect adults and children (although it is most common in the elderly) and the degree to which the eyelid droops can vary from barely noticeable to completely covering the pupil (the black spot in the middle of your eye that allows light to enter). Fortunately, there is treatment for the condition. Symptoms and Signs of Ptosis Ptosis can be identified by an abnormal drooping of one or both of the upper eyelids. When it only affects one lid, you can notice that the two lids are not in alignment. Often an individual with ptosis will tilt their head backward or raise their eyebrows to see more clearly, which can eventually result in headaches or neck issues. Sometimes when the eyelid droops below the pupil, it is accompanied by obscured vision or causes other eye and vision problems. What Causes Ptosis? In adults, ptosis is most frequently a condition related to aging when the muscles responsible for controlling the eyelid, called the levator muscles, become weakened. Ptosis can also be a result of an eye injury or an after-effect of certain types of eye surgery. In children, ptosis can be a congenital condition in which the levator muscles do not develop properly. If not treated this can lead to problems with the development with the child’s visual system and may cause amblyopia (lazy eye), astigmatism or strabismus (crossed eyes). Treatment for Ptosis Prior to a treatment plan, your doctor will complete a comprehensive eye exam along with some other tests to determine the cause of the ptosis. While the treatment does depend on the cause of the condition, surgery to repair the eyelid function is the most common treatment. The surgical procedure, called blepharoplasty, repairs the levator muscle of the eyelid or attaches the lid to other muscles that can lift the eye (such as the forehead). In mild cases, small adjustments might be made to repair the muscle while other times additional procedures might be done such as removing some of the skin from the lid. The surgeon will determine what needs to be done to tighten the levator muscles or otherwise return the eyelids to their normal position. As with any surgical procedure there are risks to this surgery and in the most serious cases, movement may not return fully or at all to the eyelids. In children, surgery is usually recommended to avoid potential or existing vision problems. This may come along with additional treatment for amblyopia or strabismus to strengthen the weak eye such as wearing an eye patch, eyeglasses or using eye drops. Any child diagnosed with ptosis will need to have regular evaluations with an eye doctor to monitor the condition and the child’s vision. If you suspect you or a loved one may have ptosis, try looking at some old pictures to see if there is a noticeable change and of course make an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible to assess if there is a problem.

    Retinal Detachment

    A retinal detachment is a serious eye emergency in which the retina (the lining of the back of the eye) becomes separated and pulls away from the surrounding tissue. When the retina is out of place, the eye cannot properly process incoming light and if not fixed quickly, permanent vision loss can result. The retina contains the light sensitive cells of the eye that convert light into neural impulses that communicate with the optic nerve and the brain, enabling visual processing. When the retinal cells become detached from the supportive tissue they no longer get the nourishment and support they need to function and in a relatively short period of time can suffer permanent damage. Signs and Symptoms A retinal detachment doesn’t hurt and can happen very suddenly with little warning. Signs that you may be experiencing this condition include sudden onset of floaters, spots, or flashes of light in the visual field. These symptoms may be accompanied by blurred vision, reduced peripheral or side vision and the sensation that there is a curtain coming down over your visual field from the top or side. Causes and Risk Factors Retinal detachment can be caused by an injury to the eye or face, as a result of diabetic retinopathy or very high nearsightedness (in which the retina is thinner than in normal eyes). It can also result from changes in the vitreous of the eye due to aging, eye or other systemic diseases or following an eye surgery. Factors that put you at risk increased include:
    • Age- a retinal detachment is more common in adults 50 and over
    • Diabetes or Sickle Cell
    • Extreme nearsightedness
    • Eye surgery (such as cataract removal)
    • Eye or face injury
    • Family history
    • Eye disease or inflammation
    Treatment for Retinal Detachment Retinal detachment can be treated by a number of surgical procedures, the type of surgery depending upon the type and severity of the detachment. These procedures include: Pneumatic retinopexy: In this procedure the doctor injects gas or silicone oil into the eye to push the retina back into place. This is usually done when the detachment is just started and is very mild in nature. The surgeon may then need to use other procedures to secure the retina into place such as photocoagulation which is a laser procedure or cryopexy which uses a frozen probe to reattach the tissue. While the gas will absorb into the body, the oil needs to be removed following the procedure. Scleral buckling: This procedure involves indenting the outer surface of the eye toward the retina by attaching a soft piece of silicone around the sclera or white part of the eye. If necessary, this allows the surgeon to drain the fluids that have accumulated between the retina and the supportive tissue and then the retina is reattached using laser photocoagulation or cryopexy. Vitrectomy: In this procedure the doctor removes the vitreous fluid in your eye which is the gel-like substance that may be causing the retina to detach. The retina can then be flattened using air, gas or oil. This procedure is often combined with scleral buckling as mentioned above. Successful treatment for retinal detachment depends on a lot of factors including the severity of the detachment, the location and how quickly it was diagnosed and treated. Sometimes full vision is not restored. If you have risk factors for retinal detachment you should make sure that you get frequent eye exams and see your eye doctor immediately if you experience any changes in your vision.

    Retinitis Pigmentosa

    Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an eye disease that is inherited, and very rare. About one in four thousand Americans are affected by this disease. The retina, which is the light-sensitive portion of the eye, degenerates progressively over time. The result of this degeneration is the loss of peripheral vision, loss of central vision, night blindness, and sometimes blindness. Retinitis Pigmentosa Symptoms Childhood is when the first symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa generally appear. Usually both eyes are implicated in the disease. Sometimes RP doesn’t appear until older age, at age 30 or even older. The main symptom of  RP in the beginning stages is night blindness. Tunnel vision may develop in the later stages of the disease, where central vision is affected, and only a small portion of sight is available. One study of patients suffering from RP revealed that, in patients 45 years and older, 52% had at least 20/40 central vision in one eye, 25% had 20/200 vision or below, and 0.5% were completely blind. Causes of Retinitis Pigmentosa Very little is known about the causes behind RP, beyond that it is an inherited disease. Scientists believe that defective molecules in our genes cause RP. This explains why the disease affects patients so differently. If one parent carries the defective gene, it’s possible to get RP, even if your parents do not have the disease. Approximately one percent of the population are carriers of the RP recessive gene. Sometimes this recessive gene is passed on to the child, who will then develop retinitis pigmentosa. RP affects the retina in the eye. The disease causes the light-sensitive cells that are located in the retina to die gradually. Most often, the cells that are used for night and peripheral vision, called rod cells, are affected. Sometimes the cells that are used to see color and for central vision, called cones, are also affected. Diagnosis and Treatment The main diagnostic tool employed is visual field testing. This test determines how much peripheral vision loss has occurred. Other diagnostic tools may be used to test night vision and color vision. Few treatments exist for RP. What is available helps conditions associated with RP, not the disease itself. For patients older than 25, there is a prosthesis system that was recently approved. This system captures images via glasses, and transmits the signal captures to an implanted device located on the retina. Most treatments center around helping the patient learn to deal with their vision loss. Psychological counseling, and occupational therapy, may be recommended. Technological instruments that help with low vision, such as illuminated magnifiers, can help patients with RP see as well as possible with their limited vision. Some doctors recommend vitamin A supplements as there is some evidence that vitamin A might help delay the progression of the disease. For the future, scientists are hopeful that there will be additional treatments for RP, including new drug treatments and retinal implants.

    Styes

    A stye (known by eye doctors as a hordeolum) is an infection of an oil gland which forms a pimple-like bump on the base of the eyelid or within the eyelid itself.  Sytes can be uncomfortable, causing swelling, pain, redness, discomfort, and sometimes excessive tearing. If the stye is large and it distorts the front surface of the eyes, it can cause blurred vision.

    What causes a stye?

    The oil glands on the eyelid sometimes become blocked with dirt, dead skin, or a buildup of oil.   When this occurs, bacteria can grow inside. Blockage is also commonly from eye cosmetics that block the orifices within the lid. This blockage causes the gland to become infected and inflamed, resulting in a stye.  A stye can form on the inside or the outside of the eyelid and can cause swelling around the eye, sometimes affecting the entire eyelid.

    Treating a stye

    Styes are treated with antibiotics, often in moderate and severe cases with a prescription for oral antibiotics to reduce the bacteria responsible for the infection. Treatment for a stye is recommended otherwise there is a likelihood of recurrence. Applying a hot compress to the eye for 10-15 minutes a few times throughout the day will bring some relief and speed up the healing process. Similar to a pimple, the stye will likely rupture, drain and heal on its own. Occasionally a stye, especially one on the inside of the eyelid will not resolve itself and may require the assistance of an eye doctor for additional treatment. In such a case the stye is surgically opened and drained to reduce the swelling and cosmetic issues associated with the style. You should never pop a stye! This can cause the bacteria to spread and worsen the infection.  The infection can then spread around the top and bottom eyelids and even reach the brain. If a stye is getting worse, painful, or irritated, contact your eye doctor for treatment. In cases where styes occur frequently, your eye doctor may decide to prescribe topical antibiotic ointment or a cleansing regimen to prevent recurrence.

    Chalazia: Another type of bump on the eyelid

    Similar to a stye, a chalazion is a blocked oil gland on the eyelid that becomes enlarged. The main difference between a chalazion and stye is that the chalazion is usually non-infectious.  A chalazion in most occasions is an old hordeolum that did not resolve. Treatment involves lid hygiene, warm compresses, and lid massage.  In most cases, a chalazion requires surgical removal.

    Uveitis

    Uveitis is a general term for an inflammatory response in the eye that can be caused by a broad range of diseases or conditions. It is called uveitis because the area that is inflamed is the uvea, although the condition can also affect other areas in the eye such as the lens, the optic nerve, the retina and the vitreous. Uveitis can cause swelling and tissue damage and lead to reduced vision or in more serious cases, even blindness. What is the Uvea? The uvea is a layer in the middle of the eye containing three main elements including: the choroid, which is a network of small blood vessels which provides nutrients to the retina; the iris, which is the colored layer around the pupil; and the ciliary body which produces fluid to shape the lens and provide nutrients to keep it healthy. Types of Uveitis Uveitis is classified by four different types, depending on the location of the inflammation within the eye. Anterior uveitis, which is the most common form, is when the iris is inflamed, sometimes in combination with the ciliary body. Intermediate uveitis is inflammation of the ciliary body and posterior uveitis is when the choroid is inflamed. When the entire uvea is inflamed, this is called diffuse or pan-uveitis. Symptoms of Uveitis Uveitis generally affects individuals between the ages of 20 and 50 and can present a variety of symptoms depending on the cause. The condition can affect one or both eyes and sometimes the symptoms can come on very rapidly. They include:
    • Blurred vision
    • Eye pain
    • Red eyes
    • Light sensitivity
    • Seeing floaters in the field of view
    If you experiences these symptoms seek medical attention immediately. Uveitis is usually a chronic disease which can lead to vision loss as well as other eye problems such as glaucoma, retinal detachment and cataracts. Causes of Uveitis The cause of uveitis is still somewhat of a mystery. It is often found in connection with eye injuries, viral infections, toxins or tumors in the eye or with systemic autoimmune disorders (such as AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis), or inflammatory disorders (such as Crohn’s disease, colitis or Multiple Sclerosis). Treatment for Uveitis Uveitis treatment is designed to reduce and eliminate inflammation and pain and to prevent damage to the tissues within the eye, as well as to restore and prevent vision loss. The inflammation is typically treated with anti-inflammatory steroid eye drops, pills, dissolving capsules or injections, depending on where the condition presents in the eye. Additional medications or treatments may be prescribed depending on the cause of the condition. For example, when the cause is an autoimmune disease, immunosuppressant medications may also be used. If there is a viral infection or elevated intraocular pressure, appropriate medications will be given to treat those issues. Often uveitis is a chronic disease so it’s important to see the eye doctor any time the symptoms appear.

    Multifocal Eyeglass Lenses

    Multifocal lenses technically refer to any lens that provides more than one zone of corrective power and would therefore include bifocal, trifocal and progressive lenses. Multifocals are designed for the many individuals over 40 who struggle with presbyopia - the age-related near vision loss that requires us to use eyeglasses for reading and focusing on objects in our near vision.  The multiple lens powers enable you to correct for near and distance vision with one pair of glasses. Bifocal Lenses Bifocal lenses are divided into two powers, one for distance vision and the second for near vision. Bifocals are created in a variety of designs with different sized and shaped viewing segments for near and far vision.  While bifocals provide good distance and near vision, they are lacking in corrective power for intermediate areas, which is what has led to the development of trifocal and progressive lenses. Trifocal Lenses Trifocal lenses provide an additional lens power zone for intermediate vision (which is typically about an arm’s length away). Some people are bothered by the visible lines where the lenses are divided in bifocal and trifocal lenses. In addition to aesthetics (the lines have become a sign of presbyopia which many associate with growing old), the harsh divisions in the zones can cause a distortion in the object you are viewing (an image jump) when you switch your gaze from one power to the next. Progressive Addition Lenses (PALs) Progressive lenses were designed to eliminate the “image jump” that results from the distinct zones in bifocal and trifocal lens design.  By providing a smooth progression of many lens powers across the lens, PALs allow for clear vision near, far and every distance in between. Further, similar to natural vision, they just require a slight movement of the eye, rather than the whole head, for you to see through different lens powers. The smooth transition also eliminates the visible lines present on the other lenses which many view as tell-tale signs of age-related vision difficulties.

    Occupational Bifocal and Trifocals

    Occupational bifocals and trifocals are specialized multifocal lenses created for specific jobs, hobbies or tasks. They are designed for people - generally over 40 - who have developed presbyopia, a condition in which the lens of the eye weakens and it becomes difficult to see objects that are close up. They differ from regular multifocal lenses in that the magnified power areas to see close and intermediate objects are typically larger and positioned in a different area on the lens, according to needs of the designated task. Occupational bifocal and trifocal lenses are intended for specific tasks and not for everyday use. Here are a few examples: Double-D Lenses The most popular type of occupational lens is the Double-D lens. The lens is divided into three segments, with the top designed for intermediate vision, the bottom segment for near vision and the rest for distance. This design is ideal for people who need to see close both when looking down (to read something) and when looking overhead. Professionals that frequently use Double-D lenses are auto mechanics (who have to look overhead when under a car), librarians, clerks or office workers, (who have to look at shelves overhead) or electricians (that are often involved in close work on a ceiling). They are called Double-D lenses because the intermediate and near segments of the lens are shaped like the letter “D”. E-D Trifocal Lenses As opposed to Double-D lenses which have the majority of the lens for distance vision, E-D lenses focus on intermediate vision with an area for distance on the top and for near vision on the bottom. These are ideal for individuals who are working at about an arm’s-length away the majority of the time, such as on a multiple computer or television screens, but frequently need to look up into the distance or close to read something. The “E” in the name stands for “Executive Style” which represents the division between the top distance vision lens and the bottom intermediate vision lens which goes all the way across the lens. “D” in the name of the lens is due to the fact that the near section in the bottom of the lens is shaped like a “D”. Office or Computer Glasses Multifocal lenses designed for office work provides the largest section with an intermediate lens designated for viewing the computer screen and a smaller area for limited distance vision. You can have progressive or trifocal lenses that incorporate near vision as well. Golf Bifocals That’s right, there are even specialized lenses made for golfers! Golfers need to see a wide range of distances during their game from their scorecard, to their ball on the tee, to hole far away to line up their drive. In these lenses, the close segment is small and placed on an outer corner of one lens, to allow for brief close vision but not interfere with the distance game. Usually, right handed golfers will have the lens on the right side and vice versa. Personalized Lenses Standard multifocals can be redesigned to adapt to specific tasks or hobbies simply by changing the size, shape or location of the different segments. Many adults over 40 would benefit from having multiple pairs of multifocals to give optimal vision for different tasks or hobbies they enjoy. Note that occupational lenses are made specifically for the task they are designed for and should not be worn full-time, especially while driving.

    How Progressive Lenses Work

    Progressive lenses or progressive addition lenses (PALs) are the most popular multifocal lenses today, offering an effective and great looking vision solution for individuals with presbyopia (age-related near vision loss). The main advantage of progressive lenses over standard bifocals or trifocals is that they don’t have a visible line bisecting the lens, but rather a seamless and gradual change in power as you move down the lens. Rather than two or three distinct zones (for near, far and intermediate), progressive lenses offer a smooth transition of focal powers that covers the total range of clear vision from close to far and every point in between. As we age, particularly after the age of 40, our near vision begins to deteriorate. Progressive lenses allow you to see at all distances with one pair of glasses. They start with your distance prescription (if you have one) at the top of the lens and increase as you move toward the bottom of the lens. You simply move your head position to allow you to focus through different areas of the lens. Move your head upwards to see something in the distance, hold it straight for intermediate or arm’s length vision and down for near vision for objects that are close up. In addition to the aesthetic improvement of the lens without the line segments (which tend to make people look and feel older as well), PALs avoid the visual discontinuity or image-jump when your eyes shift from one zone to the other in non-progressive multifocals.

    Adapting to Progressive Lenses

    While most people adapt to progressive lenses fairly quickly (many immediately), for some, getting comfortable vision with progressive lenses can take a few days. This is normal as you need to train your eyes to look through the appropriate area of the lens and get used to the slight adjustments when you move from one area to another - especially if you move your head quickly. If you find that you are not adapting to the lenses after a few days, speak to your eye doctor- they may not be the right fit or the right option for you.

    Types of Progressive Lenses

    There are a number of options for progressive lenses which vary in style, price and function. Standard PALs Standard progressive lenses must fit to your vision needs. They can be added to frames of your choice, but you need to ensure that the frames are the right width and height proportions to grant enough space for the gradient changes in the lens. Otherwise only a small area will remain for the distance or near vision zones. Short Corridor PALS To overcome the issue mentioned above, there are now progressive lenses called “short corridor” lenses made to fit into smaller frames to suit a wider range of eyewear styles. Computer PALS Also known as “near variable focus lenses” or “office lenses”, these specialized PALs are designed specifically for computer users and other occupations that require strong intermediate and distance vision. For computer users that work at a computer for many hours, these lenses will help to reduce eye strain, eye fatigue and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome that come from looking at a computer for extended periods. PALs for reading Individuals who enjoy reading can opt for a pair of lenses with a larger close vision zone. Free-form lenses offer a customizable surface with a wider area for near vision. Progressive lenses are a great option for most individuals who require multifocal or reading glasses and still want to maintain a youthful look and appearance. Speak to your eye doctor about your specific needs and lifestyle to find the best option for you.

    Reading Glasses After 40

    Once we reach the age of 40, its common to start noticing the natural effects of our aging eyes, such as having to hold your phone at arm’s length to read text messages. Medically, this normal change in our vision is called presbyopia and refers to the weakening of the lens inside the eye which is responsible for sharp focus and clear near vision. You may begin to notice presbyopia setting in when reading starts to become difficult and the words begin to lose focus. You might also experience eye strain or headaches when trying to read fine print. This is where reading glasses come in. Reading glasses are non-prescription eyeglasses that magnify text (or any object you are viewing) to allow your eye to focus better at a close distance. Styles of Reading Glasses Single vision (as opposed to bifocal or trifocal) reading glasses come in two lens styles - full and half. Full readers offer a uniform magnification (the entire lens is the same focus) and you need to remove them to see clearly at a distance. These are ideal for individuals that spend a lot of time reading and don’t often have to look up during that time. Half readers are also uniform magnification but offer smaller frames that allow you to look over the lens when you want to see further away rather than removing the frame from your face. Bifocal reading glasses offer two zones of vision within one less. The upper part of the lens allows for distance vision, while the lower part is for reading. Bifocals have a visible line across the midline which divides the two zones. You simply look into the part of the lens that offers the vision you desire. Custom Made Vs. Over the Counter Reading Glasses Over the counter or ready made reading glasses may be cheaper and more convenient than custom made glasses but they don’t take into account your individual needs. If you have no previous prescription and a light presbyopia, they may sufficiently suit your needs however in many cases, they can cause eye strain, dizziness and headaches when they are not the right fit for your vision. Having an eye exam and ordering custom made lenses can meet your exact visual needs in each eye to create a comfortable and optimal correction for your eyes. You can also select the style and shape of the glasses that look and feel the best for you. Even though presbyopia is a common condition that eventually affects most people at some point after 40, any time you experience vision changes you should see an eye doctor for an exam. Even if you decide that you want to start with ready made reading glasses, you should get an eye exam to ensure that your eyes and vision are healthy. Many serious and vision-threatening eye diseases can be stopped and prevented with early detection, so routine check-ups, especially when there is a change in vision, are critical for optimal eye and vision health.

    Dry Eye After Menopause

    Dry Eye Disease is a common eye condition - studies show that nearly 20% of North Americans middle aged and older suffer from dry eye disease. The probability of you developing dry eye if you are a woman, and older than 50, increases. Hormonal changes that older women undergo make it much more likely that they will suffer from dry eye as they age, including symptoms such as blurry vision and irritation of the eyes, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. What are the biological changes that happen during menopause which affect your eyes? The tear film in the eyes relies on certain chemical signals to remain stable, and these signals get disrupted during and after menopause. Some doctors believe that androgen, a hormone implicated in menopause, may be the culprit causing dry eye problems for menopausal women. Eyes may become inflamed, which leads to decreased tear production, and possibly dry eye disease.  Add in a dry environment and many medications and the risk factors for menopausal women increases exponentially. Treatments for Dry Eye in Menopausal Women Estrogen hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is sometimes used to treat menopausal symptoms, as the female hormone estrogen is one of the hormones that decreases during and after menopause. However, studies have shown that this treatment does not relieve symptoms of dry eye. Refractive Eye Surgery Refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK and PRK, may not be advised if you are 40 or older, and have dry eye disease. These procedures can affect nerve function in your cornea (the clear surface of your eye), which could worsen your dry eye problem. If you want to have a consultation regarding LASIK or PRK, it’s important that your eye doctor know about your dry eye condition. In that case, your eye doctor will know to do the appropriate tests to make sure that there is enough moisture in your eyes for laser vision correction. There are other health conditions that are associated with dry eye and aging. These conditions include thyroid autoimmune disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. If you suffer from dry eye, make sure your doctor screens you for these diseases. Allergies may cause eye inflammation, and may be the cause of your dry eye. Prescription and over-the-counter eye drops might relieve your dry eye and allergy problem. Your eye doctor will advise you as to which eye drops would be best for you. Sometimes commonly prescribed medications can worsen, or even cause, dry eyes. Some of these medications are antidepressants and diuretics, which are often prescribed if you have a heart condition. Make sure to talk about this with your doctor if you suspect that one of the medications you are taking may be causing your dry eye problems. Perhaps changing your medication will be as effective, and won’t cause dry eye disease.

    Age & Your Vision – Changes & Solutions

    There is no question that as we age our body begins to weaken. We notice more aches and pains, our joints and bones weaken and yes, our eyes and vision also begin to decline. While we may begin to see changes as early as our 40’s, a more rapid deterioration begins from age 60 and accelerates as we grow older. Certain age-related eye and vision changes are totally normal and do not signify the development of a disease. These include color vision loss, dry eyes, reduced contrast and night vision, pupil shrinkage and presbyopia. Cataracts is another age related condition that can cause blindness but is easily treated with a common eye surgery. Unfortunately, there are many other age-related diseases that are much more serious and can cause permanent vision loss and blindness, having a significant impact on the quality of life during the later years. These include glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, three diseases that affect millions of people around the world.

    How the Eyes Changes As We Age

    Subtle changes in our vision and eye structure take place as we age. Some examples include: Presbyopia After age 40, many people begin to notice difficulty seeing close objects - they have to hold books, menus and even their cell phone further away to see the text clearly. This is the sign of presbyopia, the hardening of the lens inside the eye which results in a loss in the ability to focus on near objects. At first it may be sufficient to hold things at an arm’s length to see clearly but eventually you will probably seek a better solution, specifically reading glasses or multifocal glasses or contact lenses. If you are really bothered by wearing glasses or contacts and your eyes are otherwise healthy, surgery to replace the lens could be a possibility. Speak to your eye doctor about your options and the best solution for you. Color Vision Loss Color vision is made possible by retina cells which begin to deteriorate as we age. As a result colors appear more dull and contrast between color is diminished. While many people don’t notice this subtle change, people who are quite attuned to color will notice a reduction in color distinction, particular in the blue palette. Shrinkage of the Pupil As we age, the muscles in the eye which control the reaction and size of the pupil begin to weaken. This makes the pupils less responsive to changes in light, making it common for individuals over 60 to require more light to see clearly. It may also make glare and bright sunlight more problematic. Photochromic lenses (which darken when you enter the sunlight) and an anti-reflective, anti-glare lens coating can be helpful to reduce the sensitivity. Dry Eyes As we age, our eye ducts produce fewer tears, especially in postmenopausal women. Dry eyes can cause eyes to feel dry, red, irritated and gritty and sometimes cause excessive tearing. If you have any of these symptoms you should see your eye doctor for treatment, which can include eye drops or prescription medication as well as treatments to release or clear the blocked tear ducts. Reduced Peripheral Vision As we age, the peripheral field of vision begins to narrow reducing the size of the visual field progressively with time. While totally normal, this can be of particular concern when it comes to driving as the decreased range of vision increases the risk of accidents. Individuals should be aware of this and make a larger effort to scan their surroundings while driving. Vitreous Detachment The vitreous is a gel-like substance within the eye which begins to pull away from the retina as we age. This can cause visual symptoms such as spots, floaters and flashes of light in the field of vision. While vitreous detachment is usually not a cause for concern, floaters and flashes of light can also be a sign of the beginning of a retinal detachment – a very serious condition that can result in blindness if not treated immediately. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor immediately. Cataracts Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions in the older population, in fact about half of Americans 65 years and older have some extent of cataract formation. As the eye ages, the natural lens begins to cloud, reducing clear vision. Cataracts are typically treated with a common surgical procedure which removes the clouded lens and replaces it with a clear, artificial lens. Today, cataract surgery is extremely safe and effective, usually being successful at restoring full vision. If a patient also has presbyopia, there may be the option to place a multifocal lens in the eye to fix both issues at once.

    Eye Diseases Associated with Age

    There are a number of serious eye diseases that are associated with age including: Glaucoma The risk of developing glaucoma, a serious eye disease that causes progressive damage to the optic nerve, increases as you age. In fact there is a 12% risk of developing the disease at age 80. When detected and treated early, glaucoma can be controlled through medication or surgery, preventing vision loss. However once vision is lost it cannot be restored and often the disease progresses quickly without many symptoms. It’s important to have regular eye exams to detect and treat glaucoma early before vision loss occurs. Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. AMD occurs when the macula in the eye progressively breaks down causing vision loss, specifically in the center field of vision. While there is no known cure yet for AMD, early detection and treatment may slow the progression of the disease and stabilize it enough to prevent vision loss. Diabetic Retinopathy Diabetic retinopathy is a vision threatening condition caused by the deterioration of the retina in individuals with diabetes. It’s currently estimated that 40% of people over 40 who have diabetes have some extent of diabetic retinopathy and one out of every 12 has advanced, vision-threatening retinopathy. In order to prevent permanent vision loss it is essential to control the diabetes and the insulin levels. Along with their regular diabetes doctor, patients with diabetes should have regular eye exams to monitor the status of the retina and the vision.

    What Can Be Done About Age-Related Vision Changes?

    There are many ways to prevent vision loss associated with age. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, protecting your eyes from UV rays and managing stress are all a wonderful place to start. Further, being aware of your family history and your personal risk factors will help you to take the necessary steps to protect your eyes. Lastly, schedule regular eye exams with your eye doctor to ensure that your eyes are healthy, provide you with optimal vision and to catch any diseases beginning to develop in the early stages.

    Seven Tips For Optimal Vision

    As we age, so do our eyes and the risk of eye problems and vision loss increases. In fact, one out of every six adults age 45 and above has a vision-threatening eye condition. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), more than forty-three million Americans will develop some sort of age-related eye disease by 2020. You don’t need to just sit around and wait for your eyes and vision to deteriorate as there are many things you can do to protect your vision and reduce your risks of eye disease and vision loss. 7 Tips for Protecting Your Precious Eyes Here are 7 eye-health tips to protect your eyes and vision as you age:
    1. Regular eye exams. The number one thing you can do to protect your eyes and vision is to schedule routine eye exams every year to check the health of your eyes. Many eye diseases must be detected and treated early to prevent vision loss and often symptoms don’t appear until it’s too late. Regular eye exams can catch a developing disease before vision is lost.
    2. UV eye protection. UV rays from the sun can damage your eyes and increase the risk of diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Any time you go outside (winter or summer) wear sunglasses with full UV protection as well as a hat or visor to protect your eyes from UV coming in from the top or the side of your glasses.
    3. Don’t smoke. Smoking significantly increases your risks of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts as well as other eye diseases. This is just another reason to quit.
    4. Eat a healthy diet. A balanced diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens as well as omega-3 fatty acids from fish and other sources can give you nutrients that will reduce your risks of many eye diseases including macular degeneration.
    5. Exercise regularly. Research by the AAO suggests that regular exercise can reduce the risk of macular degeneration by as much as 70%.
    6. Keep diabetes and high blood pressure under control. When not controlled and monitored these diseases can cause vision loss from serious eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma and ocular hypertension. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure schedule regular eye exams to monitor your eye health.
    7. Know your family history and risk factors. Be aware of your latent risks for eye disease by knowing your family health history and the risk factors associated with your age, race, gender and lifestyle. If you have any risk factors tell your eye doctor and learn about what you need to do to prevent eye disease.
    As with any medical issue, be on the alert for any changes in vision. If you experience any of the following conditions see an eye doctor immediately: double or hazy vision, difficulty seeing in low light conditions, flashes of light, floaters, and eye pain or swelling. Any of these symptoms may indicate a potentially serious eye health problem which need immediate attention. Make sure your eyes are checked regularly through a comprehensive eye exam even if you don’t have any symptoms or vision loss. In addition to making sure you are seeing your best, this can detect the development of any serious eye disease. Adhering to these tips may not guarantee 20/20 vision for life but it will help you reduce your risk of eye and vision problems and to preserve your vision for a healthier life.

    Suggestions For Age-Related Vision Loss

    Age-related vision difficulties and vision loss can be a challenge, but there are many solutions to help you cope and lessen the impact it can have on your daily life. Simple strategies from getting the right pair of glasses, to improving lighting, to purchasing some vision aids or magnifiers, can significantly help to compensate for reduced vision. Vision changes are normal with age yet it’s important to speak to your eye doctor so you know what to expect and ensure that the changes you are experiencing are normal and not a sign of a more serious eye or vision condition. Normal age-related vision changes include reduced near vision (presbyopia), trouble seeing in dim light (due to the pupil shrinking and letting less light into the eye) and difficulty driving at night. Additionally, color vision and contrast sensitivity may be reduced. Most of these issues can be corrected with the right pair of eyeglasses to increase visual acuity and contrast and reduce glare. Improving lighting conditions within the home and office can also help. You may want to purchase some good portable lamps to brighten work spaces, especially when you are reading or performing fine motor skills such as typing, painting or sewing. Cataracts is a common age-related condition in which vision is gradually reduced due to a clouding of the lens of the eye. When it begins to seriously affect vision, a surgical procedure to remove the lens and replace it with a clear artificial lens can be done. This procedure is extremely common and typically very successful in restoring vision. Options for Permanent Vision Loss Age related and other eye diseases such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy can result in permanent vision loss or blind spots. This results in a condition called low vision, in which some vision remains, but the quality is compromised. This can be devastating for many people that are used to living independently but suddenly require a lot of assistance for daily living. Thankfully, there are many products out there to help individuals with low vision manage daily tasks without assistance and the technology is always improving. Some examples include:
    • Hand held and stand magnifiers, some with lights included
    • Large screen televisions and computer screens
    • Phones and other devices with larger numbers or fonts
    • Lenses and shields to reduce glare on screens
    • Screen reader programs and wearable devices
    The most important thing you can do to preserve your vision as you age is to schedule regular eye exams. Many vision-threatening diseases only begin to show symptoms when vision loss has already begun and may not be able to be restored. A thorough eye exam can detect early signs of disease and allow for treatment and preventative measures to reduce vision loss. As you begin to notice changes you should schedule regular exams to monitor your eyes and vision and to rule out any serious diseases that could cause irreparable vision loss.

    Sunwear Video

      Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Nonprescription Sunglasses

    Everyone should have a good pair of sunglasses. Whether you wear prescription eyeglasses or not, sunglasses are important for every age, race and gender. While sunglasses may be considered a must-have fashion accessory, even more importantly, they play a critical role in protecting your eyes from UV (ultraviolet) and other harmful radiation from the sun. They also shield your eyes from wind, dust and debris that could cause discomfort, dryness or damage. Sunglasses should be worn in the winter as well as the summer and should be 100% UV blocking.  This doesn’t mean that you have to pay a fortune for your shades.  Even cheaper brands of sunglasses are made these days with full UV protection, so take the extra time to ensure you select ones that do offer full protection from the sun’s rays.

    Frame Materials

    Sunglass frames are made in a wide variety of materials from plastics and acetates, to wood and natural materials to metals, such as aluminum, steel or titanium.  Before you select a pair of frames, think about your lifestyle and what type of material will be most suitable for you. If you live an active lifestyle, sturdy and durable frames are a must. If you have sensitive skin, look for a pair made with hypoallergenic material that is light and fits comfortably. Make sure you select a pair that fits well, looks good and properly blocks the sun to ensure that you feel confident and comfortable when you are wearing them.

    Sunglasses Shapes

    Sunglasses serve as a combination of function and fashion and therefore come in a plethora of shapes and styles. Sunglasses are often larger than eyeglasses to cover more surface area and prevent sunlight from entering around the lenses.  While fashion sunglasses are made in all of the latest styles from aviator to cat eyes, round, square and oversized, sports sunglasses are generally more durable and broad, often in wraparound styles that prevent sunlight from entering from the sides as well. Wrap-around frames are a good option for athletes, fishermen and bikers that spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun.

    Lenses

    Lenses are the most important part of any pair of sunglasses.  As mentioned above, all lenses should block 100% UV rays but beyond that there are many options for sunglass lenses. Polycarbonate or trivex lenses are impact-resistant to increase safety during sports and outdoor activities.  Polarized lenses help to reduce glare and are particularly helpful during activities on or near the water such as boating, fishing or beaching.  Anti-glare and anti-scratch coatings are also beneficial to maintain your best vision in a variety of conditions. For the fashion conscious there are a number of colors and reflective coatings available for sunglass lenses.  It’s best to choose the lenses that allow for the most accurate color vision with the least amount of distortion to ensure they don’t obstruct clear vision. While it’s important to choose sunglasses that you like from a style and appearance perspective, it’s also important to pay attention to comfort and fit.  Here are a few tips for purchasing sunglasses that fit well for maximum comfort and sun protection:
    1. Make sure the lenses completely cover your eyes and provide extra coverage above and to the sides.
    2. The frames shouldn’t pinch at your temples or the nosepiece and should be wide enough for your face.
    3. Ensure that the frames aren’t too wide and stay in place when you move your head around.

    Sunglasses for Prescription Eyeglass Users

    If you wear prescription eyeglasses there are a number of options for sun protection.  These options include prescription sunglasses, photochromic lenses (which turn from clear lenses to dark when you go outside), clip-ons, fitovers (which are sunglasses that go over your prescription eyewear) or wearing contact lenses with plano (non-prescription) sunglasses.  Speak to your optician to determine the best option for you.

    Prescription Sunglasses

    Sunglasses are an important way to protect your eyes and ensure clear and comfortable vision when you are on the go. In addition to causing temporary vision loss, the sun’s bright rays can lead to long term eye damage. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can also cause sunburns on the eyes and over time, can lead to diseases such as macular degeneration. For those who wear prescription eyeglasses, sun protection is available in a number of options including prescription sunglasses, photochromic lenses or eyeglasses with clip-on sunglass lenses. The best solution depends on your personal preferences, comfort and which option fits in best with your lifestyle.

    Prescription Sunglasses

    These days, sunglasses are not only highly fashionable but remarkably functional for a wide variety of activities. Sport and athletic sunglasses for example provide eye protection, reduced glare and better contrast to improve performance in a range of outdoor conditions. Individuals with prescription eyewear can also benefit from the advantages of these specialty eyewear by purchasing prescription lenses. Prescription sunglasses are available for virtually all vision prescriptions including those for farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism, as well as bifocal and progressive lenses. Almost any pair of sunglasses can be fit with prescription lenses as long as the shape of the lens doesn’t distort vision (which happens for example with extremely wide wraparound lenses). Therefore if the latest pair of designer sunglasses catches your eye, there should be no problem in fitting a prescription lens to the frame. You can also get prescription lenses in most lens materials and with most lens coatings, including polarized lenses (for glare protection), tinted lenses, anti-scratch coatings, polycarbonate or Trivex lenses (for extra durability) and more. Even for those individuals who do wear contact lenses, prescription sunglasses are a fantastic solution when you prefer not to wear your contacts, such as when your eyes feel dry or irritated (during allergy season or in dusty or sandy locations for example), when you are going swimming (it’s advised not to wear contact lenses swimming in any body of water due to risk of infection) or when you just don’t want to deal with the hassle of contacts. Prescription sunglasses give you yet another option for comfort, safety and great vision.

    Photochromic Lenses

    Photochromic lenses are another alternative for the prescription eyeglass wearer. These lenses darken in response to sunlight turning your regular prescription eyewear into prescription sunglasses. Photochromic lenses are a convenient solution for glasses wearers who find it a hassle to carry around two pairs of glasses. No matter what shape or style, you can protect your eyes and spruce up your outdoor look or your sports performance with a pair of prescription sunglasses.

    Sunglasses for Kids

    Many parents don’t know the importance of sunglasses for children and don’t stress that they wear them, especially given the hassle involved in encouraging children to wear them and take care of them properly.  However, studies show that since we spend so much time outdoors and in the sunshine as children that by the age of 18, our eyes and body have absorbed half of our lifetime ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure.  This makes the use of sunglasses and proper UV protection even more critical for children. Risks to children’s eyes from overexposure to the sun can be short term and long term. Short terms risks include photokeratitis also known as “snow blindness” which is essentially a sunburn of the eye. Photokeratitis can cause temporary vision loss for up to 48 hours. Pterygium is another condition, also referred to as “surfer’s eye,” which causes an itchy, swollen growth to form on the surface of the eye. Pterygium often require surgery to remove. Long term UV damage is known to be a risk factor for a number of eye diseases including cataracts (a clouding of the lens of the eye that causes vision loss) and age-related macular degeneration, which also causes permanent vision loss and low vision, as well as cancer of the eye, eyelid or the skin around the eye. Wearing sunglasses with wide or wrap-around lenses will protect not only your eyes, but also the area around your eyes from UV exposure and damage.  Since these diseases can be caused by an accumulation of UV exposure over a lifetime, it is important to start preventative measures early, by getting children in the habit of wearing sunglasses when they are outside. Quality sunglasses for children are easy to find these days, you just have to know what to look for. Firstly, you want to make sure that the lenses have 100% UVA and UVB protection and block UV absorption up to 400 nanometers.  You also want to ensure that the frames completely cover as much of the eye and its surrounding as possible.  Many frames will come with a band to help hold the sunglasses in place and prevent loss. You may also choose to buy polycarbonate or trivex lenses, as they are more durable and impact resistant which is particularly helpful for active kids. Children that already wear eyeglasses can consider photochromic lenses (which darken in response to sunlight) which basically gives them two pairs of glasses for the price of one.  With photochromic lenses, you don’t need to worry about your children switching, and misplacing glasses when they go in or outdoors. As with any glasses purchase, ask your optician about the policy for lost or broken sunglasses.  Make sure you get a strong storage case and discuss with your child the best ways to keep the sunglasses safe and secure. Lastly, let your child be involved in the process of selecting sunglasses, as any child will be more enthusiastic about wearing shades that he or she picked out and loves.

    Prescription Sunglass Treatments

    Prescription sunglasses

    If you spend a lot of time outdoors or driving in the car, and still need vision correction, prescription sunglasses are perfect for soothing the eyes. Since most prescription sunglasses manufacturers block 100% UV, prescription sunglasses are a healthy way to enjoy the outdoors (especially the beach) and driving using the darkest lenses available to protect against the brightness of the sun.

    Polarized sunglasses

    For reduced glare and increased clarity in your vision, a pair of polarized sunglasses can’t be beat. An invisible filter is built into your lenses—making images appear sharper and clearer while reducing the intensity of the sun’s glare. Make sure your polarized sunglasses block 100% UV, and remember that polarized sunglasses are available with or without a prescription. It’s always handy to have a second pair of eyeglasses—why not choose a second pair that makes a real difference in the comfort and clarity of vision while doing the things you love most!   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Performance and Sport Sunglasses

    Whether you are out on the field, the golf course, the waves or the mountains, you want your sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and enhance your visual experience. Sports and performance sunglasses are more than sun protection, they need to be designed for optimal, fit, comfort, acuity and strength, based on the demands of the sport or leisure activity you pursue. Each element of your sports eyewear needs to be designed for active wear and to stand up to the tests of extreme weather conditions, rough play, impact and of course the sun.  If you are fishing for example, you need anti-glare protection in your lenses for when the sun’s bright rays reflect off the water, you need a broad frame to keep out the mist and wind and you need strong frames and lenses for impact resistance. Most importantly, depending on your sport of choice, your glasses should assist in creating an enhanced visual experience so you can see and perform at your best.

    Performance Sport Lenses

    The first consideration when selecting your sports eyewear is the lens.  You likely want a lightweight, strong and durable lens that can withstand impact from debris, other athletes, balls or falls. The leading lenses in this arena are polycarbonate or trivex lenses which are made from highly impact resistant plastic that has built-in UV protection. Glare can be an annoying and uncomfortable distraction in outdoor activities, which can reduce vision and have a negative impact on sports performance. Polarized lenses will help to reduce the glare that is reflected off of wet, icy or shiny surfaces.  Lens tints and coatings (such as anti-glare or anti-scratch coatings) can also help to improve visual clarity and can serve to reduce glare and to enhance contrast sensitivity to improve vision and therefore performance in certain outdoor activities. Some sports sunglasses come with interchangeable lenses of different tints to allow you to choose the contrast that most suits the conditions you are playing in.

    Sport Frames

    When selecting sports sunglass frames, the most important consideration is whether they have a comfortable and secure fit.  Look for a pair that is strong and durable, yet lightweight and that doesn’t press into your face and cause discomfort at the temples or the bridge of the nose. For some sports like snowboarding, sports goggles might be the best option for the weather conditions and specific nature of the movement.  Some frame options come with grips on the nose pads or temples to avoid slippage, particularly when you perspire. Sports sunglasses are available in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes and the type that is best for you largely depends on the activities you participate in and what they demand. It is best to consult with your eye doctor or optician to get a full picture of your eye, vision and athletic needs in order to find the best pair of sports sunglasses for you.

    Bifocal Lenses

    Sometimes our vision fails us at two or even three distinct distances, especially as we age. Bifocal lenses—lenses with two distinct viewing areas—have traditionally been a reliable solution to such a dilemma. (A lens with three distinct viewing areas is called a trifocal.) By distinct, we mean there are noticeable lines separating the two different fields of vision within a bifocal lens surface. A slight adjustment to the angle of the head allows wearers to choose which lens area to look through based on the distance of the object they’re trying to see. A farsighted person who also has trouble reading may be prescribed a pair of bifocal reading glasses, for example. The upper section of the lens would correct difficulties seeing objects at distance, and the lower section would assist in reading. (Bifocal glasses date back to the days of Benjamin Franklin!) While wearers quickly adjust to the line separating the multiple vision fields, it is a noticeable distraction within the lens itself. This line can be eliminated using a newer lens technology called progressive lenses. Progressive lenses incorporate two, three, or more fields of vision within a single lens without noticeable lens lines. Bifocal, trifocal and progressive lenses are all considered “multi-focal” lenses—lenses that provide correction to multiple vision problems. Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today! 

    High Index and Aspheric Lenses

    What are High Index Lenses?

    A high index lens is a lens that has a higher “index” of refraction. This means it has a greater ability to bend light rays to provide clear vision for people with stronger prescription glasses. But that’s the technical terminology. What do high index lenses mean for eyeglass wearers? Thinner, lighter, and more visually appealing, that’s what! High index lenses are manufactured to be thinner at the edges of the lens and lighter in weight overall. High index lenses are a good option for people who have strong prescriptions for myopia—commonly called “nearsightedness” due to a difficulty in focusing on far objects. A high-index lens can bend light rays more, while using less material in lenses created for both nearsighted and farsighted people (hyperopia).

    No more soda bottle glasses

    In times past, strong prescriptions meant thicker, heavier lenses, giving some a “glass bottle” appearance. But now, with high index glasses available in thinner, lightweight plastic (as well as slightly heavier glass), lens wearers with stronger prescriptions can get more attractive, yet equally effective, lens products. Because high-index lenses bend light more, anti-reflective (AR) treatment is often recommended as an add-on for optimum clarity of vision. For better comfort, better vision and improved cosmetic appeal, people with strong prescriptions can’t beat high-index lenses. Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Photochromic Lenses

    Photochromic lens technology has been around for over 40 years. Photochromic lenses change from clear to dark based on the intensity of UV radiation. Remove the source of UV radiation from the lenses, and they return to their clear state. The amount of photochromic reaction (how much a lens darkens) depends upon the intensity of the UV radiation present, combined to a lesser extent with the current temperature of the air. That means photochromics adjust automatically to indoor and outdoor light conditions. Photochromic lenses automatically adjust to outdoor lighting conditions by providing the right level of tint, and return automatically to their clear state; both indoors and at night. Watch a short video on photochromic lenses: Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Polycarbonate Lenses

    Polycarbonate lenses are high index lenses that are known primarily for their exceptional impact resistance and anti-scratch coating. If you or your children are always bumping, scratching or dropping your eyeglasses, this is the material for you. Up to 10 times more impact resistant than standard plastic eyeglass lenses, polycarbonate is a first-rate option for people with an active lifestyle. Developed in the 1970s, polycarbonate has been protecting eyes for quite a while. Superb Eye Safety If you regularly engage in sports or physical activity, these tough, durable lenses provide an extra degree of safety for your eyes. In fact, most protective eye gear and sports goggles are made from polycarbonate lenses, even when no vision prescription is needed. In addition, polycarbonate boasts built-in protection from the sun’s UV rays, making this an ideal lens material for time spent outdoors. Lightweight The refractive index of polycarbonate lenses is 1.59, which results in a lens that’s 20% to 25% thinner than common plastic lenses. Weighing in at 30% lighter than regular lenses, polycarbonate takes a load off the bridge of your nose! Trivex Lenses Developed in 2001, Trivex lenses are constructed from a newer plastic that shares many properties with polycarbonate. While also thin, scratch-resistant, highly impact-resistant and lightweight, Trivex lenses may be slightly thicker than polycarbonate lenses. For some vision prescriptions, they may provide a better visual clarity and more scratch resistance than polycarbonate lenses.

    Progressive Lenses

    progressive diagramReferred to as "no-line" bifocals or trifocals, progressive glasses are ideal for patients who have presbyopia —a vision condition marked by a decrease in the ability to focus sharply on nearby objects. As we age naturally, our ability to see nearby objects and objects in the distance can decrease. Progressive lenses address separate visual needs in one lens—usually with a “distance viewing” field build into the upper portion of the lens, and a “near vision” field built into the lower portion. Unlike traditional bifocals or trifocals, there are no visible lines separating the different fields of a progressive lens. Your eyes are seen clearly behind the progressive eyeglasses, you’ve got the same “look” as eyeglass wearers often half your age, and there are no “lens lines” to distract your vision. Watch a short video about Progressive Lenses: Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today! 

    Consider a Second Pair of Glasses

      Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Caring for Lenses

    When it comes to prescription lens care, there’s a simple rule that, if followed, will virtually guarantee years of optimum performance from your glasses: If they’re not on your face, then keep your eyeglasses in a case. Trouble is, no one really follows that simple rule, all of the time. (You know who you are.) If you, like so many of us, don’t always use a solid case to store your prescription glasses, then the following lens care and maintenance tips will go a long way toward maintaining your healthy sight.

    Cleaning glasses and protecting your lenses

    Keep it clean. Keep it simple. To wash your prescription eyeglass lenses, eye care professionals suggest you gently rub your lenses clean with your fingers using warm, soapy water. Rinse them, and then pat them dry with a clean, soft cloth. Many optical suppliers sell ultra-fine, machine-washable microfiber lens cleaning cloths that trap dirt and dust. Try to avoid rubbing prescription lenses with rags, facial tissues or paper towels, as they could scratch your lenses. And definitely avoid using household cleaners, acetone or soaps with cream—as chemicals may damage your frames.

    A strong case for storage

    Storing your lenses in a sturdy protective case whenever you are not wearing them will go a long way towards preventing scratches on your lenses. Proper storage also helps to keep prescription eyeglass lenses clean while protecting your valuable frames. Never place prescription glasses in a purse, pocket or bag unprotected.

    Let them down gently

    Okay. You don’t always use the case. If setting your prescription lenses on a table or desk, it’s best to close your frames first before laying them down. Always set them frame-side down to avoid scratching the lenses. The floor is never a good place to leave your glasses. And when in the bathroom, remember: A sink or vanity top puts your lenses in an unfavorable position. Spatters, sprays and cosmetic products can quickly soil lenses. What’s more, anti-reflective (AR) treatments can be damaged by hairsprays or perfume. Keep glasses on your nose, not on your head. Prescription eyeglass lenses are designed to rest on your nose in front of your eyes; not on the top of your head. Frames can become misaligned in this manner, making even the cleanest of lenses less than effective if not positioned properly in front of the eye. Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today! 

    Eyeglass Frame Materials

    It’s time to choose a new pair of eyeglasses, and the current selection of frames is overwhelming. Armed with only your vision prescription, you now need to navigate between different materials, colors, prices and unique features of all the eyeglass frames. Here is a basic guide that explains about the most common types of frames and what they have to offer. Metal Frames The most popular material for eyeglass frames, there is a whole array of metals to consider. Each metal comes with a distinctive set of properties and characteristics. Titanium: Extremely resilient and corrosion-resistant, titanium is also hypoallergenic and weighs in at 40% lighter than other metals. Available in a variety of color tones, titanium is an ideal material for eyeglasses. Beta titanium: Titanium mixed with small quantities of aluminum and vanadium, this alloy is more flexible than pure titanium. Adjustments to your eyeglass fit are therefore done easily. Memory metal: Frames made of memory metal are composed of a titanium alloy that has approximately 50% nickel and 50% titanium. These eyeglasses are very bendable and will return to their original shape even after they are twisted and turned. Memory metal frames are superb for kids or anyone who is rough on their eyeglasses. Beryllium: The primary advantage of beryllium is its corrosion-resistance. A less costly metal than titanium, beryllium doesn’t tarnish. It is an ideal option for anyone who spends a lot of time around salt water, or who possesses high skin acidity. Flexible, durable and lightweight, beryllium comes in a range of colors. Stainless steel: Manufactured in both matte and polished, glossy finishes, stainless steel is strong, flexible, corrosion-resistant and lightweight. An iron-carbon alloy, it also contains chromium. Monel: This popular alloy of copper and nickel is less expensive than other metals, yet depending upon the quality of plating used – it sometimes discolors or causes skin reactions after long use. Aluminum: Lightweight and very resistant to corrosion, aluminum boasts a unique look and is frequently used in high-end, exclusive eyewear. Plastic Frames Zyl: Abbreviated from “zylonate” (cellulose acetate), zyl is relatively inexpensive and very popular in plastic eyeglass frames. Lightweight, it is available in a rainbow of colors, including multi-colored versions and layers of different colors within one frame. Propionate: Often used in sports frames, propionate is extremely durable and flexible. This nylon-based plastic is also lightweight and hypoallergenic. Nylon: Over recent years, nylon has been replaced largely by more resilient nylon blends, such as polyamides, gliamides and copolyamides. While 100% nylon is lightweight and strong, it tends to weaken with age and become brittle. Cellulose acetate: A plant-based plastic that is hypoallergenic. This material was first used for eyewear in the late 1940’s because of brittleness and other problems with previously used plastics. Today’s acetates are known for being strong, lightweight, and flexible. Cellulose acetate also has the widest range for transparency, rich colors, and finishes. More complex colorations are able to be produced by layering several colors or transparencies in layers and sandwiching them together. Combination Frames The best of both worlds, combination frames offer metal and plastic components in one frame. These styles were trendy in the 1950s and 1960s and have recently been revitalized for a fun comeback in many more colors and tones than the classic versions. Mix It Up! Each respective frame material brings unique features and advantages to your eyeglasses. One pair of glasses may not fit every part of your daily routine, in addition to social outings and special occasions. Perhaps a pair of titanium frames is best for your sophisticated, conservative work environment, but on the weekends you’d prefer to show off style with a retro zyl frame in laminated colors? Consider purchasing more than one pair of eyeglasses, and match your frames to your personality and lifestyle.

    Frame Maintenance

    Your eyeglass lenses are designed to correct your vision based on being held firmly in a fixed, stable position in front of your eyes. So when it comes to your eyeglass frames, it’s pretty easy to see why frame protection and maintenance is so important. Many of us don’t realize how critical proper eyeglass frame alignment really is. But it’s why our eye care professional checks and double checks the position of our eyeglass frames in relation to face shape and size. The correct part of the lens needs to align properly in front of the eye for ideal vision correction. Eyeglass frame protection maintenance isn’t time consuming—but it is a common sense, routine task you can perform to keep your vision in the clear. Here are tried-and-true ways to keep your eyeglass frames in mind. And in place.

    Caring for eyeglass frames

    Both hands, please! Eye care professionals suggest using both hands when putting on and taking off your glasses to avoid twisting or misaligning them. Gently grasp the frame arms of your glasses with equal pressure and carefully slide them on, lifting them over your ears. Use the same grip to remove them, sliding them up and forward. Pay attention.When was the last time you actually took a good look at your frames? Periodically check your eyeglass frames to see if they are misaligned, and to test for loose screws in the frame arms. If the eyeglass frame looks twisted, or if your lenses seem to ride uneven on your nose, then it’s time to drop in on your eye care professional for a (typically free) adjustment. In addition, many drug stores sell inexpensive eyeglass tool kits containing a small screwdriver and an assortment of temple screws for emergency repairs. Adjust early, adjust often. It’s a good idea to stop by your neighborhood optician to have your eyeglass frames adjusted. Many opticians will re-adjust your frames, whether you purchased your glasses from them or not. Even a slight adjustment can make an important difference in your healthy sight. Don’t try this at home. Adjusting your eyeglass frames is not a do-it-yourself job. Your eye care professional is trained to know how your lenses need to be positioned relative to your eye. Also, an eyeglass frame can contain fragile materials and design elements. You might just snap them in your effort to fix them. That means no bending of frame arms! Don’t forget to wash.Just as you need to wash your lenses, you need to wash your eyeglass frames. Regularly. With soapy water and a soft cloth. Not on your head, not on the floor, not by the sink… Storing eyeglass frames on your head can stretch and misalign them. Stepping on your glasses is the quickest way to twist them or break them. And the bathroom sink is a good recipe for soiled lenses as well as frames. Sturdy eyeglass frame cases exist for good reason. Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today! 

    Specialty Eyewear Overview

    You may think that you are set with your everyday eyewear, but there are a lot more options than just sun and ophthalmic glasses.  Whether it’s water sports, a construction job or even working around the home, there are many circumstances which require specialty eyewear to add extra protection, prevent injury, and improve vision and performance.   Here is an overview of some of the different types of specialty eyewear to consider. Sports Eyewear Typical eyewear is not made to hold up to the safety and performance standards required for sports and athletic use. Sports eyewear is made of stronger materials and design for ultimate impact resistance and durability. Sports eyewear is also designed for ultimate comfort, fit and coverage to protect from elements such as sun, water or wind.  The lenses are also made with impact resistant materials such as innovative plastics such as Trivex or Polycarbonate.  Most lenses will also include 100% UV protection, anti-glare and anti-scratch properties to further protect the lenses. Polarized lenses will also aid your sports eyewear to improve vision in outdoor environments. Depending on your sport there may be a specific type of eyewear suited to your needs such as sports goggles, shooting glasses or ski goggles. Speak to your optician about your sport of choice to determine the safest and most effective eyewear for you. Computer Glasses If you sit for extended periods of time at a computer or in front of a handheld screen you are at risk for computer vision syndrome, eye strain, eye fatigue, headaches and muscle strain. This is largely because your eyes view a computer screen differently than they view the world around you. Glare from the screen can also exacerbate these issues.  Computer glasses are designed to reduce the strain and to create a more comfortable visual experience when looking at your screen. Reading Glasses As we approach the age of 40, our near vision begins to weaken - a condition called presbyopia.  This can be corrected by wearing reading glasses when reading or doing close work. There are a number of options for reading glasses depending on your vision needs.  People with distance vision correction needs may prefer bifocal or multifocal lenses that allow you to see at a distance as well with the same pair of glasses. It is worthwhile to speak to your optometrist to find the best solution for your vision near and far. Safety Glasses and Goggles Whether you are working with power tools in construction, mowing your lawn or using harsh cleaning products, there are plenty of household projects and hobbies that can pose a serious risk to your eyes and vision.  Whether it is the danger of debris being projected toward your eyes or a chemical splash, safety goggles or glasses should be worn whenever dealing with dangerous materials or machinery. Specialty eyewear manufacturers are always developing new innovations to protect your eyes and improve your vision during the activities that you enjoy.  Ask your optometrist about the specialty eyewear that is suitable for your interests and hobbies.

    Safety and Sports Glasses

    Nowadays, sports eyewear tells the world that you are a serious player. It doesn’t matter whether you bat in Little League or skate with the pros, eye gear for sports offers a long list of benefits. Protective eyewear, such as specialized goggles and wraparound frames with polycarbonate lenses, helps to reduce or eliminate your risk of eye damage. An added bonus is that performance is often enhanced, due to the high quality vision provided from eyewear made for wearing on the playing field. Eye gear for sports is not merely recommended, but now mandated by many clubs. Members are required to wear proper protective eyewear in order to participate in activities. Once upon a time, kids used to cringe at the concept of wearing goggles, but just like bike helmets have become the norm – sports goggles are now accepted as part of the uniform and regarded as ultra-cool. Protect Your Eyes from Fast and Furious Sports Action If you’re still unconvinced about your need to wear protective eyewear for sports, take a look at these scary statistics:
    • Hospital emergency rooms treat 40,000 eye injuries annually, which are sports-related
    • Tennis and badminton are played with objects that zoom at 60 mile per hour or faster. With racquetball, the ball can whizz by at 60 to 200 miles per hours.
    • Activities such as racquetball involve racquets that swing at lightning speed in a confined space where crashes are inevitable.
    • Many sports are filled with pokes and jabs from elbows or fingers. Even basketball is associated with a high incidence of injuries to the eye.
    Up Your Performance with Sports Eyewear Until recently, people with mild to moderate vision correction used to play their games without wearing eyeglasses or contacts. Yet top performance in any sport is dependent upon sharp vision. Eye gear and goggles for sports allow you to compete at your best, with 20/20 eyesight. Key Features of Sports Glasses Sports eyewear does not share the same characteristics as regular eyeglasses, sunglasses or industrial safety glasses. Crafted in a variety of shapes, sports eye gear is specialized to suit the specific needs of each respective sport. Many types of eyewear are even designed to fit into helmets worn when playing football, baseball or hockey. Protective lenses are generally made from polycarbonate, a durable and impact-resistant material that boasts full UV protection for outdoor action. Polycarbonate lenses are also scratch-resistant, which is a valuable feature for many rough sports. The frames are typically designed from highly-impact resistant plastic or polycarbonate, and they are coated with rubber padding at every point that connects with your face. Some frame styles are contoured to wrap around your face, which provides secure coverage for activities such as hang-gliding, sailing and biking. Non-prescription wraparound shapes are useful for contact lens wearers, as they block your eyes from dust or wind. Classic handball goggles used to be fashioned as plain goggles with small openings instead of lenses. That style was abandoned once it was realized that the high speed of handballs actually compressed the balls enough to penetrate through the goggle opening and seriously damage the orbital bones around your eye. Modern and effective goggles for handball and racquetball include polycarbonate lenses that protect your eyes. Importance of a Good Fit There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to sports goggles. Proper sizing is critical for top-notch function. For kids, many parents may be tempted to purchase larger goggles so that they’ll be long-lasting with room to grow. Yet if the frames are truly oversized, they won’t protect the child’s eyes adequately. Impact or blows to the face or head won’t be cushioned properly. On the flipside, wearing sports goggles that are too small is just as hazardous. Not only will the child be constantly tempted to take them off due to discomfort, but the eyewear will also disturb peripheral vision. Without a good view of all that’s happening around your child, sports performance will be compromised. Hits from unseen sources on the sidelines are another risk factor. The fit of sports goggles should be reassessed each year. The eyewear should still feel comfortable and provide proper eye protection. The padding on the interior of the goggles must rest flush with your or your child’s face, and eyes should be centered in the lens zone.

    Eyewear for Swimming, Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

    If you need vision correction, participating in swimming and watersports requires an extra bit of planning. You want to see your best both in and out of the water but your regular glasses and contact lenses aren’t feasible options.  Well the good news is, there are prescription swimming goggles and masks available to provide optimal vision in the water and here is what you need to know about them. First of all, many people don’t know about the dangers of wearing contact lenses in the water.  Wearing contact lenses in any kind of water, whether it is an ocean, a pool or even a shower, is risky because bacteria in the water could cause an infection if they get under your lens. Unless you are wearing a mask or goggles that are 100% sealed and don’t let any water underneath, wearing contacts in the water is not recommended. If you do decide to wear contact lenses in the water, it is recommended to discard them immediately upon exiting the water. Prescription Swimming Goggles A fantastic solution for swimmers is prescription swimming goggles. These are regular swim goggles with either pre-made or a custom made prescriptions lenses. Pre-made lenses will likely not be fit to your exact prescription needs, but if you select them appropriately, they will be adequate for you to see well for swimming and sporting in the water. Custom made goggle lenses will fit your prescription, although they will be slightly different than your regular eyeglass prescription because of the differences in seeing underwater. Whether you are purchasing pre-made or custom made swimming goggles, you should consult with your eye doctor and/or an optician knowledgeable on the topic to make sure you select the optimal lens for your vision needs. If you have astigmatism or another eye condition, you may have additional needs to consider. Prescription Snorkeling and Scuba Diving Masks If you scuba dive or snorkel you want to see every detail of the beautiful underwater world. You can achieve this by using a dive mask with a prescription lens.  There are a few options for prescription masks. In the first option corrective lenses are bonded or glued to the inside of your mask, creating a second layer.  A second option is to purchase a mask in which the entire lens of the mask is replaced with a prescription lens. These can be premade or custom made lenses. There are also now masks that are made with removeable lenses in which you can buy the corrective lens separately and insert it yourself. You may have to adjust to viewing with a corrective dive mask because the lens might be further from your eyes than you are used to with your regular eyewear. In general, pre-made prescription lenses on both goggles and masks are cheaper than the custom made options. In most cases, since you are using them for a relatively short period of time, the pre-made options can suffice. If however, you are a serious diver and want to see as clearly as possibly, it may be worthwhile to look into a custom made mask.

    Shooting Glasses and Hunting Eyewear

    Firearms can be dangerous, and all have some recoil. In addition most shooting occurs outside, where elements such as dust, wind, sun, trees and vegetation can potentially harm eyes. Therefore it’s very important to use eye protection at all times when engaged in shooting activities, indoors and outside. Generally, sports goggles that you can buy without prescription usually protect your eyes if you wear contacts or don’t need glasses. These goggles usually wrap around your eyes to form a shield against the elements. Make sure to buy goggles with lenses made of polycarbonate, which is the best and strongest lens material available. Features of Shooting Glasses Glasses for shooters are specially designed and have several important features. These glasses have more features that the general aviator- shaped frames that are popular. The most important feature is that the frame has a safety rating. Don’t buy any shooting glasses that don’t have such a rating. All of these models have a strong rim which holds the lenses in place. Some glasses have a “sweat bar” that goes along the width of the frame which creates stability for the frame to stay on the face. Other models use padding on the frame around the eyes, which cushions the frame on your face. This protects your face from gun recoil. Additionally, it adds to the protection against the elements. Glasses for shooting often have temples with spring hinges. This type of hinge allows the frame to move without breaking. Many glasses often include temples that wrap around your ear which helps keep the frame in the correct position on your face. Features that make the frames more comfortable often include soft silicon pads around the nose, which also help to keep the frame in place. Frames may be made out of several different types of materials, including various metals and titanium, plastic and polycarbonate. Lenses for Shooting Glasses Shooters have chosen polycarbonate lenses with UV protection and a scratch-resistant coating as their lens of choice for years. Polycarbonate lenses are extremely resistant to impact, and also give a lot of “bounce back” and “blow back” protection. However, there are newer materials for lenses that have been developed recently that are also excellent choices for shooters. Non-prescription shooting glasses often come with interchangeable lenses. These lenses are used when facing varied conditions of light. If you need prescription lenses, you can order your lenses in various colors of your choice. Shooters often enjoy using orange or yellow colored lenses. These colors of lenses block blue light as well as haze. They also provide a more vivid hue of orange, which is often the color of the target. Bright yellow lenses are good for using in low light, or foggy weather conditions. A light purple lens is particularly good for seeing an orange target when the background is green trees. Purple lenses are made from a mixture of vermillion and gray. Some shooters like vermilion, because this color helps see where there is a natural outdoor background, and helps the target to stand out. If you prefer a neutral or natural color, gray is the color of choice. A gray lens allows you to see all colors naturally, and are good for using in strong sunshine. Polarized lenses are available in most colors. Polarized lenses are good for use in the outdoors, as they reduce glare. This is particularly helpful when shooting near water.

    Contacts & Glasses that Enhance Performance

    Every sports activity requires a different skill set for success, yet all sports share a critical need for good vision. Geraint Griffiths, a British optometrist, devised a study to determine the effects of visual acuity on sports performance. This study distributed special vision-blurring goggles to Wimbledon tennis players and UK national clay pigeon shooters. Their performance was studied while the goggles were worn. Even though the goggles only blurred their vision a bit, the marksmen and tennis players showed a 25% decrease in accomplishment. This study demonstrated clearly that vision and sports achievement are inextricably linked. Visual clarity isn’t the only benefit provided by sports eyewear. There are a number of additional eyewear features that boost athletic performance and enhance eye safety. Protect Your Eyes from Impact-Related Injuries As reported by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, over 42,000 sports-related eye injuries occur in the United States each year. Approximately 43% of those injuries happen to children under the age of 15. The majority of these injuries can be prevented with protective eyewear, such as safety goggles with polycarbonate lenses. Regular eyeglasses are designed for daily wear, and they aren’t resilient enough to handle the rough and tumble wear needed for sports. They also provide inadequate protection for your eyes. Contact lenses offer zero protection from sports-related eye injuries. In contrast, sports eyewear is constructed to be highly impact-resistant, thereby granting superior protection for your eyes and removing anxiety about potential eye injuries. Able to withstand the hit of a ball traveling at up to 90 miles per hour, polycarbonate lenses are about 10 times more impact-resistant than regular lenses. Safety eyeglasses are advised for every activity that has the potential for injuries to the eye. Be aware that the following land sports run a higher risk to eyes: softball, baseball, hockey, football, basketball, handball, squash, racquetball, tennis, volleyball, soccer and lacrosse. In water, all swimming and pool sports require specialized eye gear. Paintball players should also make safety eyewear an essential part of their game. A Barrier against UV Rays Harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation can be just as damaging to your eyes as other injuries. A number of eye diseases, such as ocular tumors, macular degeneration, and cataracts, have been associated with exposure to UV rays. Photokeratitis, which refers to sunburn on your eye, is another hazard. This painful condition can cause long-term corneal damage. Dangerous UV rays are more potent at higher altitudes and also bounce off snow or outdoor water, which increases exposure. It is imperative for skiers and anyone who enjoys outdoor water sports to wear sports sunglasses or tinted goggles that block 100% of the sun’s UV rays. Some types of contact lenses provide UV protection, yet they only cover the central part of your eye. For this reason, sunglasses that block UV rays should still be worn, preferably in a wraparound style that also covers the delicate tissues surrounding your eyes. Hats with a wide brim will upgrade your protection by further reducing facial exposure to UV rays. Enhance Your Game with Colored Lenses Special tinted eyewear may add a winning edge to your game. Depending upon the lighting conditions, it’s not always simple to “keep your eye on the ball”. Hunters favor shooting glasses with amber tinted lenses, which highlight the contrast of birds flying against an overcast, dim sky. Golfers tend to gain the largest benefit from green tinted lenses. A wide range of specialized tints for specific indoor and outdoor sports are available. These lenses can improve visibility and contrast in a diversity of environments. Ask your eye doctor or optician for more information about which lenses can help raise your scores. Don’t Let Light Get in the Way Reflective surfaces, such as a flat body of water, a sandy beach or even light-colored pavement, can disturb your vision with glare. Polarized sunglasses are one effective way to resolve this problem. Another glare reducer is to add and anti-glare (AG) component to your lenses. At night, sports eyewear with anti-glare will diminish lens reflections when playing under bright lights or spotlights. It’s a good idea to apply anti-glare to the back surface of sport sunglasses in order to decrease the glare that bounces into your eyesight when sunlight hits the back of your lenses. You can control the light that enters your eye by wearing photochromic lenses. These clear lenses transition automatically into dark lenses upon exposure to UV rays. They also offer 100% UV protection, and return quickly to their former clear state when you go indoors. Contacts Provide Comfortable and Convenient Vision Many advantages come along with wearing contact lenses for sports, even if you normally wear eyeglasses on a daily basis:
    • Unobstructed peripheral vision
    • Natural-appearing vision, with no changes in image sizes
    • No fogging lenses
    • Non-slip when perspiring
    The best contact lens choice for sports is soft one-day disposables. There’s no need to clean them and you can toss them in the garbage at the end of the day. The flexible, oxygen-permeable material of one-day soft lenses also requires very little adaptation. They can be inserted easily and worn comfortably for a full day of physical activity. Although contact lenses offer high convenience and comfort, there are still a number of disadvantages with wearing contacts for sports. No protection against eye injury is provided and they don’t offer sufficient UV protection. For ultimate performance and safety, you need to wear quality protective eyewear or sunglasses over your lenses.

    UV Protection

    uv diagramThere is no shortage of information about ultraviolet rays (UV) and how prolonged, unprotected exposure to UV can lead to skin damage. It’s why we wear sunscreen when we’re in the sun for extended periods of time. Sunscreens offer various degrees of UV protection by filtering out or “blocking” the harmful, invisible UVA and UVB wavelengths of light. But did you know the same, serious approach to protecting your skin also applies to your eyes? Watch a short video about UV rays.

    UV protection is critical to eye health

    Eye exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause damage your eyes. Over time, UV can contribute to serious age-related eye conditions or diseases. That’s why wearing lenses with maximum UV protection is so very important. Because UV rays are always present outdoors—on sunny days, cloudy days and every day in between. Unlike sunscreen that you apply and reapply, eyeglass lenses and sunglasses can have ultraviolet protection built into the lens, or applied as a lens treatment. Remember, although UV is invisible to the human eye, it is always present. Your lenses, therefore, should always provide UV protection. The most important thing you need to know about UV glasses is this: Be certain your eyewear provides near or exactly 100% UV protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Anything less is less than ideal for the short and long-term protection of your healthy sight.

    Learn More

      Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for information material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Scratch Resistant

    There’s no such thing as scratch-proof lenses. (Even glass lenses can be scratched!) Scratches, while not likely to affect your lens performance, are an annoyance that can interfere with clear vision. That’s why you should always request scratch resistant lenses (treatment) for your eyeglass lenses. Many of today’s lens products have hard scratch-resistant protection built into the lens—a hard surface treatment that is specifically designed to resist scratches. But it’s not an automatic feature! Be sure to discuss scratch resistant glasses options with your eye care professional. We put our glasses through a lot from day to day—and our children, even more so. Scratch resistant lenses can go a long way toward minimizing the everyday wear and tear we put on our eyewear.

    Lens care for scratch-resistant glasses

    Don’t forget, no treatment can completely protect eyeglass lenses from scratches. But you can help out! Remember to keep your glasses in a cushioned, sturdy case when not wearing them. Clean them regularly with warm, soapy water and dry them with a clean, soft cloth. With scratches as with life, a little extra care goes a long, long way.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for information material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Anti-Reflective

    anti-reflective

    More comfort. Better vision. Reduced glare from oncoming headlights. Greater cosmetic appeal. It might be hard to believe, but anti-reflective lenses can provide all of these benefits—as an add-on for any number of lens products. The same technology used to provide anti-reflective benefits to precision lenses in microscopes and cameras, is now available to enhance your healthy sight. Watch a short video about Anti-Reflective lens treatments. An anti-reflective treatment applied on the front and the back of prescription lenses greatly reduces the light reflected by the lens surfaces. As a result, your eyes appear clearer behind the lenses, vision is more defined, and glare from reflected objects—especially headlights at night—is virtually eliminated. Plus, if you have a high-powered “strong” prescription, anti-reflective coating makes your eyes appear more natural.

    How anti-reflective lenses works

    Carefully calibrated layers of metal oxides are applied to the front and the back of the lenses. Each of these layers is designed to block reflected light. That includes glare, annoying reflections, and the hazy “halos” you often see around lights at night. Take special care to use only the cleaning agents recommended by your eye care professional, as anti-reflective treatments are delicate by design. They work well for sunglasses too—but as a general rule should only be applied to the back side of the lens to eliminate glare reflected around the sides of the frame.

    Learn More

      Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for information material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Are Transitions® Lenses Right For You?

    Transitions® Lenses are for everybody.

    Woman in sunglassesInnovative photochromic technology offers unparalleled lens performance in nearly every lens design and material available today; including shatter-resistant lenses, bifocals, trifocals, progressives, and standard and high index materials. All this, plus the benefits of 100% UVA and UVB protection, glare reduction, and everyday high performance, makes Transitions® Lenses the #1 recommended photochromic lens worldwide! So no matter where you live or what you do—day in and day out—Transitions® Lenses are the ideal everyday prescription eyeglasses for children, adults, and patients with special eye care needs.

    Healthy sight in every light.

    • Automatic UV protection and glare control that's convenient and effortless
    • Virtually as clear as regular, hard-coated clear lenses indoors
    • Even clearer with an anti-reflective coating
    • As dark as most sunglasses outside in bright light
    • Fast to activate
    • Fast to fade back
    • Block 100% of the sun's eye-damaging UV rays
    • Reduce painful, discomforting glare
    • Reduce eye fatigue
    • Improve contrast
    • Offer the right tint at the right time in changing light

    Seek 100% UV protection, and consider a second pair.

    Research shows that only 13% of people associate extended exposure to the sun with damage to their eyes—as compared to 70% who recognize the danger to their skin. Make sure you select photochromic lenses that block 100% of harmful UV rays for your eyes, an important factor when considering eye health and healthy sight as a vital part of a lens purchase. See if Transition® Lenses are right for you. Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Original Transitions Lenses

    <Transitions IconOriginal Transitions lenses are designed to meet the needs of the majority of those who appreciate the value of eyewear offering adaptive lens technology. With the widest variety of lens designs and materials to choose from, original Transitions lenses quickly adapt between indoor and outdoor conditions, offering a distinct advantage over ordinary clear lenses.
    • Changes from clear indoors to dark outdoors
    • Clear as an ordinary clear lens indoors and at night
    • Blocks 100% of the sun's harmful UVA & UVB rays
    • Available in Gray or Brown
    • Compatible with leading frame brands and styles
    Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Transitions® Lenses XTRActive

    Group of people in sunglassesIf you spend more of your day outdoors than indoors or enjoy a lens with a slight tint indoors, then Transitions® Lenses XTRActive™ lenses may be right for you. Transitions® Lenses XTRActive lenses are the darkest everyday photochromic lens--even in warm weather—and have a moderate tint behind the windshield.
    • Lenses change from light tint indoors to very dark outdoors
    • Designed for those who spend most of their day outdoors
    • The darkest everyday Transitions® Lenses available - even in warm weather
    • Moderate tint behind the windshield
    • Blocks 100% of the sun’s harmful UVA & UVB rays
    • Available for most frames and with non-glare treatments.
      Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Transitions® SOLFX Sunwear Products

    Lady reading bookTransitions® Lenses SOLFX sun lenses are high-performance sunwear specifically designed for outdoor use. Traditional sunwear remains the same level of darkness regardless of the level of sunlight. This is why in certain situations some sunglasses can seem too dark, while other situations the same pair may not seem dark enough. Transitions® Lenses SOLFX sun lenses self-adjust, changing the level of darkness with the changing amount of sunlight so you can see better, look great and perform at your best.
    • Sun lenses that adjust from dark to darker depending on the sun
    • Offers a variety of colors and tint ranges by outdoor need
    • Multiple unique product offerings designed for specific outdoor activities.
    • Blocks 100% of sun’s harmful UVA & UVB rays.
    • Compatible with many frame brands and styles to create custom look
    • Available in prescription and non-prescription.
      Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Transitions Lenses Video

      Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Glaucoma Testing & Treatment

    Happy African American Girlfriends. Regular eye exams help detect glaucoma. When was your last eye exam?

    Glaucoma Eye Exams

    Glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable vision loss and blindness in older individuals in the United States and Canada and the second leading cause of blindness in the World, even more than macular degeneration.

    What is Glaucoma?

    Glaucoma is not a single disease. It is actually a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve due to an increase in pressure inside the eye, which is called intraocular pressure (IOP). When detected in the early stages, glaucoma can often be controlled, preventing severe vision loss and blindness. However, symptoms of noticeable vision loss often only occur once the disease has progressed. This is why glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight”. Unfortunately, once vision is lost from the disease, it usually can’t be restored. Treatments include medication or surgery that can regulate the IOP and slow down the progression of the disease to prevent further vision loss. The type of treatment depends on the type and the cause of glaucoma.

    Risk Factors

    Prevention is possible only with early detection and treatment. Since symptoms are often absent, regular eye exams which include a glaucoma screening are essential, particularly for individuals at risk of the disease. While anyone can get glaucoma, the following traits put you at a higher risk:
    • Age over 60
    • Hispanic or Latino descent, Asian descent
    • African Americans over the age of 40 (glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African Americans, 6-8 times more common than in Caucasians.)
    • Family history of glaucoma
    • Diabetics
    • People with severe nearsightedness
    • Certain medications (e.g. steroids)
    • Significant eye injury (even if it occurred in childhood)

    Understanding Glaucoma

    Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma: Due to a buildup of pressure in the eye, glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve which is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain. How does glaucoma affect your vision?

    Types of Glaucoma: There are a number of types of glaucoma, some more acute than others. Learn about the common types of glaucoma and the differences between them.

    Diagnosis and Treatment of Glaucoma: Early detection and treatment of glaucoma are essential to stopping or slowing the disease progression and saving vision. Treatment can include medicated eye drops, pills, laser procedures and minor surgical procedures depending on the type and stage of glaucoma.

    Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma

    The intraocular pressure caused by glaucoma can slowly damage the optic nerve, causing a gradual loss of vision. Vision loss begins with peripheral (side) vision, resulting in limited tunnel vision. Over time if left untreated, central vision will also be affected which will increase until it eventually causes total blindness. Unfortunately, any vision that is lost from the optic nerve damage cannot be restored.

    What are the Symptoms?

    Typically, glaucoma sets in without any symptoms. At the early onset of the most common type of glaucoma “open angle” glaucoma, vision remains normal and there is no pain or discomfort. This is why the disease is nicknamed the “sneak thief of sight”. An acute type of glaucoma, called angle-closure glaucoma, can present sudden symptoms such as foggy, blurred vision, halos around lights, eye pain, headache and even nausea. This is a medical emergency and should be assessed immediately as the intraocular pressure can become extremely high and cause permanent damage within hours.

    Types of Glaucoma

    The primary forms of glaucoma are open-angle and narrow-angle, with open-angle being the most common type.

    Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG)

    POAG gradually progresses without pain or noticeable vision loss initially affecting peripheral vision.  By the time visual symptoms appear, irreparable damage has usually occurred, however, the sooner treatment starts the more vision loss can be prevented.  When untreated, vision loss will eventually result in total loss of side vision (or tunnel vision) and eventually total vision loss.

    Normal-tension glaucoma or low-tension glaucoma

    This is another form of open-angle glaucoma in which the intraocular pressure remains within the normal level. The cause of this form of glaucoma is not known, but it is believed to have something to do with insufficient blood flow to the optic nerve, causing damage. Individuals of Japanese descent, women and those with a history of vascular disease or low blood pressure are at higher risk.

    Angle-closure glaucoma

    Acute angle-closure glaucoma is marked by a sudden increase in eye pressure, which can cause severe pain, blurred vision, halos, nausea, and headaches. The pressure is caused by a blockage in the fluid at the front of the eye which is a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. Without prompt treatment to clear the blockage vision can be permanently lost.

    Congenital glaucoma

    The inherited form of the disease that is present at birth. In these cases, babies are born with a defect that slows the normal drainage of fluid out of the eye; they are usually diagnosed by the time they turn one. There are typically some noticeable symptoms such as excessive tearing, cloudiness or haziness of the eyes, large or protruding eyes or light sensitivity. Surgery is usually performed, with a very high success rate, to restore full vision.

    Secondary glaucomas

    Glaucoma can develop as a complication of eye surgeries, injuries or other medical conditions such as cataracts, tumors, or a condition called uveitis which causes inflammation. Uncontrolled high blood pressure or diabetes can result in another serious form called neovascular glaucoma.

    Pigmentary glaucoma

    A rare form of glaucoma, this occurs when pigment from the iris sheds and clogs the drainage of fluid from the eye resulting in inflammation and damage to the eye and drainage system. Treatment of glaucoma is dependant upon the severity and type of glaucoma present.

    Glaucoma Diagnosis and Treatment

    Detecting Glaucoma

    During a routine comprehensive eye exam to check for glaucoma, your eye doctor will dilate your eye to examine the optic nerve for signs of glaucoma and will also measure the intraocular pressure (IOP) with an instrument called a tonometer.

    IOP Measurement

    Tonometry involves numbing the eye with drops and then gently pressing on the surface of the eye to measure the pressure. Since your IOP can fluctuate throughout the day and glaucoma can exist without elevated IOP this is not enough to rule out the disease. If there are signs of the disease, further testing will be performed.

    Visual Field Test

    A visual field test is designed to detect any blind spots in your peripheral or side field of vision. You will be asked to place your head in front of a machine while looking ahead and indicate when you see a signal in your peripheral field of view.

    Retina Testing

    Your doctor may also measure the thickness of the cornea with an ultrasonic wave instrument in a test called pachymetry or use imaging techniques such as digital retina scanning or optical coherence tomography (OCT) to create an image of your optic nerve to look for glaucoma damage.

    Treating Glaucoma

    Treatment for glaucoma depends on the type and severity of the disease and can include medication such as eye drops or pills or laser or traditional surgery.

    Medication

    Medication and drops to lower IOP are often the first resort for controlling pressure-related glaucoma. These drops may have some uncomfortable side effects, but compliance with the treatment plan is essential for preserving vision and halting the progression of the disease.

    Surgery

    Surgical procedures are designed to control the flow of fluids through the eye by either decreasing the amount of fluid produced or improving the drainage. Your doctor may decide that a combination of surgery and medication will be the most effective in many cases.

    Prevention

    It cannot be stressed enough that the most effective treatment for glaucoma happens when the disease is detected and treated early before significant vision loss occurs. Any vision that is lost cannot be restored. This is why the best prevention is awareness by knowing your risks and taking responsibility by having your eyes examined on a regular basis.

    Macular Degeneration

    Senior Man with Macular Degeneration

    What Is Age Related Macular Degeneration or AMD?

    The macula on the retina provides sharp, central vision. The breakdown of the macula is a disease called macular degeneration, and can be serious. Untreated macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in those over 65 years old. While researchers have not yet discovered a cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), there are treatment options which prevent the disease from progressing to blindness, and in some cases, they can even improve vision. It’s important to have an open discussion with your eye doctor about the risks and limitations of AMD treatments. [eyemaginations id='61d6c86b-4b59-4d17-48c1-457d43ea455c']

    Types of Macular Degeneration:

    There are 2 basic types of AMD, the wet form and the dry form.
    • Dry macular degeneration is considered the less aggressive form of AMD. It typically progresses much more slowly, and the level of eyesight damage is less severe. Dry AMD is detected during routine eye exams, which is why it’s important to have yearly testing. Treating Dry AMD often involves high doses of zinc and antioxidants which have been shown to slow diseases progression.
    • Wet macular degeneration is the more severe form of AMD. Call us to book an emergency eye doctor's appointment if you experience a sudden worsening of blurry central vision. Wet AMD occurs when there is abnormal blood vessel growth (angiogenesis), and leakage, which can cause scar tissue to develop. Treatments include laser surgery, injecting light sensitive dyes, or AMD medication injected directly into the eye to inhibit angiogenesis.

    Learn More About AMD

    AMD is an age related eye disease that runs in families, and is a leading cause of blindness in our aging population. There is no cure for this ocular disease, and AMD related vision loss is cannot usually be recovered. There are treatments, and preventative measures that can be taken, if detected early, so routine eye exams are essential. Read more about macular degeneration symptoms and treatment. Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide for informational material that aided in the creation of this website.

    Diabetic Eye Disease

    Woman with Diabetes, Happy with her eye care Diabetes is associated with several eye health issues including cataracts and glaucoma, but the most well known diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy.

    Diabetic Retinopathy

    Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that only affects diabetics. It occurs when the fragile vascular network that supplies the retina – the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that helps us see – begins to swell or leak. During the beginning stages of the disease, there may be no noticeable symptoms, so it’s important to have your eyes checked at least once a year, if you have diabetes. Once symptoms of diabetic retinopathy do develop, they can include: dark or black spots in your visual field, or blurry vision, and it increases over time. This is a result of bleeding at the back of the eye, which prevents a clear image from being transmitted from the retina to the brain. Whether you have type 1, type 2, or even just gestational diabetes, you are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. The longer you have had the disease, the greater the risk. It is essential to keep your blood sugar levels under control to prevent vision loss, and this may require a trip back to your primary care physician. Treating diabetic retinopathy can include vitrectomy, replacing the inner gel-like substance that supports the eyeball structure, and laser surgery. Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website.

    Glossary of Eye Care Terms

    Amblyopia: Also called lazy eye. Decreased vision in one eye that leads to the use of the other eye as the dominant eye. A problem most commonly associated with children. Anti-Reflective (A/R coating): A lens treatment for your glasses that helps to reduce distracting glare and eye fatigue by reducing the amount of light reflecting off the lens surface and making the lenses appear clearer. Your eyes will also be more visible behind the lenses. Astigmatism: An eye condition where the eye cannot focus light uniformly in all directions resulting from an irregular curvature of the cornea, the crystalline lens, or the eye itself. Astigmatism results in mild to moderately blurred vision and/or eyestrain. Bi-Focal Lenses: Lenses that use two different distinct powers in each lens, usually for near and distance correction. Cataracts: A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye that makes it hard for light to pass through and be focused properly. In a normal eye, the crystalline lens is almost transparent, however injury, age or disease can cause the lens to eventually lose its clarity. When the lens becomes 'opaque,' it is called a cataract. Treatable by surgery. Color deficiency: A lack of ability to distinguish certain colors. Commonly called “color blindness”, the most common form of color deficiency is the inability to distinguish shades of red and green. Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye): An eye condition caused by the inflammation of the conjunctiva, or clear membrane covering the white part of the eye and lining of the eyelids. The eyes will often appear swollen and red while also feeling gritty. It is often viral and may be contagious. There are actually 20 different types of conjunctivitis – from fairly common strains that usually pose no long-term danger to you or your child's vision – to types that are resistant to antibiotics. Call or see your doctor to treat pinkeye. Cornea: The transparent, multi-layered front part of the eye that covers the pupil and iris. It provides most of the eye’s optical power. Dry Eye Syndrome: An eye condition that presents itself as itching, burning, and irritation of the eyes, is often called "dry eye syndrome". It is one of the most common problems treated by eye care professionals. It is usually caused by the breakdown (or deficiency) in the tears that lubricate the eyes. As we age, our bodies produce less oil to seal the eyes' watery layer. Hot, arid climates, air conditioning, certain medicines and irritants such as cigarette smoke can all increase dryness of the eye. Your eye care professional might prescribe "artificial tears" or other eye drops to help alleviate the problem. Floaters and Spots: A generalized term used to describe small specks moving subtly but noticeably in your field of vision. A floater or a spot is likely a tiny clump of gel or cells in the vitreous – the clear, jelly-like fluid inside your eye. Aging, eye injury and breakdown of the vitreous are the main causes of floaters and spots. If you notice a sudden increase in the number you see, call your eye care professional. Fovea: A tiny spot in the center of the retina that contains only cone cells. This area is responsible for our sharpness of vision. Glaucoma: A common cause of preventable vision loss when excessive pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve. Treatable by prescription drugs or surgery. High(er) Index: A dense lens material that results in thinner, lightweight lenses than standard plastic. Index refers to index refraction which is the speed that light travels through the lens. Higher index lenses are available from 1.56 to 1.74 (the higher the number, the thinner the lens). They benefit people with stronger prescription eyeglasses. Hyperopia: A condition where distant objects are seen clearly, yet objects close up are seen less clearly. Also commonly referred to as “farsighted.” Iris: The pigmented (colored) membrane that lies between the cornea and the crystalline lens that controls the size of the pupil. Crystalline Lens: The eye’s natural lens located directly behind the iris. It has the ability to change shape to focus light rays onto the retina. Macula: The part of the retina responsible for the sharp, central vision needed to read or drive. Macular Degeneration: A group of conditions that include a deterioration of the macula causing a loss of central vision needed for sharp, clear eyesight. It is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in those 65 years of age and older. Macular Degeneration is also called AMD or ARMD (age-related macular degeneration). Minor Eye Irritation: Slight irritation of the eye caused by a foreign body on the eye’s surface such as sand, dirt or eyelashes. Wash your hands, then flush the eye with lukewarm water for up to 15 minutes. If the irritation remains and discomfort continues, seek professional medical help immediately. Multi-Focal Lenses: Multi-focal lenses let you focus on two or more distances through the same lens (usually distance, intermediate, and near). Also known as Bi-focals, Tri-focals, Multi-focals. Myopia: A condition where distant objects appear less clearly and those objects up close are seen clearly. Also commonly referred to as “nearsighted.” Nyctalopia: Commonly called “night blindness,” this is a condition that presents as impaired vision in dim light or darkness. Optic Nerve: A bundle of nerve fibers that carries messages from the eyes to the brain. Photochromic lenses: Refers to lenses that automatically change from clear to dark in the presence of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Photophobia: Also called “light sensitivity”, this is a condition that can have many underlying causes, and can be prompted by many medications. Protection from bright light is critical for anyone with photophobia. Plastic 1.50: This is a lens material often used for minor prescriptions. Very few lenses are made from glass today, since glass is heavier, thicker, and can shatter. Also referred to as standard index or by the brand name CR-39. Polarized lenses: This type of lens includes an invisible “polarized” filter that helps to cut down on blinding glare from reflective surfaces like water and snow for increased visual acuity (sharpness) in bright light conditions. Polycarbonate lenses: A lens material that is thinner, lighter, and more impact resistant than standard plastic. Polycarbonate lenses are the standard for children’s eyewear. Presbyopia: Condition in which the aging crystalline lens (at around age 40) becomes less able to change shape to focus light at all distances, especially near vision. Presbyopia can be corrected with reading glasses, bi-focal glasses, or progressive lenses. Additional symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, and squinting. Progressives: Bi-focal or multi-focal lenses with no visible lines where the lens power gradually changes from distance to near. Also called PALs (Progressive Addition Lenses). Pterygium: A raised growth on the eye that is most often directly related to over-exposure to the sun. Dry, dusty conditions may also contribute to development of these growths. Protecting your eyes from UV radiation is a critical preventive measure. Pupil: The opening in the center of the iris that changes size to control how much light is entering the eye. Pupillometer: An instrument used to measure the distance between pupils. This measurement is used to position the eyeglass prescription correctly in front of the eye. Refraction: Test to determine an eye’s refractive error and the best corrective lenses to be prescribed. Retina: Part of the rear two-thirds of the eye that converts images from the eye’s optical system into impulses that are transferred by the optic nerve to the brain. Consists of layers that include rods and cones. Rods and cones: These are cells inside the eye used by the retina to process light. Rods are used for low light levels (night vision), cones are used for sharp visual acuity and color perception. Sclera: The white part of the eye – composed of fibrous tissue that protects the inner workings of the eye. Single-Vision: Types of lenses that correct one vision problem, like near or far-sightedness. Snellen Chart: This is the commonly seen eye chart often topped by a large letter “E” used in eye examinations. This measures your eye’s visual acuity, or the ability to see sharp detail clearly. Strabismus: Sometimes called “crossed eyes” in young children, this condition is the lack of coordination between the eyes, such as one or both eyes turning in, out, up or down. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR): Commonly referred to as “UV Rays”, these are light waves that consist of both UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Without proper protection, chronic exposure to UV rays can lead to various eye conditions and damage. UV Protection: Relates to a lens’ ability to filter out harmful rays of the sun. It is recommended that glasses block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays to minimize eye damage from the sun’s rays. Visual Acuity: Assessment of the eye’s ability to distinguish object details and shape – numerically expressed as 20/20, 20/70, etc.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Healthy Sight

    When we’re talking about healthy sight, we’re really talking about the immediate, short and long-term care and protection of your vision—the sense that provides you with a unique and personal view of the world. So much of what we learn, what we experience, and what we enjoy comes to us through our eyes. Healthy Sight isn’t a slogan; it’s a way of life that enhances your everyday vision while preserving the well being of your eyes. It means getting regular checkups. Eye health means wearing the correct prescription if corrective lenses or contacts are needed. It means knowing how to protect your eyes from glare, from the sun’s harmful UV rays, from the hazards of extreme activities. Having healthy eyes understanding how lifestyle, diet and personal habits can affect the way you see—today and tomorrow. Healthy sight means protecting your children’s vision as well.

    Healthy body. Healthy habits. Healthy eyes. Healthy sight.

    Your eyes are a part of your body. Some of the same healthy habits that protect your general health also promote healthy eyesight:
    • Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables
    • Drinking water to hydrate your body and your eyes
    • Not smoking, and avoiding long-term smoke exposure
    • Wearing ultraviolet (UV) protection
    • Considering appropriate vitamin supplements
    Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and carotenoids such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin have shown some promise in research studies at reducing the risk and progression of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

    Additional Eye Health Reminders

    Research shows a surprising number of healthy sight habits go overlooked, like fully treating diagnosed eye problems with proper medication when prescribed. That means following the directions to the letter until the medicine is gone. Also remember to share any current medication prescription information with your eye doctor, as there may be unwanted visual side effects when mixing eye medicine with other prescriptions. You’d be surprised how many of us admit to working in low light or poor lighting situations—be sure to utilize proper, even lighting when reading or doing work that requires concentration. And adjust your computer screen lighting to fit your environment. Both glare and UV radiation present particular visual hazards and dangers. Take the time to understand how to minimize both, with protective lenses or lens products that have glare reduction and 100% UV blockage built-in. There’s more—much more—to consider if you truly wish to commit to healthy sight. Considerations you’ll find completely explained throughout the EyeGlass Guide.   Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    How the Eye Works

    To understand how the human eye works, first imagine a photographic camera—since cameras were developed very much with the human eye in mind. [eyemaginations id='55116391-497f-4d60-403f-44fd44834a84']

    How do we see what we see?

    eye diagramLight reflects off of objects and enters the eyeball through a transparent layer of tissue at the front of the eye called the cornea. The cornea accepts widely divergent light rays and bends them through the pupil—the dark opening in the center of the colored portion of the eye. The pupil appears to expand or contract automatically based on the intensity of the light entering the eye. In truth, this action is controlled by the iris—a ring of muscles within the colored portion of the eye that adjusts the pupil opening based on the intensity of light. (So when a pupil appears to expand or contract, it is actually the iris doing its job.) The adjusted light passes through the lens of the eye. Located behind the pupil, the lens automatically adjusts the path of the light and brings it into sharp focus onto the receiving area at back of the eye—the retina. An amazing membrane full of photoreceptors (a.k.a. the “rods and cones”), the retina converts the light rays into electrical impulses. These then travel through the optic nerve at the back of the eye to the brain, where an image is finally perceived.

    A delicate system, subject to flaws.

    It’s easy to see that a slight alteration in any aspect of how the human eye works—the shape of the eyeball, the cornea’s health, lens shape and curvature, retina problems—can cause the eye to produce fuzzy or blurred vision. That is why many people need vision correction. Eyeglasses and contact lenses help the light focus images correctly on the retina and allow people to see clearly. In effect, a lens is put in front of the eye to make up for any deficiencies in the complex vision process.

    The main parts of the human eye include:

    • Cornea: transparent tissue covering the front of the eye that lets light travel through
    • Iris: a ring of muscles in the colored part of the eye that controls the size of the pupil
    • Pupil: an opening in the center of the iris that changes size to control how much light is entering the eye.
    • Sclera: the white part of the eye that is composed of fibrous tissue that protects the inner workings of the eye
    • Lens: located directly behind the pupil, it focuses light rays onto the retina
    • Retina: membrane at the back of the eye that changes light into nerve signals
    • Rods and cones: special cells used by the retina to process light
    • Fovea: a tiny spot in the center of the retina that contains only cone cells. It allows us to see things sharply.
    • Optic Nerve: a bundle of nerve fibers that carries messages from the eyes to the brain
    • Macula: a small and highly sensitive part of the retina responsible for central vision, which allows a person to see shapes, colors, and details clearly and sharply.
      Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

    Protecting Your Eyes

    Tennis playerDid you know…
    • Nearly half of traumatic eye injuries relate to ball sports
    • 45% of these occur in children under the age of 14
    • 90% of these are preventable
    Polycarbonate is a lens material that is widely used for shatter-and-impact resistant lenses, and when combined with sturdy frame materials, makes for formidable eye protection. There are hazards of sunlight and bright light that are harder to understand; namely, ultraviolet rays (UV) and Glare (extreme brightness). Protecting your eyes from these distracting, even dangerous elements is equally important to eye protection.

    Eye Exams

    Children's Vision

    Vision is arguably the most important of the five senses; it plays a crucial role throughout childhood and beyond. Yet many parents don't understand how vision helps their children develop appropriately. The articles below can help.

    Vision Surgery

    Learn more about common eye surgeries:

    Eye Diseases

    The following is a list of common eye diseases. For information about eye problems such as astigmatism, blepharitis, keratoconus and many more please see Eye Conditions.

    Eye Conditions

    The following is a list of common eye conditions. For information about cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy please see Eye Diseases.

    Vision Over 40

    Vision Over 60

    FAQs of Vision Insurance Plans

    How and Where Does One Obtain Vision Insurance? Individuals can buy a vision benefit plan.  Vision insurance plans may be available through your place of employment, school district or through social plans like Medicare or Medicaid. Indemnity health insurance is traditional insurance, which allows policyholders to access medical providers of their choice. Vision insurance is often a value-added benefit included in indemnity health insurance plans, health maintenance organization (HMO) plans and plans offered by preferred provider organizations (PPOs). An HMO health plan requires its members to access health care only from HMO providers.  HMOs provide health care services to plan members at discounted rates. HMOs include a range of health care professionals – doctors, laboratories and hospitals. A PPO is a network of health care professionals who provide health care services to membership at discounted rates. Plan members may use out-of-network providers, but they usually will pay more for the services rendered. What Types of Vision Insurance Plans Are Available? Vision insurance comes in two forms, a discount vision plan or a vision benefits package. Discount Vision Plan - Eye care at fixed discounted rates after an annual premium or membership fee and a deductible are paid. Vision Benefits Package - Usually, a vision benefits package requires an annual premium or membership fee, a yearly deductible for each enrolled member and a co-pay each time a member accesses a service. Discount vision plans and vision benefits packages are  custom-designed to meet the different requirements of a wide range of customers, such as unions, big, mid- size and small companies and school districts. What is included in vision insurance? Standard Vision insurance usually includes the following services and products:
    • LASIK and PRK vision correction at discounted rates
    • Annual eye examinations
    • Contact lenses
    • Eyeglass frames
    • Eyeglass lenses
    Usually, services acquired from network providers are more affordable than services from out-of-network providers. Are there payment options? If group vision insurance is available from your employer, you pay for it through payroll deductions or flexible spending accounts. A flexible spending account, sometimes referred to as a cafeteria plan, allows an employee to use pre-tax dollars to purchase selected health benefits such as vision insurance. This plan saves your money because you receive the full benefit of income that has been set aside for health costs, making it not subject to or reduced by taxation. If you are self - employed or if your employer does not offer vision insurance then you can expect to be billed monthly or annually.

    What’s in Your Vision Insurance Plan

    There are more options for vision insurance today than ever before. Whether your vision insurance plan is one you choose as an additional benefit in your employer health benefits package, or vision coverage you seek on your own through an insurance company or vision benefits provider, there are basics you should understand to make the most of vision insurance.

    Understanding Vision Plans and Coverage

    The options available to you in vision plans can be a little daunting. If you’ve chosen your vision insurance through your employer, your HR department and the insurance company literature—and websites—are a good place to start to understand what your vision insurance plan does and does not cover. In general, there are two types of vision insurance plans:

    Vision Benefits Package

    Often purchased as an addition to traditional employer-provided healthcare, this type of vision insurance includes a fixed set of benefits related to eye health and maintenance, such as routine eye exams and testing, discounts for corrective eyewear, even benefits that reduce the cost of eye surgery. Vision insurance like this typically includes a network of participating eyecare professionals who have agreed to honor the plan particulars. This type of vision insurance plan has evolved over the years to include more personalized choice for the consumer in the form of defined contribution vision coverage—where you, the consumer, choose the particular services and discount offerings based on what you expect your vision expenses to be. Many of these vision plans involve using pre-tax dollars deducted automatically by your employer in the form of Flexible Spending Accounts, 'Cafeteria' Plans, Health Savings Accounts or Health Reimbursement Accounts. Each has particular tax advantages and drawbacks you should discuss in full with your vision plan administrator or provider, and if necessary, a tax professional.

    Vision Discount Plans

    While similar to traditional vision benefits, this type of vision insurance is generally less flexible than a vision benefits package because it offers flat discounts across the board for a wide menu of vision-related services, including specified discounts on eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses, even many surgical procedures. You agree to pay the difference in cost in full—however these types of plans generally offer lower premiums than traditional vision benefit plans. Vision insurance like this typically includes a “network” of participating eyecare professionals who have agreed to honor the stated discounts within the vision plan, so long as you agree to pay the difference.

    Vision Insurance Planning

    It may sound confusing at first, but you can plan to use your vision insurance to your maximum benefit by fully understanding what is specifically covered or not covered under your vision insurance plan, and by also discussing options with your eyecare professional to see how best to apply your particular vision coverage to your eyecare expenses. This planning includes fully understanding any traditional health insurance coverage you may have. Unexpected eye injury, or the onset of certain eye diseases and their related treatments is often covered by your traditional health insurance rather than your specific vision insurance plan. The point here is—it’s your vision insurance, your vision coverage—understanding your particular vision insurance plan is critical to maximizing those benefits.

    Use it or lose it. Vision insurance benefits do expire.

    Depending upon the type of vision insurance plan you’ve enrolled in, your vision insurance benefits may expire annually. This means if you don’t “use it” you “lose it” until the next year. Since you are contributing your hard-earned money toward your vision coverage, there’s really no excuse to skip your annual eye exam or see your optometrist should you experience any changes in your vision. What’s more, many of the defined contribution vision insurance plans (Flexible Spending Accounts in particular) don’t allow for your deposited money to roll over into the next year. If you don’t spend what you’ve allocated, you may be at risk of losing that money entirely. Think beyond the traditional examination to a second pair of eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, photochromic lenses, or eyewear that’s specifically designed to fit your lifestyle. All might be within ready reach if you maximize your vision insurance coverage. Special thanks to the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, for source material that aided in the creation of this website.

    CareCredit

    CareCredit As a service to our patients, we are pleased to offer the CareCredit card, the nation's leading patient payment program. CareCredit lets you begin your procedure immediately—then pay for it over time with low monthly payments that are easy to fit into your monthly budget. So, you can begin your vision care today and conveniently pay with low, monthly payments. CareCredit offers a comprehensive range of No Interest and Extended Payment Plans.

    No Interest Payment Plans

    • No interest if the balance is paid within the specified time period
    • Low minimum monthly payments

    Payment Plans

    • 24, 36, 48 & 60 month plan options [Click for Details]
    • 24, 36 and 48 financing terms are for purchases of $1,000 or more with a 14.9% APR
    • Purchases of $2,500 or more qualify for the 60-month offer with a 16.9% APR
    With CareCredit, you pay no up-front costs, no pre-payment penalties and no fees. Plus, CareCredit is a revolving credit line for additional treatment or add-on charges, without the need to re-apply. It only takes a few minutes to apply for CareCredit and you may receive an online decision in seconds! Apply now or see our staff for more details.

    Sunglasses

    woman sunglasses hair blowingWhether or not you require vision correction, sunglasses can add an element of comfort and enhanced performance to your activities, while helping you look great. [eyemaginations id='47797e99-435b-4349-4ccc-48d147bd484b']

    Eyeglass Basics

    Modern eyewear serves a dual purpose. In addition to being a vision-correcting medical device used to enhance your safety and quality of life, eyeglasses have become a major fashion accessory. Therefore, when it comes to selecting eyeglasses there are many important factors to consider.

    The Frame

    Frames are made from a large variety of materials ranging from acetates and hard plastics to metals and metal alloys. The quality of frame materials is very high nowadays with many cutting-edge manufacturers investing heavily in developing new innovations and materials to make stronger, more flexible, lighter and more beautiful frames. In considering the optimal material for your eyeglass frame, your lifestyle plays a big role.  Children and those with active lifestyles require durable and flexible frames that are resistant to breaks from hits and falls.  Those who have skin allergies need to seek out frames made from hypoallergenic materials such as acetate, titanium or stainless steel.  Other characteristics of frame materials to consider are the weight or flexibility of the material as well as the price.  Many designers also use wood, bone or precious metals to adorn frames and add an extra . Hinges and nosepads also play an important role in durability and comfort of your frames. Children in particular can benefit from spring hinges and nosepads which can keep the frames from slipping off. Rimless or semi-rimless glasses are also an option for those that durability is not a primary concern. Frame size is a very important factor in frame selection.  Frames should fit well and not slip off the nose or be too tight and press against the temples or the sides of the nose. More and more top fashion design brands are coming out with designer eyewear collections to suit every taste and style.  Frames come in all colors, sizes and shapes so the choices are endless in finding a frame that suits your personal style and looks good with your face shape and coloring.

    Lenses

    Even though people spend much more time focusing on frame selection, as a medical device, the lenses of your eyeglasses are the most important part.  It is therefore very important that you obtain your lenses (and therefore your glasses) from a reputable source.  It is always best to buy eyeglasses through an eye doctor who is able to check that the lenses are made and fitted properly to ensure your best possible vision. There are a number of variables to consider in selecting lenses. If you have a high prescription which may require thicker lenses, you may want to ask for aspheric lenses which are thinner than normal lenses. There are lenses that are made from materials that are more durable and shatter-resistant such as polycarbonate or trivex, which can be useful for children or sports eyewear. Photochromic lenses can serve as eyeglasses and sunglasses as the lenses darken when exposed to the sunlight to block out the sunlight and UV rays. Polarized lenses create greater eye comfort by reducing glare specifically from the water or snow and are great for sunglasses for those that spend time outdoors. There are also a number of coating options that you can add onto lenses to enhance certain characteristics such as anti-reflective coatings, anti-scratch coatings or UV coatings to reduce exposure from the sun.  Adding a coating may require special cleaning or treatment so ask your eye doctor or optician about special instructions.

    Eyeglasses Over 40

    Once you approach age 40 you are likely to begin to experience presbyopia which is the loss of the ability to focus on close objects.  This happens as the eye begins to age and can easily be corrected with reading glasses. However, if you already have an eyeglass prescription for distance vision, you will need a solution that enables you to see your best both near and far. There are a number of options available for presbyopes including bifocals, multifocals and progressive lenses with new technology improving the options all the time.  You should speak to your eye doctor about the best solution for your individual needs. Whether they are for a child’s first pair, a second pair of designer frames or a senior with a complicated prescription, you should always consult with your eye doctor for a new pair of glasses.  Ultimately, your eyeglasses have a job and that it to help you to see your best to get the most out of every day.

    Prescription Eyeglasses

    eyeglassesNo matter what your eye condition, or how you choose to view the world, there are now prescription lenses that meet your unique lifestyle and vision correction needs. Eyeglass lenses that change as the light changes, from clear indoors to dark outdoors. Bifocal lenses that provide multiple fields of vision. High-index lenses that are thinner and lighter than ever before. And progressive lenses that eliminate the traditional lines of multi-focal lenses. The point is, while eyeglass lenses are prescribed to correct all kinds of vision problems, prescription lenses have come a long way—offering you the opportunity to truly customize your eyeglasses and make a statement about how you choose to look at the world. [eyemaginations id='63e35483-492a-440a-4b22-40f3438944d0']

    Specialty Eyewear

    Sport laneswim underwater bkground sm Sports, water activities and all types of outdoor recreation depend upon top visual skills. In addition to crisp eyesight, you need excellent depth perception, eye-hand coordination and peripheral awareness. Our optical technicians will match you to the best specialized eyewear for your needs. Whether you play racquetball, go SCUBA diving or spend your leisure time hunting, our eye care team will examine your vision and recommend the most appropriate eyewear. With consideration for your particular sport or hobby, our eye doctors will customize your eye exam. We may use tests to inspect your vision while in motion outside, or while you’re interacting with other objects or players. Computerized exams with 3D, holographic images are very helpful, as well as automated testing that measures your reaction time. We offer an extensive selection of specialty eyewear, and you may need more than one pair of eyeglasses to suit all of your requirements! In addition to safety glasses for sports, we also feature eyewear to protect your eyes from extended computer use. Driving glasses, designed with polarized lenses to diminish glare, are another popular item. Customized tints are also available to enhance contrast for sharp vision in all weather conditions. If your occupation involves hazardous work, such as using power tools, we have a variety of safety eyewear to recommend. Whatever your sport or hobby, make sure that you are protecting your eyes and achieving optimal performance with the right pair of specialty eyewear.  Contact us today to set up a specialty eyewear consultation.

    Lens Treatments

    Woman with glasses sitting by wall 1280×853A lens treatment is a special additive that either bonds with the lens, or is built into the lens during the lens manufacturing process. Lens treatments are available as individual additions to lenses, and are also commonly bundled into single lens products for convenience and maximum benefit to your eyes. Common Lens Coatings & Treatments:

    Transitions® Lenses

    Welcome to a near-perfect pair of glasses.

    Women using phoneTransitions® Lenses are photochromic lenses that are clear until dangerous ultraviolet radiation (UV) is present. Once outdoors, the brighter the sun, the darker Transitions®  Lenses become. They turn as dark as sunglasses by automatically reacting to the intensity of UV radiation. Since Transitions® Lenses block 100% of the sun's eye-damaging rays and help to reduce painful, discomforting glare, they protect your eyes on cloudy days, sunny days, and everything in between. Transitions® Lenses are the most convenient way for you to protect your eyes from the light you can see and the light you can’t. All while helping to improve the quality of your vision and the long-term health and well-being of your eyes. That means healthy sight for just about everyone, anywhere, anytime!

    EyeGlass Guide

    EyeGlass Guide 2.0

    Visit our interactive on-line tool and we'll guide you through a series of questions about you, your lifestyle and your specific eyewear needs. As you answer, you'll notice the background photos changing as well as the lenses and the glasses on the lower right. You'll also get to view brief information videos about specific products that might be of interest. At the end, you'll receive eyewear suggestions specifically tailored to meet your needs and designed to help you really click with your eye care professional - your ultimate EyeGlass Guide.

    Comprehensive Eye Exams

    Eye Exams For the Whole Family

    Eye Exam for patients of all ages Routine eye exams are important, regardless of your age or physical health. During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will not only determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, but will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.

    Schedule an Eye Doctor's Appointment

    Contact our eye care clinic to schedule an eye exam near you, today.

    Eye Disease Management

    Mother Father and Son, multicultural family. It's worth preventing vision loss with early diagnosis of eye disease.

    Ocular Disease Diagnosis and Treatment

    Preserving the eyesight of our patients so they can get the most out of life is our greatest goal. Our Eye Care Clinic makes it a policy to ensure that all staff members are up-to-date on the latest technology and techniques to make your visit as comfortable and effective as possible. As optometric technology changes, it is even more important to visit an eye doctor who has all the right optometry qualifications and follows the latest developments in eye care. Utilizing cutting edge technology, we diagnose and manage, with greater precision, diseases like Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, Cataracts, and Diabetic Retinopathy. Earlier and more precise diagnosis means earlier treatment and better outcomes. We can take an aggressive approach to diseases that previously had few treatment options. Great advances have been made in the treatment of these diseases. [eyemaginations id='34537f00-443a-475a-4bb2-4e874f824623']

    Eye Emergencies (Pink/Red Eyes)

    shutterstock 336490448

    Red, Pink or Sore Eyes?

    We are ready to look after ALL of your eye care needs in one location. In addition to the services you already rely on us for such as routine eye exams, contact lenses, designer frames and eyeglasses - think of your Optometrist first for:
    • sore, red, or itchy eyes
    • treatment of "pink eye" and other bacterial infections
    • removal of foreign bodies from the eye (such as wood or metal)
    • treatment of eye allergies or burns
    • emergency eye care
    • post-surgical follow-up
    This is convenient and cost effective for your whole family and you can be sure you are receiving the attention of an eye care specialist. [eyemaginations id='46c9a338-4b9c-4b7d-4c4b-41524b3b4d8b']

    Eye Emergencies

    We are always willing to help, should you ever experience an eye emergency. Our office provides emergency services for eye infections, eye injuries and other eye urgencies.  State of the art equipment allows us to examine the front surface of the eye and also digitally scan inside the eye for infection or damage We accommodate many eye emergencies such as:
    • Eye infections
    • Foreign materials stuck in the eyes
    • Eye trauma
    • Scratched eyes
    • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
    • Lost or broken contact lenses or eyeglasses
    • Flashes of light in the vision
    • “Floaters” in the vision
    • Red or painful eyes
    • Dislodged contact lenses
    • Uncomfortable, itchy, or irritated eyes
    Studies have shown that an overwhelming number of emergency room visits could have been treated by an optometrist. These ranged from foreign bodies to severe eye allergies to eye infections as the most common reasons for emergency room visits. It is not always necessary to go to an emergency room for eye emergencies. Optometrists are equipped to treat the majority of eye emergencies. We understand the importance of eye care when you encounter symptoms such as those listed above. These are signs that an immediate evaluation or consultation is necessary - please call us to set one up if you are experiencing an eye emergency of any kind.

    Foreign Bodies

    A foreign body is something such as an eyelash, sawdust, sand, or dirt can that gets into the eyes. The main symptom is irritation or pain. Depending on what it is and how the injury happened, the foreign body may pierce the eye and cause serious injury or it may simply go away with no long-term problem. The foreign object may set off an inflammatory cascade, resulting in dilation of the surrounding vessels and subsequent edema of the lids, conjunctiva, and cornea. If not removed, a foreign body can cause infection. If anything is stuck in your eye for more than a period of a couple of hours, you must immediately cease all attempts to remove it yourself. Keep in mind that the eyes are an extremely delicate organ and any attempts to try anything extraordinary with them can only have negative and adverse results. If the foreign body you are talking about is not bothering you too much, then you are advised to visit an eye doctor to take care of it. If not you may need to call to emergency service of your region.

    How Can An Eye Doctor Help?

    If there is a foreign body in your eye, such as a piece of grit, your eye doctor may try and remove it. They will put anesthetic eye drops in your eye first, in order to numb it and prevent any pain. If the foreign body is easy to get to, it may be possible to remove it by simply rinsing your eye with water, or by wiping it away with a cotton wool bud or triangle of card. However, if this is unsuccessful, your eye doctor may try and remove the foreign body by lifting it out with the tip of a small metal instrument. The foreign body could be stuck underneath your upper eyelid, especially if you can feel something there, or you have scratches or grazes (abrasions) on the top half of the transparent outer layer of your eye (cornea). If this is the case, it may be necessary to gently turn your eyelid inside out in order to remove the foreign body. Once the anesthetic eye drops have worn off, your eye may feel a bit uncomfortable until your abrasion heals. Whatever is happening with your eyes or if you suffer or even suspect that a foreign body has penetrated the outer eye layer better go without delay to the nearest treatment center. Doing nothing can lead to loss of vision, premature cataracts and damage to the retina so do not take any chances, delay is dangerous.

    LASIK & Refractive Surgery Co-Management

    Happy Woman Listening to Headphones No Glasses after LASIK

    LASIK

    LASIK - Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis - is the most common refractive eye surgery today. As of 2011, over 11 million LASIK procedures have been performed in the United States and as of 2009 over 28 million have been performed worldwide. LASIK, often referred to as laser eye surgery or laser vision correction, is a type of refractive surgery for the correction of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. LASIK surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist who uses a laser or microkeratome to reshape the eye's cornea in order to improve visual acuity. For most patients, LASIK provides a permanent alternative to eyeglasses or contact lenses. LASIK is most similar to another surgical corrective procedure, photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), and both represent advances over radial keratotomy in the surgical treatment of refractive errors of vision. For patients with moderate to high myopia or thin corneas which cannot be treated with LASIK and PRK, the phakic intraocular lens is an alternative. LASIK is the premier surgery for vision correction. It is quick, almost painless and there is little or no discomfort after the procedure. Vision recovery is rapid – patients report seeing 20/20 within 24 hours. LASIK corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness and even astigmatism. With a technique called mono-vision, it can reduce the need for reading glasses among patients over age 40 who wear bifocals.

    Who Are The Optimal LASIK Candidates?

    The best candidate for LASIK is age 18+, has healthy eyes with adequate corneal thickness. This is necessary because LASIK procedure removes tissue from the cornea to reshape the eye. Chronic dry eye, corneal disease or other abnormalities may disqualify a candidate from LASIK surgery. A comprehensive eye exam is required to be sure. For your convenience, we are happy to provide LASIK pre-operative exams and consultations at our office. Note that LASIK is an elective procedure and proper consideration must include the weight of personal needs, potential gain and willingness to accept the risks involved.  There are no guarantees that LASIK will absolutely succeed to your expectations. The results are not always perfect vision. In some cases, your vision after LASIK may be permanently less clear than it was with glasses before LASIK. This outcome must be factored before deciding on LASIK surgery. Certainly there is upside. In normal circumstances and conditions LASIK can reduce your dependence on glasses and almost always gives you the ability to function well without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

    Specifics of The LASIK Procedure

    LASIK is an ambulatory, two-step procedure. You walk into the surgery center, have the procedure and walk out about an hour later. The surgery event is about 15 minutes for both eyes, but allowances should accommodate for about at the surgery location, perhaps even a bit more. First, the surgeon creates a thin, hinged flap of tissue on your cornea with an instrument called a microkeratome, or laser. This flap is folded back so the laser reshaping of your eye can begin. After laser treatment, which lasts a minute or less, the flap is repositioned and the surgeon proceeds to your other eye.

    What Is Wavefront LASIK?

    Wavefront LASIK -wavefront-assisted, wavefront-guided or custom LASIK- uses laser treatment (ablation) mapped by computerized analysis. Wavefront-guided procedures are much more precise than ablations determined by using standard eyeglasses prescriptions. They can correct subtle optical imperfections of the eye called “higher-order aberrations” that regular ablations cannot treat. Studies prove wavefront-guided ablations provide sharper vision than conventional, non-wavefront LASIK and can improve night-vision, eliminating or reducing the risk of halos or glare.

    After The Surgery

    Following the LASIK procedure, you will use medicated eye drops and clear protective shields to cover your eyes. You can open your eyes and see well enough to walk without glasses, but you must not drive yourself home. You will use medicated eye drops several times a day for a week or more to prevent infection and help the healing. You may also use artificial tears to keep your eyes moist and comfortable. You should rest your eyes as much as possible the day of your surgery. You may find it more comfortable leaving the house lights on low dim. The next day, you should see well enough to drive and resume your normal activities. Use care though not to rub your eyes until it is safe to do so. If you are currently using Latisse, discuss with your eye doctor how long after surgery to wait before re-starting the regimen. You may be asked to return to visit your doctor the following day for an eye exam. They will want to check your vision and be sure your eyes appear to be healing as they should. You will be given any additional instructions necessary about eye drops and/or artificial tears, and you can ask the doctor any questions you may have. Postoperative care may be performed by an eye doctor other than your LASIK surgeon. This is referred to as co-management. We are happy to provide post-operative care for you at our office through a co-management agreement with your surgeon. Ask us for further details.

    If My Vision Is Blurry After LASIK...

    Though most patients see clearly within a day or so after LASIK, it can take several months before your eyes completely stabilize. Until then, improvements in your vision can still occur in fits and jumps. If several months pass and your vision is still blurred, be sure to communicate and visit with your LASIK surgeon. It may be appropriate to have a second LASIK surgery -an enhancement- to sharpen your eyesight further. If an enhancement is not required, eyeglasses or contact lenses may be used to help. We will be happy to examine your eyes and discuss the options available to you.

    After LASIK Eyewear

    Even if your vision seems perfect after LASIK, you may still require or be more comfortable with eyewear. When outdoors, it’s optimal and sometimes urgent to protect your eyes from the sun’s strong and sometimes harmful rays. Use sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. For sports-sunglasses, the lenses need to have poly-carbonate for extra strength and protection. Anytime you work with power tools or do any activity where eye injury is possible, be sure to use safety glasses with poly-carbonate lenses. If you’re over 40 (or close), it’s likely you’ll need reading glasses after LASIK. Many LASIK patients benefit from prescription eyeglasses for night driving. Even a mild prescription will make your vision sharper for added safety and comfort at night.

    After LASIK Eye Care

    Remember to continue to schedule routine eye exams post-LASIK. Even with perfect vision you still need to have your eyes examined for glaucoma and other potential problems on a regular basis. Routine exams will help insure that your vision remains stable after LASIK.

    Low Vision

    Seniors with Low Vision Enjoying Life Low vision is considered significant vision impairment that usually results from serious eye disease or an injury. The vision loss, which is characterized by either reduced visual acuity (to 20/70 or worse) or reduced field of view, can't be fully corrected with glasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery. Low vision can affect both children and older individuals, but is more common in the elderly, who are at greater risk of eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts, which are some of the most common causes of the condition.

    What causes low vision and how does low vision affect eyesight?

    Among the leading causes of low vision are heredity, eye injury or brain injury, or eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, or retinitis pigmentosa. Depending on the severity and type of vision impairment, the patient may have some useful vision.  Typically the impairment includes a significant reduction in visual acuity to worse than 20/70, hazy, blurred vision, blind spots or significant visual field loss and tunnel vision. Sometimes the extent of vision loss is considered to be legal blindness (20/200 or less visual acuity in the better eye) or almost total blindness.

    How does low vision affect daily life?

    With significant vision loss it can become challenging to complete common daily tasks including reading, writing, cooking and housework, watching television, driving or even recognizing people. When low vision is diagnosed it can come as a shock. Initially, it is an adjustment to learn how to function with impaired vision but the good news is there are numerous resources and products available to assist. Because low vision often results in one’s inability to work, function independently, drive and resume normal life, many patients feel isolated and depressed.

    Visual Rehabilitation and Visual Aids

    Low vision means that a minimal amount of sight remains intact. There are millions of people who suffer from the condition and manage to function with the remaining vision available to them through the use of visual rehabilitation or visual aids.

    What are visual aids?

    These are devices that help people with low vision function by maximizing their remaining eyesight. This often involves the use of magnifiers (handheld, mounted or stand-alone), telescopes and other tools to enlarge the images of objects to make them more visible. Some visual aids reduce glare and enhance contrast which makes it easier to see. Other low vision aids act as guides to help the person focus on non-visual cues, such as sound or feel. Finding the right visual aid is a matter of consulting with a professional and experimenting with what works for you and your daily needs.

    How to make life with low vision easier

    1. Ensure that you have adequate lighting in your home.  This may require some trial and error with different lights and voltages to determine what works best for you.
    2. Use a magnifier. There is a vast selection of magnifiers available, ranging from hand-held to stand magnifiers. Binoculars and spectacle mounted magnifiers are also an option.
    3. Your optometrist or low vision specialist can recommend specialized lens tints for certain conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa or cataracts, which enhance vision or reduce light sensitivity.
    4. Use large print books for reading. Alternatively, try digital recordings or mp3's.
    5. Make use of high contrast for writing. Try writing in large letters with a broad black pen on a white piece of paper or board.
    6. Adding a high-contrast stripe on steps (bright color on dark staircase, or black stripe on light stairs) can help prevent falls in people with low vision, and may enable them to remain independent in their home.
    7. Find out by researching what other technology is available to help make your life simpler.
    If you or a loved one has low vision, don’t despair. Consult with our eye doctor about the best course of action to take to simplify life with low vision.

    Astigmatism

    shutterstock 1527205967

    Astigmatism: Causes and Symptoms

    Astigmatism is a very common eye condition that's easily corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses and on some occasions, surgery. Astigmatism is caused when your eye is not completely round. Because our bodies are not perfect, astigmatism occurs in nearly everybody to some degree but for some, not to the degree that it causes blurring. Your eye is naturally shaped like a sphere. Under normal circumstances, when light enters the eye, it bends evenly, creating a clear picture on the back of your eye. In a person with astigmatism, their eye is shaped more like a football and light entering the eye is bent more in one direction than the other. This causes only part of the picture to be in focus at any given time. Objects at any distance can appear blurry and wavy. For vision problems due to astigmatism, glasses or contact lenses, and sometimes even vision correction surgery are all possible treatments. People with undetected astigmatism often have blurred vision which can be associated with fatigue and eyestrain. While these symptoms may not necessarily be the result of astigmatism, you should schedule an eye exam if you are experiencing one or more symptoms.

    Our Eye Doctors Know Astigmatism!

    Our eye doctors can diagnose astigmatism with a thorough eye exam. Astigmatism may occur in combination with other vision problems such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, or even dry eyes. Because astigmatism gets worse over times, visit our eye doctor whenever you notice changes in your vision.

    Kids' Vision & Learning

    There's More To Children's Learning Than Just 20/20 Vision

    children rely on good eyesight to do schoolwork Even if your child doesn't need corrective lenses, he or she may be experiencing vision problems. These eye conditions can cause learning problems and substandard educational results. A child's visual acuity (how well s/he can see the wall chart) is an essential aspect of good vision but there are other factors which may prove more important. You may already be aware that a nearsighted child has little trouble reading or that good grades in school can be acquired even if much of the teacher's board cannot be seen by the student.

    Questions Related to Eyesight and Learning

    Eye movement skills:

    Do your child's eyes move across the page in a book smoothly and accurately?

    Eye focusing abilities:

    Does your child change focus from near to far and back again - between reading text from a far-away white or black-board and writing on paper?

    Eye teaming skills:

    Are your child’s eyes working together as a focus unit - do they come together for proper eye alignment for reading?

    Binocular vision skills:

    Are your child’s eyes blending visual images from both eyes into a single, three-dimensional image?

    Visual perceptual skills:

    Does your child identify and understand what s/he sees, co-relating importance, connecting with previous visual memorized information?

    Visual-motor integration:

    Is the quality of your child’s eye-hand coordination balanced?  Visual-motor integration is important not only for legible handwriting and the ability to efficiently copy written information from a book or board but also for sports. Deficiencies in any of these can be detrimental to a child’s learning ability and/or school performance.

    Vision Problems Do Affect Kids Learning

    Undetected learning-related vision problems in children are common.  A child with an untreated vision problem may be misdiagnosed with behavior problems or ADHD/ADD when in reality they have a vision problem. Vision problems, in extreme cases, ignored or misdiagnosed, can become the true root cause of a child becoming the victim or aggressor in a school bullying tragedy. Left untreated, vision problems will hinder your child's learning in school. Studies have shown that at least 13% of children between the ages of nine-thirteen suffer from moderate to severe convergence insufficiency, the ability to bring one's eyes together, which is crucial for good reading. Studies demonstrate clearly that 1 out of 4 school-age children suffer from at least one learning related vision problem.

    Learning-Related Vision Problems

    Signs and Symptoms

    Some of the most common roadmap symptoms of learning-related vision disorders are:
    • Double vision, particularly during or after reading
    • Poor handwriting
    • Hyperactivity or recklessness during class
    • Word and letter reversals
    • Easily distracted during reading
    • Poor reading comprehension
    • Poor overall school performance
    • Circumventing of reading
    • Blurred vision, especially after reading or working closely
    • Eye Strain or frequent headaches
    Call us to schedule a comprehensive child’s vision exam if your child exhibits one or more of these signs or symptoms and is exhibiting these types of problems in school.

    Comprehensive Child Vision Exam

    A comprehensive child's vision exam includes tests performed in a routine eye exam, plus specific additional tests for detecting learning-related vision problems. Extra tests would include accommodation, binocular vision, and ocular motility testing. In addition to these, depending on the type of problems your child is displaying, we may recommend other testing, either in our office or with a child’s vision and/or vision development specialist.

    Vision Therapy

    Special reading glasses or vision therapy may help your child if s/he has a learning-related vision problem that cannot be corrected with regular glasses or contact lenses. Vision therapy entails eye exercises and other activities specifically tailored for each patient to improve vision skills.

    Learning Disabilities and Vision

    Although children with learning disabilities may also have vision problems that are contributing to their difficulties in the classroom, vision therapy is a treatment for vision problems; it does not correct a learning disability. A child's learning ability and school performance may indicate learning disabilities and/or vision problems. Once your child’s comprehensive vision exam is completed, our doctor will advise you about whether a program of vision therapy could be helpful. We will refer you to a children's vision or education/learning specialist if we do not provide the specified additional services your child needs.

    Privacy Policy

    Effective: July 19, 2018 This Notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully. If you have any questions please contact our office. We are required by law to:
    • Maintain the privacy of your protected health information;
    • Give you this notice of our duties and privacy practices regarding health information about you;
    • Follow the terms of our notice that is currently in effect.
    HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION: Described as follows are the ways we may use and disclose health information that identifies you (Health Information, or PHI). Except for the following purposes, we will use and disclose Health Information only with your written permission. You may revoke such permission at any time by writing to us and stating that you wish to revoke permission you previously gave us. Treatment. We may use and disclose Health Information for your treatment and to provide you with treatment-related health care services. For example, we may disclose Health Information to doctors, nurses, technicians, or other personnel, including people outside our office, who are involved in your medical care and need the information to provide you with medical care. Payment. We may use and disclose Health Information so that we may bill and receive payment from you, an insurance company, or a third party for the treatment and services you received. For example, we may give your health plan information so that they will pay for your treatment. However, if you pay for your services yourself (e.g. out-of-pocket and without any third party contribution or billing), we will not disclose Health Information to a health plan if you instruct us to not do so. Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose Health Information for health care operation purposes. These uses and disclosures are necessary to make sure that all of our patients receive quality care and to operate and manage our office. For example, we may use and disclose information to make sure the care you receive is of the highest quality. Subject to the exception above if you pay for your care yourself, we also may share information with other entities that have a relationship with you (for example, your health plan) for their health care operations. Appointment Reminders, Treatment Alternatives and Health Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose Health Information to contact you and to remind you that you have an appointment with us. We also may use and disclose Health Information to tell you about treatment alternatives or health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. We will not, however, send you communications about health-related or non health-related products or services that are subsidized by a third party without your authorization. Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. When appropriate, we may share Health Information with a person who is involved in your medical care or payment for your care, such as your family or a close friend. We also may notify your family about your location or general condition or disclose such information to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort. Research. Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose Health Information for research. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health of patients who received one treatment to those who received another, for the same condition. Before we use or disclose Health Information for research, the project will go through an approval process. Even without approval, we may permit researchers to look at records to help them identify patients who may be included in their research project or for other similar purposes, as long as they do not remove or take a copy of any Health Information. Fundraising and Marketing. Health Information may be used for fundraising communications, but you have the right to opt-out of receiving such communications. Except for the exceptions detailed above, uses and disclosures of Health Information for marketing purposes, as well as disclosures that constitute a sale of Health Information, require your authorization if we receive any financial remuneration from a third party in exchange for making the communication, and we must advise you that we are receiving remuneration. Other Uses. Other uses and disclosures of Health Information not contained in this Notice may be made only with your authorization. SPECIAL SITUATIONS: As Required by Law. We will disclose Health Information when required to do so by federal, state or local law. To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety. We may use and disclose Health Information when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Disclosures, however, will be made only to someone who may help prevent the threat. Business Associates. We may disclose Health Information to our business associates that perform functions on our behalf or provide us with services if the information is necessary for such functions or services. For example, we may use another company to perform billing services on our behalf. All of our business associates are obligated to protect the privacy of your information and are not allowed to use or disclose any information other than as specified in our contract. Organ and Tissue Donation. If you are an organ donor, we may use or release Health Information to organizations that handle organ procurement or other entities engaged in procurement; banking or transportation of organs, eyes, or tissues to facilitate organ, eye or tissue donation; and transplantation. Military and Veterans. If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release Health Information as required by military command authorities. We also may release Health Information to the appropriate foreign military authority if you are a member of a foreign military. Workers' Compensation. We may release Health Information for workers' compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness. Public Health Risks. We may disclose Health Information for public health activities. These activities generally include disclosures to prevent or control disease, injury or disability; report births and deaths; report child abuse or neglect; report reactions to medications or problems with products; notify people of recalls of products they may be using; a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition; and the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will only make this disclosure if you agree or when required or authorized by law. Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose Health Information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws. Lawsuits. If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose Health Information in response to a court or administrative order. We also may disclose Health Information in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested. Law Enforcement. We may release Health Information if asked by a law enforcement official if the information is: (1) in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process; (2) limited information to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; (3) about the victim of a crime even if, under certain very limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person's agreement; (4) about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct; (5) about criminal conduct on our premises; and (6) in an emergency to report a crime, the location of the crime or victims, or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime. Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors. We may release Health Information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We also may release Health Information to funeral directors as necessary for their duties. National Security and Intelligence Activities. We may release Health Information to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counter-intelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law. Protective Services for the President and Others. We may disclose Health Information to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons, or foreign heads of state, or to conduct special investigations. Inmates or Individuals in Custody. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release Health Information to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be if necessary: (1) for the institution to provide you with health care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or (3) the safety and security of the correctional institution. YOUR RIGHTS: You have the following rights regarding Health Information we have about you: Right to Inspect and Copy. You have a right to inspect and copy Health Information that may be used to make decisions about your care or payment for your care. This includes medical and billing records, other than psychotherapy notes. To inspect and copy this Health Information, you must make your request, in writing, to our office. Right to Amend. If you feel that Health Information we have is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for our office. To request an amendment, you must make your request, in writing, to our office. Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to request a list of certain disclosures we made of Health Information for purposes other than treatment, payment and health care operations or for which you provided written authorization. To request an accounting of disclosures, you must make your request, in writing, to our office. Right to Request Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the Health Information we use or disclose for treatment, payment, or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the Health Information we disclose to someone involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not share information about a particular diagnosis or treatment with your spouse. To request a restriction, you must make your request, in writing, to our office. We are not required to agree to all such requests. If we agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you with emergency treatment. Right to Request Confidential Communication. You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you by mail or at work. To request confidential communication, you must make your request, in writing, to our office. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted. We will accommodate reasonable requests. Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. Even if you have agreed to receive this notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy of this notice. You may obtain a copy of this notice in our office. To obtain a paper copy of this notice please request it in writing. Right to Electronic Records. You have the right to receive a copy of your electronic health records in electronic form. Right to Breach Notification. You have the right to be notified if there is a Breach of privacy such that your Health Information is disclosed or used improperly or in an unsecured way. CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE: We reserve the right to change this notice and make the new notice apply to Health Information we already have as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of our current notice at our office. The notice will contain the effective date on the first page, in the top right-hand corner. COMPLAINTS: If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our office or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. All complaints must be made in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint. Privacy Contact Officer: Beth Triebel

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    What’s New

    Keep up-to-date on the latest vision-related news and eye care events in our Practice. [list-posts view='summary']

    Contact Us

    Contact our eye care staff to book an appointment or request an appointment by filling out one of the forms below. Or email us with your questions or concerns. We look forward to hearing from you. We believe that providing quality eye care to our patients is a two-way street, so please let us know where we can make improvements or what kind of services you would like to see in the future. Your feedback is important to us.

    Urbandale Office

    urbandale visionpark 2699 86th St Urbandale, IA 50322

    West Des Moines Office

    west des moines vision park 640 South 50th St West Des Moines, IA 50265

    Your Eye Health

    Healthy Eyes Painted in Beautiful Colors Learning about your eye health can be complicated - and might even seem overwhelming at first. To simplify things for our patients, we present our Eye Health Library, a comprehensive library of vision-related information. We invite you to browse through our library to find information that will help you better understand how your vision works, common eye conditions, surgeries and how your vision changes as you age.

    Insurance

    clipboard and eyeglasses The cost of routine eye exams and prescription eyewear can be of real concern, especially for large families. In many cases, vision insurance can lower these annual expenses. A vision insurance policy is not the same as health insurance. Regular health insurance plans protect you against financial losses due to unexpected eye injuries or disease. Vision insurance, on the other hand, is a wellness benefit designed to provide routine eye care, prescription eyewear and other vision-related services at a reduced cost. Because we provide both medical and routine eye care, we accept a number of insurance plans to help cover the cost depending on your individual needs.

    Participating Insurances

    Our practice accepts most insurance plans. Coverage may vary from one plan to the next. Please call our office to verify your benefits before your visit. [saas-insurances type="VISION"] [saas-insurances type="MEDICAL"] [row] [column span='half'] [/column] [column span='half'] [/column] [/row]

    Eyeglasses & Contacts

    Student Female Red Glasses 1280×480 Making a decision about your eyewear goes beyond good vision and makes a statement about who you are. Your decision affects how you see and also how you want to be seen by others. But with so many different styles to choose from, getting the right look for your face and your lifestyle can be overwhelming. Our optical offers a wide range of eyewear including the latest styles in designer sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses. We also carry many accessories to complete your optical purchase.

    Eye Care Services

    Happy patient getting an Eye Exam

    Comprehensive Eye Exams & So Much More

    At Vision Park, we realize that good eye care requires regular check-ups and preventative measures, as well as corrective treatment when necessary. Vision Park offers comprehensive eye examinations to check basic visual skills, confirm good eye health or detect problems. There are numerous diseases of the body that can be detected during an eye examination even if a patient has no visual or systemic symptoms. A thorough eye examination screens for problems such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, glaucoma or even symptoms of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and certain nervous system disorders. strabismus Once the eye examination is completed, we can prescribe treatment if needed, which may involve glasses or contact lenses, vision therapy, low vision aids or medical treatment. To ensure good vision well into the future, we also advise patients on preventative measures relating to occupational computer glasses, safety eyewear, sun and radiation protection and supplements to improve eye health.

    Advanced Technology

    OCT Scans

    IsenPhoto 262 200×150An Optical Coherence Tomography scan (commonly referred to as an OCT scan) is the latest advancement in imaging technology. Similar to ultrasound, this diagnostic technique employs light rather than sound waves to achieve higher resolution pictures of the structural layers of the back of the eye. A scanning laser is used to analyze the layers of the retina and optic nerve for any signs of eye disease, similar to a CT scan of the eye. It works using light without radiation, and is essential for early diagnosis of retinal and optic nerve disease. With an OCT scan, doctors are provided with color-coded, cross-sectional images of the retina. These detailed images are revolutionizing early detection and treatment of eye conditions such as wet and dry age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal detachment and diabetic retinopathy. [eyemaginations id='26fdad42-488c-4568-4134-4b18447c4e2a'] An OCT scan is a noninvasive, painless test. It is performed in about 10 minutes right in our office. Feel free to contact our office to inquire about an OCT at your next appointment.

    Visual Field Testing

    A visual field test measures the range of your peripheral or “side” vision to assess whether you have any blind spots (scotomas), peripheral vision loss or visual field abnormalities. It is a straightforward and painless test but does involve the patient's ability to understand and follow instructions. An initial visual field screening can be carried out by our staff by asking you to keep your gaze fixed on a central object, covering one eye and having you describe what you see at the periphery of your field of view. For a more comprehensive assessment, special equipment might be used to test your visual field. In one such test, you place your chin on a chin rest and look ahead. Lights are flashed on, and you have to press a button whenever you see the light. The lights are bright or dim at different stages of the test. Some of the flashes are purely to check if you are concentrating. Each eye is tested separately and the entire test takes 15-30 minutes. This instrument can create a computerized map of your visual field to identify if and where you have any deficiencies.

    OPTOS Retinal Imaging

    Annual eye exams are vital to maintaining your vision and overall health. We offer the optomap® Retinal Exam as an important part of our eye exams. The optomap® Retinal Exam produces an image that is as unique as your fingerprint and provides us with a wide view to look at the health of your retina. The retina is the part of your eye that captures the image of what you are looking at, similar to film in a camera. Many eye problems can develop without you knowing. You may not even notice any change in your sight. But, diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal tears or detachments, and other health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure can be seen with a thorough exam of the retina.

    An optomap® Retinal Exam provides:

    • A scan to show a healthy eye or detect disease.
    • A view of the retina, giving your doctor a more detailed view than he/she can get by other means.
    • The opportunity for you to view and discuss the optomap® image of your eye with your doctor at the time of your exam.
    • A permanent record for your file, which allows us to view your images each year to look for changes.
    The optomap® Retinal Exam is fast, easy, and comfortable for all ages.  To have the exam, you simply look into the instrument one eye at a time and you will see a comfortable flash of light to let you know the image of your retina has been taken. The optomap® image is shown immediately on a computer screen so your doctor can review it with you. Please schedule your optomap® Retinal Exam today!

    MPOD Measurement

    The Macular Pigment Optical density (MPOD) is a screening instrument which measures pigment levels in the macula of the retina to rule out risks for macular degeneration. In addition to general practice, Vision Park offers specialized services such as vision therapy, low-vision evaluations, eye disease treatment, hard to fit contact lenses, LASIK consultation, and dry eye treatment. Emergency service is available after hours.

    Our Eye Care Services:

    Our Eye Doctors

    Vision Park Group White Web Eye care professionals specialize in understanding how the human eye really works, as well as diseases and conditions that affect your vision - many of which do not have obvious symptoms. Eye doctors know how age and risk factors affect vision over time for young and old, and they understand the benefits and features of corrective lenses including eyeglasses and contacts. Our optometrists take the time to explain the results of your eye exam, describe your options and listen to your eye care needs. Because maintaining good eye health is an ongoing partnership, we encourage you to ask questions and share your health information, which could be vital to monitoring, diagnosing and treating potential vision problems. Meet our doctors: [list-team category="Our Doctors" view="complete"]

    Hours & Locations

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    Our Eye Care Clinics

    At Vision Park Family Eye Care, you will find an experienced and helpful team of eye care professionals dedicated to meeting your eye health needs. We recognize you have a choice for your eye care professional and thank you for choosing us to care for your family’s vision needs. We invite you to refer your friends and family to our eye care office. At Vision Park Family Eye Care, we provide an array of vision care services. Our office offers a wide selection of eye care products, including eyewear, sunwear, and contact lenses to fit your specific eye care needs. Our mission is to provide quality service and products at reasonable pricing. The best way to protect your vision is a yearly comprehensive eye exam. When you arrive at our office, you will be greeted with friendly faces. Each eye exam will use the latest state-of-the-art technology to assess your eye health. The doctor will inspect your eyes, answer questions, and discuss your eye care treatment options. In addition to determining your vision prescription, our doctor will test your color vision, depth perception, and check for any early indicators of possible eye conditions such as cataracts, retinal problems, and glaucoma. Our goal is to have each patient leave satisfied knowing that they are receiving the best eye care products and services possible. We have answered a few frequently asked questions regarding eye exams below

    Urbandale Office

    West Des Moines Office

    Great Vision, Advice, Technology and Fit

    By staying current with the latest developments in eye care, prescription lenses and advances in contact lens technology, our vision center can provide you with the best vision, advice and fit today—and in the years to come. We take pride in building lasting relationships with our patients, which is why we take the time to get to know you, your vision requirements and your lifestyle needs. Contact us today to find out how we can help.   [row][column span="third"]west desmoines chamber logo[/column][column span="third"]urbandale chamber logo 152[/column] [column span="third"]bbb badge horz[/column][/row]

    Testimonials

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