How many pairs of glasses do you have?

One of the biggest perks of being in the optical business is that I have a million pairs of glasses (only a slight exaggeration). While multiple pairs of glasses definitely contribute to a stylish wardrobe,  there are more important reasons to have more than one pair. The same way that you wear different shoes for different activities, you need different types of glasses for different visual tasks. High heels don’t work for marathons, flip flops don’t work for an interview, and when was the last time you saw someone wearing snow boots at the beach?

The most important second pair of glasses should be a quality pair of sunglasses – these are available in both prescription and plano (fancy word for non-prescription) as well as in single vision and progressive (for reading at the beach). Many of us who are on the computer for extended periods of time benefit from a specific pair of computer glasses which would incorporate an anti reflective coating with a blue light filter to help mitigate fatigue. I always tell patients to measure the exact distance between their eyes and the computer screen so we can come up with the optimal prescription. There are also special progressive designs for people who use multiple computers at multiple distances. People with hobbies sometimes have very specific needs as well. The musicians in my practice bring in their instruments and music stands and we calculate in real space what the perfect prescription should be (we have often been treated to impromptu concerts!) Crafters like myself who enjoy knitting and watching TV at the same time often need a specific pair of glasses as well. Fashion is another reason to have multiple pairs of glasses.

Going back to my shoe analogy, certain styles are intrinsically casual and would not work well at a formal event (like sneakers with a ball gown). Different colors and shapes as well as the addition of details such as crystals or interesting hardware elevate a frame from merely functional to spectacular. Building a glasses wardrobe is a creative as well as practical way to express your individuality. Our well trained staff will help you select the perfect pair(s) of glasses which will harmonize fashion, function, and fun!

National Diabetes Month

20739543558_58dae0d23b_cNovember is National Diabetes Month and this gives me the opportunity to get up on my soapbox and shout through my megaphone about the importance of yearly eye exams. For patients who know they have diabetes, dilated eye exams are crucial in order to ensure that there is no diabetic retinopathy in the back part of the eye which if not treated can lead to blindness.

So what is diabetes and how does it affect your eyes? Diabetes is a disease which according to the CDC affects more than 100 million Americans and interferes with the body’s ability to store and utilize sugar. Very often patients who are unaware that they are diabetic will experience scary fluctuations in vision which will bring them into my office to see what’s going on. At this point I will refer them out for blood work and a visit with the primary doctor to check for diabetes. Changes in blood sugar can cause these wild changes in the prescription which will stabilize once the glucose (sugar) levels are under control. Once someone has had diabetes for many years and/or has poor control of their sugar levels, the risk of having diabetic retinopathy skyrockets. Diabetic retinopathy happens when the small blood vessels on the back surface of the eye weaken and leak blood and fluid into the retina. If this progresses further without blood vessels shutting off and the creation of new abnormal blood vessels creating scarring which can cause vision loss and/or blindness.

How do you prevent this? The key is keeping blood sugar levels under tight control. This is accomplished by paying attention to diet, exercising, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol under control and not smoking – in other words – maintaining a healthy lifestyle. One important number to be aware of when you come in for your eye exam is your HA1C (or glycosylated hemoglobin) which reflects the overall blood sugar levels over a three month period. Generally this number should be under 7.

All diabetic patients get a letter sent to their primary doctor after their eye exam with the results of the retinal evaluation. If there is retinopathy the primary doc may have to tinker with the meds in order to achieve better glucose control. Above all, be vigilant about any vision changes that are scary or unusual. As I always tell my patients, nothing is stupid or trivial and I’d rather check you and find nothing than have you ignore something serious.

What Do You Mean My Kid Needs Glasses??!!

pexels-photo-914931.jpegThe other day the cutest little girl came in for her first eye exam. She was starting third grade and was an excellent student reading above grade level. Her parents were sure she didn’t need glasses but thought it was time for her to start having routine eye exams. She was articulate and outspoken and wanted to be done with her visit so she could get on with her day. She read the eye chart in her right eye all the way down to the tiniest letter and was eager to do the same on the left eye. To everyone’s surprise she struggled, barely getting down to the second to last line, guessing and growing frustrated as she realized something wasn’t right. She also had some trouble seeing in 3D which indicated that her two eyes were not working together. At the end of the exam I told her parents that although her right eye was perfect she was hyperopic, or farsighted in her left eye and the large discrepancy between the two eyes had created amblyopia (lazy eye) in that left eye. She left with a new pair of glasses and a follow-up appointment in three months.

80% of learning is visual – if your child does not see well he or she will not do well in school. Sometimes kids are unable to realize or articulate that something is wrong – either they will think that whatever they are experiencing is normal or they just won’t complain. Vision screenings at the pediatrician are not a substitute for a full and comprehensive eye exam. Eye exams are recommended at the age of six months (by specialized infantsee providers) and subsequently yearly after the age of three. Early use of iPads and other digital devices creates a new challenge for children’s developing visual systems and seeing well involves more than just seeing 20/20 on an eye chart. Evaluation of tracking, eye teaming and convergence are crucial to ensuring optimal ocular performance and subsequent academic success.

kids-girl-pencil-drawing-159823.jpegThis little girl and her family were lucky that she was doing so well in school despite her amblyopia and suboptimal visual system. Don’t wait until your child complains or you get a note sent home from the school nurse or your child’s teacher – book your childs yearly exam now before the school year gets underway.

Back To School – In July??

blue book close up dark blue
Photo by Miesha Moriniere on Pexels.com

I was wandering down the the aisles in Target the other day buying all those wonderful things I never knew I needed. After wasting a few minutes agonizing over the merits of Rolos vs. Milky Way mini bars I escaped the endless rows of food paradise to find myself getting in the way of about ten red-shirted workers feverishly putting up a new display. After doing a tiny self congratulatory dance in my head that my days of back to school shopping were over I felt a burst of moral outrage that summer was being prematurely hijacked by an overeager business model. Seriously folks, couldn’t you have waited until August? As I made my way towards the checkout counter I began to reconsider my hasty condemnation of the sweet and innocent school supplies. Allow me to share with you a classic scenario that occurs in every eye doctor’s office the second to last week of August. Front desk staff picks up phone. “Um, hi, this is Mrs. OopsIforgot, my son is going back to college in three days and needs an appointment and a years worth of contact lens, and oh, he lost his glasses when he went kayaking down the Delaware, can you squeeze him into the schedule and get him everything he needs?” Experienced front desk staff calmly tells Mrs. OopsIforgot that Dr. Superduperbusy has been fully booked for August since June and she would put Master OopsIforgot on the waiting list. I will spare you the back and forth phone shenanigans that ensued between irate mom and calm staff member, but you get the picture. Summer is a great time for those back to school eye exams for your kids – so when those shiny, glittery school supplies start popping up on your radar make that call to our office to ensure that your kids are all set up for their annual checkups. Oh, and Target? I am sorry I ever doubted you….

Orange You Glad You Ate An Orange?

orange fruit

Eating just one orange a day can slash your risk of developing macular degeneration by 60%. A recent study in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition followed 2,000 patients over the age of 50 for 15 years and found that the patients who ate an orange a day had a significantly decreased risk of AMD (age related macular degeneration) compared to those patients who ate no oranges at all. Usually research involving oranges concentrates on the effects of the vitamin C, E, and A the oranges contain, but this study put an emphasis on theflavonoids found in oranges. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that have immune and anti-inflammatory effects and are found in most fruits and vegetables. sliced orange fruits on round white ceramic plateThe study examined other foods that have flavonoids such as tea, apples and red wine (yes please) but for some reason oranges were the only food that aided in the prevention of AMD. The authors of the study acknowledge that more research has to be done before doctors can definitely prescribe an orange a day to keep AMD away.

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqy114/5049680?redirectedFrom=fulltext