BACK TO SCHOOL EYE EXAMS: A PRIORITY
The beginning of fall is a busy time for families with school age children. In the midst of buying new clothes and school supplies, don’t forget about your student’s eye health and vision. Experts state that about 80% of what a child learns in school is presented visually. Vision and learning are inseparably linked.
When you factor in the use of computers and tablets, the visual demands of an ordinary school day are heightened and even more complex.
10 WARNING SIGNS/SYMPTOMS OF EYE PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN
- -loses place while reading
- -avoids close work
- -holding reading material closer than normal
- -rubbing eyes
- -tilts head to use one eye only
- -makes frequent reversals when reading and writing
- -omits small words when reading
- -performs below potential
- -difficulty completing assignments
VISION SCREENING VS. FULL EXAM
Visual problems can manifest as near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism, functional vision difficulty, perceptual vision issues, color blindness. A comprehensive eye exam by a doctor who is experienced with pediatric visual health can rule out any of these conditions.
Students often are given a vision screening at school. These screenings do not take the place of a full eye examination. Screenings can spot some vision problems but often miss more than they find. Undetected and untreated visual needs can interfere with a child’s ability to learn in school and participation in sports.
Some drawbacks of relying only on vision screening are:
- -Testing is limited: While distance vision is important, often screenings do not measure the eyes’ ability to focus at a close range nor their ability to work together
- -Unsophisticated equipment: Specialized instruments are needed to provide more thorough results in examining the total visual system. Even in a pediatrician’s office, factors such as lighting, distance, and equipment capacity may affect the test results.
- -Interpretations of results: a person who has not had specific education and training for vision assessment and diagnosis may not recognize a more subtle visual condition.
WHY COMPREHENSIVE VISION EXAMS MATTER
Good vision involves more than the ability to read at 20/20 on an eye chart. Important components of a comprehensive eye exam include: a health and vision history and evaluation of visual acuity, determination of any refractive error such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or amblyopia (lazy eye),
testing of eye coordination, and the eyes’ ability to focus, depth perception and eye muscle movement.
Some vision facts
- -Poor vision affects learning and behavior
- -Some eye problems can also affect neurological and physical development (ex.strabismus or “crossed eyes,” amblyopia or “lazy eye”)
- -80% of all learning takes place through sight in the first 12 years
- -Vision problems are the 4th most common disability in the US and the most prevalent handicapping condition during childhood
- -10% of children who pass a vision screening actually have an eye problem that needs correction
In the busy opening days of fall, make time to ensure that your child’s eyes are all set for the requirements of the academic year. Make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam to be assured that he or she is off to a good start this school year.
6 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT :
Internet shopping is great for convenience and ease. One click of the mouse and your product is delivered in a few days. This usually works out well for items like office supplies, electronics, and often, clothes. However, buying prescription glasses online is not always such a simple, satisfying experience.
Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.
Quality issues are a clear and present danger
– Out of every 200 glasses ordered, only 154 pairs were received
– 44.8% had incorrect prescriptions or safety issues , including cracked or shattered lenses
– 29% had at least one lens that failed to match the ordered prescription
– 19% of adult lenses failed impact resistance testing – 25% of Children’s lenses failed impact resistance testing
Looking good is the best revenge.
Eyeglasses are a custom-made item….a person’s particular head shape/size and eyes can vary widely. Anyone who has ever picked out a pair of frames will tell you that they look different on your face than on the display.
Life is like a multiple choice test …sometimes the choices confuse you not the question itself.
Consumer Reports states, “There are so many choices for lenses and coatings, it’s easy to be confused about what’s worth buying” in regard to online prescription glasses. Once the eye exam is done and you are selecting frames, the choices (and befuddlement) start.
Frame and lens selection can be the most complicated part of the whole process. This is where the expert advice and the personal service of an optician working individually with you are valuable. There are many options for frames and lenses, including multifocal and progressive lenses, computer, reading and occupational glasses.
…And this also includes choices for different lens materials and coatings. Making the right selection can improve your visual comfort, support good eye health, and save you money on options you don’t need.
The devil is in the detail
Precise customization of your lenses involves different lens measurements: the optical center of your lenses is the area that gives you the truest vision and it is located directly in front of your pupils. Measuring your own pupil distance can be like trying to cut your own hair.
In particular, multi focal lenses present an even bigger challenge. Lenses combining different distances such as reading, distance, computer, special considerations for your occupation are very difficult to self measure.
Accurate measurements make all the difference in how successfully you will wear your glasses. Incorrect lenses can also be dangerous for driving, machine operation, walking up and down stairs.
Take note: higher prescription glasses especially require precise measurements and custom fit.
5) AT YOUR SERVICE
Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go
When there is an issue with the fit of the frame, the prescription, or the way the glasses look once you are wearing them, many online customers find the convenience of ordering glasses in their home quickly fades. Consumers who ordered online for the convenience find they need to make the trip to their local optician anyway for adjustments, troubleshooting, and repairs. Since the glasses were purchased online, there is generally a charge for these services. When the fit feels wrong or the lenses are causing headaches, it is a chore to find someone who will make the problem go away.
6) EYE HEALTH AND BEYOND
All the money in the world can’t buy you back good health.
Wherever you buy your glasses , regular eye exams and contact lens checkups are one of the most important investments you can make for your health. The temptation to skip this part and click a new pair of glasses into your online shopping bag may be an unintended consequence of quick-fix web shopping.
Besides ruling out vision problems, and eye diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma , other conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetic retinopathy can be detected in a professional eye exam.
WHEN A DEAL IS NOT A DEAL
A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist. Franklin P. Jones
Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing. Albert Einstein
At first thought, ordering glasses online seems to be convenient. However living with your new prescription can be another matter.
If you choose to order prescription glasses on the web, be sure to proceed cautiously and keep in mind “buyer beware.” The professional and custom care that an optometrist and optician’s office provides is worth a trip for glasses that you will be living with for many months to come.
YOUR EYES IN AN ONLINE WORLD
“We’re still in the first minutes of the first day of the Internet revolution.”
– Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit, director of eBay and Procter & Gamble.
“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” – Bill Gates
The Huffington Post reports that more leisure time is now spent on digital devices than watching television. According to CNBC, the US population spends over 230,000 years in one month on social media. The New York Times states that the average person spends 8 hours a day staring at some sort of screen (and this was in 2009).
There is no doubt that the change the internet has ushered into our daily lives also affects our eyes and vision. Whether preparing a quarterly report at work, checking out the latest status on Facebook, or following GPS directions, our eyes are working harder than they ever have.
WHAT ARE COMPUTER GLASSES? One tool in the arsenal to make our vision more effective and more comfortable is computer. They are a specifically designed pair of glasses with lenses made to focus at the distance of a computer. Options include different tints and coatings such as anti-reflective to help with eye strain and glare. Some eye doctors recommend a tint to block the short wave-length “blue light” emitted from any screened device.
There are a variety of special purpose lenses that can be prescribed for computer use. Some examples are:
- Single vision lenses. These are the simplest type of computer lenses. They are basically designed for the hours we spend staring at a computer monitor. However, distant objects and objects that are closer than the screen will appear blurry.
- Computer progressive lenses. Although they are not recommended for driving or general purpose vision, the top part of the lens has a small area to correct distance, the middle area to correct intermediate, and the bottom for close vision. If you want one pair of glasses without switching while online, these are useful for such situations as:-you are sitting at your desk and want to see the clock across the room or what small object your toddler is holding
-you are doing your tax form online but need to refer to the written instruction sheet in hand.
-you want to glance at the text you just received on your phone while checking Facebook on your laptop.
- Occupational lenses.These lenses can be prescribed to best serve your vision needs for your jobs with progressive lenses targeting zones of focus. Examples of occupations that require varying fields of focus are
-electricians, plumbers, lecturers or presenters, hairdressers, physicians, cashiers, mechanics, dentists
- Young adults who are frequent users of digital devices are sometimes prescribed progressive lenses with a limited amount of added magnification for intermediate and near vision. This age group is too young to need reading glasses/bifocals but often experience eye strain from screens.
- A range of specially coated lenses are available for your computer glasses….including anti reflective lenses and tints to block the “blue light” glare emitted from any screened device. Just as our eyes need protection from UV light in sunlight, recent studies suggest that the blue end of the light spectrum may contribute to retinal damage and lead to Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Also, further evidence points to disruptions in melatonin production and sleep disturbances when electronics are used before bedtime because of the blue light.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SCREEN-RELATED EYE STRAIN
- -blurred vision
- -redness in eyes
- -dry eyes
- -back or neck strain
- -double vision
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
- Adjust the monitor position- Your monitor should be 20-30 inches away from your eyes. The top of your monitor should be at eye level. I use a computer lap desk that raises my notebook to a comfortable slant on a table or desk.
- Play with the room lighting….too much artificial or natural light can create monitor glare. Try desk or floor lamps for indirect lighting.
- 20-20-20 Rule- Every 20 minutes focus at an object 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
- Arrange your desk area- Put your monitor right in front of you and any reading material next to it using a copyholder.
- Ask your eye doctor about computer glasses and how they can benefit you.
“My eyes are blurry and they get kind of red after I work on the computer, and I don’t know how to fix it.” – Mario Hernandez, contemporary fashion designer
For many of us computer glasses can make a difference between relaxed eyes or aggravation and discomfort while gazing at all the different screens we use in our daily lives. Computer glasses are an option that can make our lives a little bit more comfortable.
Resist the temptation to buy over the counter glasses for computer use. I would encourage you to go to an eye doctor for the specialized care needed to provide maximum comfort and benefits.
Our office offers these services and products. We are happy to answer any questions and help you to make your online experience more visually satisfactory and enjoyable.
FASHION, FRAMES, AND FABULOUS FORTY PLUS
The days of glasses dangling from a chain, lenses that scream “Bifocal,” and sedate grandma frames are gone. By approaching frame selection the same way you would buy a fashionable handbag or pair of boots, a woman can shave years off her age.
The right frame can polish your looks via the accessory you wear every day….your eyeglasses!
Shape – Know your face shape: oval, round, oblong, base-down triangle, base-up triangle, and diamond. The frame shape should contrast with your face shape. For example, try angular, narrow frames to make a round face seem thinner.
Reason -Will you be wearing the glasses only for a specific purpose such as reading, the computer, or driving? Or will you be wearing them most of the day and/or evening?
Material -If you are wearing the glasses for long periods, it is essential that they are light weight. Rimless and plastic frames tend to be less heavy.
Size -The frame size should be in scale with your face size. For example, over-sized glasses with colored tints are not always a good choice for women of a certain age. An exception is sunglasses which are often very flattering in a bigger size.
Color -Eye and hair color, along with skin tone, can influence your choice of frame. For cool toned complexions: black, silver, dark tortoise, or magenta will complement your look. The more flattering warm colors are gold, peach, red, and white. If your blue eyes are your best feature then emphasize them with blue frames.
FIT THE OCCASION Eyeglasses are more than medical devices. Most women would not wear the same earrings or shoes every day but many wear the same glasses for all activities. If you invest in a couple of good quality frames, they are likely to last a long time and your prescription isn’t going to change every year.
**Mature women are more flattered by upswept frame styles that lift the face
**Shiny frames are often complementary for the mature woman. Shine adds life to the face …for example: jewelry-like metal accents on frames
** If you want to downplay your glasses, a good choice would be a thin, light colored, neutral frame that will draw attention to your eyes.
** Combining materials in frames (for example, tortoise shell and gold) gives a luxury feeling
** Black frames of the right size and shape can appear classy and edgy at the same time for some women
**Consider pastel-colored lightly tinted lenses. They help on days when your eyes are tired or puffy.
**If you want color: purple, blue, and green tend to be a good place to start when you select your frame
OUR OFFICE AND FRAME SELECTION
At our office in Glenville, we provide a wide selection of current fashion frames including Calvin Klein, Guess, BCBG, Anne Klein, and others.
We also offer a 20% discount on the second pair of glasses.
People notice your face before they look at your clothes, handbag, or shoes. Fashion consultants note that a woman’s eyeglasses, along with her hair, can make or break the way she looks.
Glasses make you see better and also make you look better. For a woman on the other side of 40, a stylish pair of glasses can be a key component in maintaining a youthful, elegant appearance.
21st CENTURY REVOLUTION IN VISION
“No object is mysterious. The mystery is your eye.”
– Elizabeth Bowen
We have all had the experience. Outdoor scenes showing individual leaves, textured grass, and vivid, eye-catching colors. After the first time you see an HD TV, whether at a friend’s house or in a store….you will never opt to buy an analog model again.
Visualize having the same experience with glasses….the new revolution in eyeglasses is the high def lens…also know by the terms free form and digital lenses. This is the latest advance in lens technology and patients are discovering the difference.
What are HD Lenses?
HD lenses are more highly customized than conventional lenses…surfaced in a precise and individualized manner. Choosing these lenses is like buying a personally tailored suit or dress as opposed to an off the rack model.
The difference starts with the manufacturing process in which lens designers are not limited to using the traditional semi-finished lens blanks. The designer has more options and freedom to personalize the lens to the precise prescription needs of the patient.
Perhaps the patient previously had restrictions on the size and shape of the frame they could choose due to their prescription…but because of the new advances nearly any frame can be fit to his or her particular measurements. This gives you a wider choice of frame styles.
Where these lenses truly prove themselves is as progressive lenses: multifocal lenses without the bifocal lines. Conventional progressives have distortions in the peripheral or side vision. Due to the refined manufacturing process, the HD progressives have a wider field of vision with reduced distortion.
– sharper overall quality of vision and better contrast.
– faster and easier adaption to progressive lenses without the learning curve (and dizziness) of the conventional lens adjustment period.
– improved night vision with less glare.
– more versatility in choice of frames.
– enhanced peripheral or side vision – for example, not as much need to turn your head to see your car mirrors.
– bigger reading area with progressive lenses (or non-line bifocals).
Our office can provide you with the personalized and professional care that you need to ensure success with your HD lenses.
The first step is to schedule an eye health and vision exam with our doctors. A personal consultation with our opticians to select frames and do measurements for HD lenses would follow.
You and your prescription needs are unique! Why not select your glasses with that in mind?
LENSES AND SEASONAL ALLERGIES
Linda M. sat in my exam chair and vented: “I’m so frustrated,” she exclaimed one day to me, “I am used to wearing my contacts the whole time I’m awake, but now have days I can hardly stand them for a couple of hours!” She had been wearing contacts for over 10 years without any difficulty. In the last 2 years she has started to have itchy, irritated eyes during the late spring and summer
months. This is not an uncommon problem as allergies can arise at any time even for those who have never shown symptoms before.
THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
1) A recent survey found that approximately out of 38 million contact lens wearers, 54% find it very uncomfortable to wear their lenses due to allergies.
2) ALLERGIES ARE THE NUMBER ONE REASON FOR CONTACT LENS DROPOUTS!
3) Oral antihistamines may help with sneezing and runny noses but can make eye symptoms worse by interfering with tear production and causing dry eyes
FIVE WAYS TO COPE
1) SEE YOUR EYE DOCTOR…don’t assume that nothing can be done to alleviate your symptoms. Professional
recommendations and specific meds can help you to keep wearing your contacts.
2) Consider switching to daily disposable contacts vs the ones you wear for an extended period of time. Allergens can cling to the material even with scrupulous cleaning and care.
3) Use goggles or remove contacts when outside during high pollen days. Shower after being outside and flush eyebrows, eyelashes, and hair of any allergens.
4) Reduce your contact wear during heavy allergy times… 6-7 hours, for example, vs. 12 hours a day.
5) Stay away from vasoconstrictor drops that mask redness. They reduce blood flow to the white part of the eyes which is not the most optimal choice for eye health.
Don’t let seasonal allergies turn your summer into a “no contact lens zone.” With some adjustments it is likely that you can enjoy your summer with your contacts in!
UV RAYS PRESENT RISK TO YOUR EYES
Just as skin exposed to sun can suffer damage, so can your eyes. An effect called “photokeratitis” similar to a sunburn of the eyes is a risk, including symptoms such as a gritty feeling in the eyes, redness, extreme sensitivity to light, and excessive tearing. Other risks and considerations of extended exposure include
—eyelid cancers: Skin cancers of the eyelid, including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma(SCC) as well as melanoma, account for 5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers. Most occur on the lower lid, which receives the most sun exposure.
—Geographical location: UV levels are greater in tropical areas and higher the closer you are to the equator.
—Altitude: UV levels are greater at higher altitudes.
—Time of day: UV levels are greatest typically from 10 am to 2 pm.
—Environment: UV rays are more pronounced in wide open spaces with reflective surfaces such as sand, water,
—Medications: Certain meds such as specific antibiotics, birth control pills, diuretics can increase your sun sensitivity.
KIDS NEED PROTECTION TOO
– UV risk is cumulative and our exposure as children can set the stage for our health as adults.
-Some experts note that since children play outside so much, almost half of a person’s lifetime sun exposure can occur by age 18.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SUN SAFETY
You can still enjoy the sun and your outdoor activities as long as you are equipped with the right sun and skin protection.
—Not all sunglasses are made the same way. Invest in a good pair of glasses that blocks 99-100% of UV radiation.
—Ask your eye doctor for specific education about and recommendations for your individual sun protection
—Wear sunglasses even when you are in the shade since shade does not block out all UV rays.
—Wear a wide brim hat or cap when you spend time outside.
—Wear sunglasses on cloudy days: UV rays can pass through haze.
Polaroid sunglasses have long been a staple of outdoor and water recreation enthusiasts. They provide a laminated filter that reduces glare especially on roads and around water.
—Protection from UV rays and their harmful effects
—Vision is clearer with more crisp detail
—More vision comfort and reduction of eyestrain
—Allowing truer perception of colors
-Difficulty seeing LCD screens clearly
-Some downhill skiers complain of reduced contrast while skiing.
TINTED VS POLARIZED
-Tints reduce brightness but do not remove harsh glare
-Dark tints can cause damage by inducing your pupils to dilate which allows more UV rays into your eyes
Get outside and have some summer fun with your family and friends but remember: Your eyes are yours
for life. With a few simple precautions, you can take care of them and keep your vision safe.
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
There is an abundance of commentary and advice about aging well. As we get older we are more at risk for eye diseases but it doesn’t mean that serious reduction or loss of sight are unavoidable. Taking care of your vision is an important tool in your bag of tricks.
Vision Risks with age:
- -difficulty reading, especially in low light
- -dry, itchy eyes, particularly for women past menopause
- -visual effects of systemic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes; medication side effects
- -age related macular degeneration
***An estimated 40-50% of all age related blindness can be avoided or treated with early detection***
Safeguarding your eyes:
- -regular eye exams are the cornerstone of visual health-make your eye doctor aware of any diseases that run in your family
- – wear sunglasses and a hat for extra protection
- – stop smoking and avoid second hand smoke
- – establish an exercise regimen for overall health
- – Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, and fish. Researchers have found that eating a high amount of olive oil and green leafy vegetables can actually help to decrease the development of age related macular degeneration.
Larry Cusma OD, Glenville, NY
A winter landscape of sparkling snow, a carefree child sledding, an expert skier gliding gracefully down a slope…..what do these pictures have to do with eye health? All of these scenarios carry the risk of permanent eye damage.
The sun sits lower in the sky in winter at an angle exposing you to more ultraviolet light and glare. On snow,ultraviolet rays are reflected upwards…zapping your eyes from above and below. Snow reflects more ultraviolet radiation than any other surface.
Some points to remember:
*Eye tissue is more vulnerable to UV damage than skin
*Sun related eye conditions include cancer of the eyelid and surrounding skin, macular degeneration, and age related cataracts.
*Sun exposure can also cause photokeratitis…similar to welders’ flashburn. This can happen in one hour of strong glare though symptoms may not appear for 12 hours.Symptoms include: excessive tearing, pain, redness,swollen eyelids, headache, blurred vision, and a gritty sensation
*The best protection is lenses or goggles with both UVA and UVB protection.
Our office has a large selection of a great selection of quality sunglasses with special pricing on many. All are UVA and UVB absorbing
Call to schedule an appointment or drop in to browse our sun protection options. We now have Tuesday and Thursday evening,and Saturday mornings hours.
When your arms aren’t long enough to read the small print, when you suspect you may have a cataract, or when you want a durable pair of glasses for your 10 year old, where do you go? Optometrist, ophthalmologist, optician…
too many OPtions!
Optometrists – Doctors of optometry are independent primary health care providers who examine, diagnose, treat and manage eye diseases and vision disorders, and who are able to detect systemic disorders such as hypertension and diabetes. Optometrists also prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, as well as medicine to treat eye disease. Their education involves 4 years of undergraduate and 4 years of post graduate education.
Dr. Braim and I are both affiliated with THE LASER CENTER in Albany for laser vision correction including pre-op and post-op care.
Ophthalmologists-These professionals are physicians who
attended med school with a subsequent internship and residency. They specialize in medical and surgical eye care, also providing vision services such as eye exams. Some practitioners specialize in areas such as retinal
or corneal disorders.
Opticians-Opticians are technicians trained to design, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames, and contact lenses. They use prescriptions supplied by
optometrists or ophthalmologists but do not test vision or write prescriptions. Opticians are not licensed to diagnose or treat eye diseases.