Family Eye Health & Contact Lens Center

All About Vision – Seeing More Clearly

What You Need to Know About Specialty Contact Lenses for Halloween

With Halloween around the corner many people are beginning to think about what kind of costume or illusion they want to create for the big day!  Some of the more elaborate costumes may involve wearing some type of contact lens to complete the outfit and or give that unworldly appearance a big boost. So where do you begin? What do you need to know before getting your contacts?  There are a few really important things to consider, after all this is going on your eye, and no one wants to end up with permanent vision issues from a night of fun.

The first and most important thing you should do is see your eye doctor, even if your contacts do not have a prescription in them, there are still factors you may not be aware of.  Eyes are very unique, like finger prints, they come in different sizes and curvatures and so do contact lenses.  If the contact lens fits the eye too tightly or loosely it can cause damage to the cornea (the front surface of the eye) which could result in permanent vision issues, worse case scenario is corneal transplant or even blindness.  There are also correct ways of getting them on and off your eye, without the proper training and education you could be doing major damage to your eyes and your contact lenses. You also need to know how to clean and store your contacts properly to ensure you don’t get infections of the eye, or rip your contact lenses.  There are many types of contact lenses available today, made in many types of materials, some better than others for your eyes.  Your Optometrist can discuss all the options with you and help you to make your Halloween costume the hit of the party while keeping your eyes safe!


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Are You Children Prepared for Back to School?

Once again, Summer is coming to a close and children are getting ready to head back to school for another year of education and learning. How can we, as parents, best prepare our children for the academic challenges of the school year ahead?  Aside from having all the usual back to school paraphernalia; back packs, note books, organizers, calculators and pencils, don’t we owe it to our kids to make sure their vision is the best that it could be?

What’s most interesting is that 50% of our brain’s processing power is devoted to seeing and vision.  It is a well know fact that 80% of all we learn is VISUAL, and if a child has a vision deficits they could be falling behind the learning curve. The Vision Counsel of America reports that 1 in every 4 children has a vision problem that can interfere with learning and behavior.  Another study shows a whopping 85% of America’s pre-schoolers haven’t received a vision exam by age five. And a pre-kindergarten exam is a must (don’t assume school-offered vision screenings are enough). Studies also show that 60% of students identified as problem learners have undetected vision troubles.

There are many types of vision issues that a typical pediatric screening will not address or find.  The only way to be sure that your child vision is working it’s best is to have a comprehensive eye exam with an Optometrist.  Aside from looking at refractive issues of the eye (the prescription), an Optometrist will assess how the eyes work together, look closely at all the internal structures of the eye and their function, check for color blindness issues (1 in 10 males have some form of color blindness), and assess peripheral vision.  Lazy eye, is the most common cause of visual impairment in childhood and if caught early can most times be corrected.  The good news is that annual eye exams can protect your child’s vision, their overall health and their education.

If your child is displaying any of the following symptoms or behaviors, you may want to take them in to an eye doctor for a comprehensive exam:

  • Dislike or avoidance of reading
  • Short attention span
  • Poor coordination when throwing or catching a ball, copying from chalkboard, or tying their shoes
  • Placing their head close to their books or sitting close to the TV
  • Excessive blinking or eye rubbing
  • Using finger or pencil to guide eyes
  • Decreasing performance in school

Your child does not have the ability to understand or describe vision problems.  If they have never experienced what good vision is, how can they know the difference?  Have peace of mind about your child’s vision this new school year by getting them in for a comprehensive eye exam with your local Optometrist!

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How UV Rays Damage You Eyes

This year you are probably seeing and hearing a lot about protecting your eyes from the damaging effects of UV light.  There is a hugh national campaign going on right now explaining the importance of protecting your eyes from these damaging rays.  Most of the time we don’t even realize the damaging effects of UV radiation as it is invisible to the eye. However, out of sight should not mean out of mind when it comes to UV radiation. This is why you should make sure you and your family always wears sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB rays while spending time outdoors during the day. This is especially true for children, since their eyes allow more light in than an adults, and studies have shown that 80% of all  UV damage done to the eyes is done between the ages of birth and 18 years.

There are two types of damaging UV rays:

UV-A: which can hurt your central vision by damaging the macula, which is a part of the retina that is responsible for high acuity vision.

UV-B: the cornea and lens in the front part of your eye absorbs most of the UV-B rays, but these rays may cause even more damage than the UV-A rays.

Facts for Parents

  • Almost 50% of parents report that their children “seldom” or “never” wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection.
  • Although 82% of parents feel it is important for children to wear sunglasses and 91% feel sunscreen should be worn, children are two times more likely to wear sunscreen than they are sunglasses.
  • The lens in a child’s eye does not block as much UV radiation as in an adult’s eye, putting them at increased risk for sun damage to the eyes.
  • Adults also need to take precaution when they are in the sun. Before you go out without a pair of sunglasses again take note of the facts about UV damage. Certain medications, such as birth control pills, sulfa drugs, diuretics and tranquilizers can increase your risk to eye disease or impairment. 
  • Damage can include blurred vision, change in color vision or difficulty seeing at night.

What eye issues can UV rays cause?

Macular Degeneration which is the leading cause of vision loss in older Americans.

Cataracts especially UV-B rays can cloud the eye’s natural lens, the part of the eye that focuses the light we see.

Pterygium a growth that begins forming on the whites of the eye and may also involve the cornea. Eventually, the growth may block vision. This is more common in people who work outside in the sun and wind.

Skin Cancer the skin around the eyes is very sensitive and is more prone to skin cancer with prolonged UV exposure.

Corneal Sunburn also called photokeratitis, it is the result of high short term exposure to UV-B rays. Long hours at the beach, skiing without protection, using tanning beds without goggles, can cause this problem. It can be very painful and may even cause temporary vision loss.

Protecting yourself and your children from the effect of UV rays on your eyes is easy! Wearing sunglasses or goggles that filter UVA and UVB rays is the best way to shield your eyes from the sun as well as dirt, dust and other particles that can irritate the eyes.  Your local family optician can assist you in finding a pair of sunglasses to fit your vision needs and your lifestyle!

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Hypertension could be lurking in your eyes


Image by Morning Calm News via Flickr

This past holiday, there were 15 people gathered to celebrate, friends and family.  At some point in the evening, one of the hosts, who has diabetes and high blood pressure, had his blood pressure cuff sitting around; it’s a digital wrist cuff. You can’t have one of those things sitting at the table around this curious group without someone picking it up and playing with it. It became a betting game, of course. We’re not just curious, we’re also competitive. It was all fun and games, however, three of the men at the table showed frighteningly high blood pressure. All are relatively young men, seemingly healthy. And, while we were all participating in the spirits that accompany such a bash, the number of others who “played” our game offered a good enough control group of consistently accurate readings.

There could be several reasons that cuff read so high for these guys…user error, cuff too low in relation to the heart, vessels too far beneath the skin, and so on. However, we tested each person at the table three times, at different intervals and stages of rest. All fluctuated in heart rate, but consistently presented similar blood pressure. These three guys, whom I love and respect, could be ticking time bombs. I found myself in a quandary. I’m concerned. The writing seems to be on the wall, but I’m not a doctor. Should I say something?

I did. I couldn’t just sit back and let this slide. It was difficult to address when it’s not my expertise—not even close. But, I did it, privately and after the celebration. By talking to them, I had nothing to lose. If I didn’t speak up, I could literally lose them. I shared my concern and asked them to take the opportunity to get a way-past-overdue physical, including a COMPLETE eye exam by an optometrist.

They had no idea that a look into the eye may reveal the silent damage wrought by high blood pressure and diabetes and reflect the risk of a future stroke or heart attack. All I can do is hope they share my concern and check it out. If nothing else, they’ll have an answer. If it turns out to be nothing, they’ll have a reason to hassle me (worrywart). There has to be at least one of us to razz while sitting at the card table. In this case, I’ll gladly wear that hat. If it turns out we caught something by playing our little impromptu game, then I’ll just be happy to be sitting at the table with them for a while longer.

No matter who you are, regular eye exams are important for seeing more clearly and seeing signs of diseases like hypertension, glaucoma, and diabetes.  So get your new year off to a great start by getting complete eye exam with your Optometrist.

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Computer use increases risk to children’s eyesight

In an age of ever growing use of technology by children, specifically LCD flat screens, children are at risk for some of the same sight  issues as adults, as well as some unique to children. Today, kids are spending countless hours on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and texting, and, of course,  gaming. With all this screen face time comes an ever-increasing chance of  eyestrain and fatigue. Kids, unlike adults, have a different perspective about using technology and can sit staring at screens big and small for hours, ignoring the signs of eye fatigue and eye strain in order to continue participating in an activity, which they find entertaining.

The problem with continuous game play is that it can cause eye-focusing problems, which involves the eyes focusing and re-focusing. More specifically, being able to smoothly re-focus from one object  to another even after a child has stopped playing for some time. Other eye situations kids are more likely to tolerate are dry eyes from infrequent blinking, screen glare, and near and far sightedness.


The AOA suggests an eye exam as a good first step in determining if there are any underlying eye conditions, which may be contributing to eyestrain, such as the need for glasses. Also, building in  break times, kids will continue to do what they are doing if it is entertaining, and forget to give their eyes a much needed rest. Getting them  away from the screen every hour is a good rule in helping to reduce eye-refocusing problems. Another point to remember is today kids are using screens more at school and passing these helpful ideas on to your kid’s teacher may earn you a gold star!

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Sight Unseen: Glaucoma Can Take Sight without Warning

It’s a brand new year, what are you going to do differently? Take better care of yourself? Will you exercise more, eat healthier, or make an effort to see the doctor as often as you should? Finding time in your busy schedule to implement those resolutions often proves challenging.  Don’t underestimate the importance of those doctor visits and more specifically, visits to your eye doctor.

A quick trip to your optometrist may not only be sight saving, but potentially life saving. Optometrists can evaluate the health of your eyes as well as the clarity of vision and they can also detect chronic and systemic diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes and even hypertension.   Glaucoma affects more than three million Americans, but over half of them don’t even know that they have it, according to Prevent Blindness America. Glaucoma begins by attacking  the peripheral vision.  At first, it is possible to compensate by squinting or turning the head to focus better.  Initially, these changes may seem minor, but glaucoma can accelerate quickly; causing eyesight to rapidly and irreversibly deteriorate. Like many diseases, some factors can increase the risk of developing glaucoma, such as age, race or genetics.  Glaucoma usually affects one in 200 people by age 50, but as many as one in 10 people by age 80. The risk of developing glaucoma is much higher among African Americans: four to five times higher. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African Americans. Not only do African Americans usually develop glaucoma 10 years earlier than Caucasians, they are also six to 15 times more likely to be blinded by the disease.

Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early, it can be controlled. This reinforces what the National Optometric Association and the AOA already recommend: adults need regular, comprehensive eye exams. Fortunately, Medicare covers annual glaucoma screenings for people considered at heightened risk of developing glaucoma, such as individuals with diabetes, those with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans age 50 and older and Hispanic Americans age 65 and older.

So start off the new year right: set up an appointment with your eye doctor  and maybe hit the gym and grab a salad on your way home.

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What is amblyopia?

Amblyopia (say this: “am-blee-oh-pee-ah”) commonly known as lazy eye, is the eye condition noted by reduced vision not correctable by glasses or contact lenses and is not due to any eye disease. The brain does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye. This almost always affects only one eye, but may manifest with reduction of vision in both eyes. It is estimated that three percent of children under six have some form of amblyopia.

Causes of Lazy Eye Anything that interferes with clear vision in either eye during the critical period (birth to 6 years of age) can cause amblyopia. The most common causes of amblyopia are constant strabismus (constant turn of one eye), anisometropia (different vision/prescriptions in each eye), and/or blockage of an eye due to cataract, trauma, lid droop, etc. Amblyopia is a neurologically active process,the loss of vision takes place in the brain. If one eye sees clearly and the other sees a blur, the brain can inhibit (block, ignore, suppress) the eye with the blur. The brain can also suppress one eye to avoid double vision. The inhibition process (suppression) can result in a permanent decrease in the vision in the blurry eye that can not be corrected with glasses,  contact lenses, or lasik surgery. 

An eye exam by a pediatrician or the 20/20 eye chart screening is not adequate for the detection of amblyopia (and other visual conditions). The most important diagnostic tools are the special visual acuity tests other than the 20/20 letter charts currently used by schools, pediatricians and eye doctors. Examination with cycloplegic drops can be necessary to detect this condition in the young. Since amblyopia usually occurs in one eye only, many parents and children are unaware of the condition. Many children go undiagnosed until they have their eyes examined at the eye doctor’s office at a later age. Comprehensive vision evaluations are highly recommended for infants and pre-school children. If not detected and treated early in life, amblyopia can cause perminant loss of vision and depth perception.

If you have concerns or questions about your child and amblyopia please contact us here at Family Eye Health. 

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DriveWear Lenses, are they the right fit for you?

English: Author's own creation. Oakley Half Wi...

DriveWear lenses in an Oakley frame

DriveWear is a wonderful sun lens technology that not many people know about. As part of the Transitions family of products, it is a little different than Transitions; it is polarized to provide the wearer with the appropriate visual solution!  DriveWear lenses are capable of sensing and reacting to varying light conditions both outside and also behind the windshield of your car. From bright sunlight accompanied by intense, blinding glare, to overcast inclement weather conditions.   Theses lens provide amazing glare protection through polarization and enhanced to protect your vision through photochromatics, which respond to both visible and UV light. By combining the strengths of two of the most important technologies in eyewear today, DriveWear has developed the lens of tomorrow.  In overcast and low light conditions the lens is a soft green color which is designed to maximize useful light and cut through fog and haze. In daylight or behind the steering wheel of your car the lenses turn amber brown which is designed to remove excess light and provide great traffic signal recognition highlighting the reds and greens, it also allows the wearer great depth perception when looking down the road. Outside in the bright sunlight conditions  the lens will saturate to a dark brown giving maximum filtration of excess light,  providing high contrast color to provide maximum comfort in high light conditions while protecting your eyes from the harmful UV rays.

If you have any question about DriveWear please contact us.

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