**WE ARE CLOSED FOR THE HOLIDAYS ON THE FOLLOWING DATES: 12/24, 12/25, 1/1, & 1/3. THANK YOU!
Flex Funds for Your Eyes
According to investment experts at Motley Fool, taking care of your flex spending surplus is a smart money move for November. For those who have flexible spending account (FSA) money to use before the end of the year, there are a number of ways you can ease eye care expenses with those funds.
If you haven’t scheduled your yearly exam, make November the month to get your check-up and offset any deductibles. For those who have had their exam already this year, there are several ways you can use FSAs for the good of your eyes.
Computer eyewear. We are seeing more patients experiencing the effects of digital eye strain. Eyewear designed specifically for computer use is one way to make this aspect of modern life easier. Things like progressive lenses designed for mid-distance work, anti-reflective coating and blue light coating are some of the features that can benefit patients.
Prescription sunglasses. Many people are surprised that prescription sunglasses are a medical device and covered under FSAs. Ditch the clip-ons and treat yourself to a quality pair of sunglasses that are tailored to your eyes. Prescription sunglasses are a good alternative for contact lens wearers at the beach and pool, where contacts aren’t ideal. Anyone who uses readers will find prescription sunglasses very helpful.
Another advantage to prescription sunglasses is our ability to select the right UV protection for your needs, from blue-blockers and yellow lenses that heighten color contrast to gradient lenses that are lighter at the bottom (good choice for distance drivers).
Protective eyewear. It is estimated that the vast majority of eye injuries can be prevented with protective eyewear, but it has yet to catch on. Sports and home improvement projects are popular among our patients. Flex funds can make the difference between having the protection your need and a trip to the ER for an eye injury.
Schedule an appointment for an exam or talk to us about eyewear options. We are happy to help you find the right fit for your funds.
October is a big month for sight
October is a big month for vision awareness and advocacy. On October 13, many organizations will recognize World Sight Day, a day that focuses on the prevention of blindness and vision loss around the globe. More than 285 million people in the world are blind or visually impaired, and 90 percent of those live in developing countries with limited or no access to treatment. International organizations involved in World Sight Day are making a difference by connecting underserved populations with services that will help address their eye health needs.
Even those of us with great vision and healthy eyes can benefit from knowing more about our sight. We encourage our patients to check out Sight: The Story of Vision, a documentary narrated by Sir Elton John on the science, technology and medical advancements that help us understand sight, correction vision problems and cure eye diseases. It will air on WYCC, Channel 20, on October 16 at 4 p.m., and on October 17 at 7 p.m. Make sure to watch!
October is also Eye Injury Prevention Month. It is estimated that 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented with the use of protective eyewear and taking precautions. Think about the risks you may be taking on the job or during activities such as sports, working on home improvement projects or even participating in leisure activities like paintball. Learn about corneal abrasions, one of the most common types of eye injuries by clicking here.
If you are in need of protective eyewear for any reason, please consult us. We offer a wide range of safety goggles for many situations. As always, we are here to help you address any of your vision and eye health needs.
Three things to consider for your student’s eye health
You’ve heard us before — 80 percent of what students learn in a classroom is processed visually — so back-to-school time is an important one for healthy eyes. For students of any age, here are three things to consider when school begins again.
Digital device use. Parents may have spent much of the summer trying to get their children off their devices, but digital learning has become a reality in many schools. Unfortunately there seems to be a gap in how long parents believe their kids use digital devices each day and what kids report themselves. According to a recent study from the American Optometric Association, 83 percent of children say they use their devices three hours or more a day, while only 40 percent of parents believe their children are on their devices that long.
One possible reason is that parents may not be taking classroom use of devices into account. If you aren’t aware of how much time your students spend on devices, ask their teachers. Older students who spend more time at the computer may need glasses to help reduce strain, much in the same way adults who use computers on the job do.
Participation in sports. Back-to-school time means that more kids will be hitting the fields and courts. The top five sports for the most eye injuries include two of Chicago’s favorites — football and basketball. Unfortunately awareness of sports eye injuries is still low among sports programs. If you have a student-athlete — or participate yourself — click here for more information on eye protection for sports.
Study habits. Some research supports the idea that the close work of reading and other study activities can have an impact on eyesight. Other studies have shown that more time spent outdoors decreases the incidence and degree of myopia.
While more research is necessary for conclusive recommendations, it’s a good idea for parents to be conscious of their children’s study habits. Make sure the student in your life is supported with the right eyewear and make time for breaks away from the books by being active outdoors whenever possible.
If eyewear is on your back-to-school list this year, we have many fashionable and functional options. We recently added a new collection of Tom Ford eyewear to our practice and are now offering 30% off all Gucci frames through the end of the year.
As always, if you have any questions about your eyes, please get in touch.
Eyewear to relieve digital eye strain
Digital eye strain is a rapidly growing eye health concern. Research has shown that increased use of digital devices across the generations has long-term and short-term implications for eye health and vision.
One of the ways to address digital eye strain is by choosing the right eyewear. While some patients use reading glasses to improve their vision when working on computers and other digital devices, others will benefit from lenses specifically designed to address digital eye strain. Some of the features to consider include:
- Single-vision lenses designed for computer use. Computers are mid-vision objects, which means that the correction one needs for near vision, such as reading glasses, or distance vision isn’t adequate. Patients who use their computers frequently and for long periods of time often find this type of correction helpful in reducing eye strain.
- Computer progressive lenses. Like other progressives, these lenses have a smooth transition between different focal lengths. In this case, these offer correction for viewing a computer screen and up-close objects.
- Anti-reflective coating. This reduces glare from indoor and outdoor light sources.
- Blue Light filters. These customized filters block out harmful blue light while allowing other beneficial light to pass through.
Patients sometimes choose combinations of features for a custom pair that makes digital work (and play) easier on the eyes. If you are experiencing digital eye strain or spend a good amount of time on devices, talk to us about ways we can help you keep your eyes healthy.
Photo courtesy of freeimages.com/Yakimov
New doctor at Northcenter Eye Care
Welcome Dr. Laura Blodgett!
With Dr. Vandana Gandhi on maternity leave, Dr. Blodgett is filling in, and we’ve already received great feedback on her care.
A graduate of State University of New York College of Optometry, Dr. Blodgett has five years of experience as an optometrist and comes to us from the East Coast.
Just a reminder, we have a special going on through the end of the year — 30% off Gucci frames. This is an ideal opportunity to add a fashionable pair of glasses to your wardrobe as a second pair or to replace your primary pair with an updated look or prescription.
With back-to-school time quickly approaching, we want to let patients know that we still have spots open for appointments. Give us a call or schedule online to book your exam.
Photo courtesy of freeimages.com/igoghost
Schedule your exam for back-to-school
Weekends at the beach and plans for end-of-the-summer vacations may still be on your mind, but don’t wait until the thick of the back-to-school season to get annual eye exams on the calendar. The closer we get to the return to school the busier we get, so it’s smart to schedule early.
Back-to-school is an ideal time for children and teachers to have their exams for many reasons:
- It is estimated that 80 percent of what children learn is processed through their vision. A comprehensive exam will identify any vision problems and correction needs your child might have.
- Teaching is a demanding profession, and those first months of the year are very busy. Get ahead of the rush with an eye exam in August. This is especially important for teachers who need to address vision problems.
- School work puts more demands on children’s vision than typical summertime activities. Talk to us about any concerns regarding study habits and digital device use so we can address potential issues sooner versus later.
If it turns out that any of the adults in the family need new glasses or a second pair, we are offering 30 percent off Gucci frames through the end of 2016.
In addition, we now carry Tom Ford sunglasses and frames, a line of fashion-forward eyewear featuring high-quality construction and materials from one of today’s hottest designers.
Please give us a call or schedule online to book an appointment.
Know the Effects of UV Exposure to the Eyes
While exposure to UV rays from the sun happens year-round, summer is the time when most people ramp up their UV protection. While a majority of people are concerned about UV exposure to the eyes (75 percent, according to a survey from The Vision Council), fewer understand the specific short- and long-term risks to their eye health.
Short-term effects of UV exposure
Photokeratosis, or sunburn of the cornea. Only 31 percent of those surveyed know unprotected UV exposure can lead to sunburned eyes. The symptoms — itching, redness, pain, and blurred vision — are temporary, but the condition can be so debilitating as to last for up to three days.
Pterygium. This condition is sometimes called “surfer’s eye,” as it is linked to time spent in sunny, windy and sandy environments like the beach. Characterized by a growth on the surface of the eye often near the nose, it is usually benign. If it is large enough, though, it can affect the shape of the cornea and lead to astigmatism.
Long-term effects of UV exposure
Cataracts. One of the most common eye health issues, cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss in people over age 40. According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 20 million people in the U.S. have cataracts. Unfortunately, only 26 percent of those surveyed by The Vision Council are aware of the link between UV exposure and developing cataracts.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Slightly fewer of those surveyed (21%) know that UV exposure increases the risk for AMD. In fact, research shows that exposure earlier in life contributes more significantly than in later years. Early detection and treatment can slow the progression of this disease, which is the leading cause of blindness in people age 60 and older. Studies support the idea that protecting your eyes from UV exposure can help.
Cancer of the eye, eyelid or surrounding skin. Cancer of the eyeball is rare, but skin cancer around the eye is not. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 10 percent of all skin cancers are on the eyelid. Though most are the malignant basal cell carcinoma, surgery for removal is required.
As you think about your own plan for protecting your eyes from UV exposure, keep in mind that we can help select the best sunglasses to suit your needs. Through June 30, we are offering 20% off sunglasses, which should make finding the right pair easier.
25% off 2nd pairs and 20% off most sunglasses at Yelp!
Yelp! has been a great resource to our practice, because knowing what we do well and where we need to improve is critical to our ability to best serve our patients.
This month we are inviting patients, new and current, to stop by our Yelp! page and take advantage of two special offers we have.
25% off second pairs. Second pairs are something to consider for a variety of reasons, including computer work, time spent outdoors and behind the wheel, and for participation in sports. Not to mention, a new pair might be just the thing you need for your summer wardrobe.
20% off most sunglasses (restrictions apply). Of course, sunglasses are an essential summer accessory — and a must-have for protecting your eyes. Learn more about what to look for in the perfect pair here.
As always, if you have any questions about your vision or eye health, feel free to call us or make an appointment.
Family history reveals key info about your eyes
Knowing your family history is an important step in keeping your eyes healthy. Just like eye color, many eye diseases and conditions have a genetic factor.
Glaucoma. If you have a family history of glaucoma, you are four to nine times more likely to be affected by the disease. While there is no cure for glaucoma, you can manage its progression and impact on your vision with early detection and treatment. Untreated glaucoma can result in permanent blindness.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Having a family member with AMD puts you at a 50 percent greater risk of developing the disease yourself. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss among people 50 and older in the U.S. Like many other eye diseases, early detection and treatment makes a significant difference in the progression of the disease and a person’s ability to maintain good vision for as long as possible.
Diabetic retinopathy. Type 2 diabetes, one of the fastest growing health conditions in this country, is genetically influenced. While there are a variety of other factors that cause Type 2 diabetes, family history does play a role. You would be surprised how often diabetes is detected through a comprehensive eye exam due to the presence of diabetic retinopathy.
Knowing your family health history can actually save your vision! Make sure to share all the details at your next comprehensive eye exam.
Graphic courtesy of National Eye Institute (NEI)
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