End of Year Benefits

Make the most of your benefits and flexible savings plans to maximize your savings before the end of the year!

Appointment availability becomes limited as we approach the end of the year.

Our Holiday hours are as follows:

Monday, December 25th: Closed

Tuesday, December 26th: Closed

Monday, January 1st: Closed

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Solar Eclipse

On August 21st, a total solar eclipse will touch the U.S. mainland for the first time since 1979, following a path that crosses the country from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Tens of millions of people who live within a 70-mile radius of its cross-country track will witness the eclipse in totality (the sun completely blocked by the moon) while millions of others outside of it will enjoy a partial eclipse. The American Optometric Association (AOA), America’s family eye doctors, is urging Americans to view the eclipse with proper eye protection to avoid any temporary or permanent eye damage from the sun.

To ensure spectators won’t miss the remarkable sight, the AOA is sharing a few tips for safe viewing:

  • Get centered and enjoy the view.  Here in Texas, we will only see a partial eclipse. With this in mind, your eyes should always be protected by verified viewing tools. Never look directly at the sun without eye protection, even briefly.  The only safe way to look directly at the sun or at a partially eclipsed sun is through special purpose solar filters or other ISO-certified filters.  The AOA encourages ordering solar eclipse glasses in advance and recommends the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) website (eclipse.aas.org) for a list of manufacturers.  The AAS website also contains a wealth of information regarding the eclipse.
  • Be aware of harmful solar exposure.  If you stare at the sun without protection, you may experience retinal damage called solar retinopathy.  This damage can occur without any sensation of pain, since the retina does not have pain receptors.  The injury can be temporary or permanent.  Please visit our office immediately if an accident occurs.
  • Visit our office.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding the eclipse, please give our office a call.  Once again, we can’t stress enough, please DO NOT look at the sun directly with the naked eye at any point during the eclipse.  If for some reason you have vision problems after the eclipse, please give our office a call.

We hope this will be a spectacular event for you!

Netflix, Amazon Prime, Contact Lenses? What do these have in common?

Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Contact Lenses?  What do these three things have in common?  They are all available for a monthly subscription.  “What?” you may say.  Netflix and Amazon Prime are understandable, but Contact Lenses?  Yes, you read that correctly.  We now offer contact lenses for a monthly subscription price.  At this point, we only offer this option for daily contact lenses, but it is a great option for those who love the daily contact lens modality and are unable to pay for the entire year at once.  The best thing about it is that there is no extra charge for this service.  The contact lenses are available for the same price as they are in our office.  The only extra fee you pay is for shipping.  The contact lenses are shipped automatically every three months.  You sign up, and then you don’t have to call our office for the rest of the year to order contact lenses.  Of course, for those of you who still like to order your year supply at once and take advantage of the manufacturer rebates, you can still take advantage of that option.  This just provides an alternative.

Diabetes

We’ve often heard that diabetics need to get their eyes checked regularly, but why is that the case? What effect does diabetes have on the eyes? The truth of the matter is that diabetes, particularly uncontrolled diabetes, is one of the leading causes of acquired blindness. High blood sugar, which is the major consequence of diabetes, causes damage to supportive cells of the blood vessels called pericytes. When pericytes are damaged, blood vessels become weak and leaky. The retina, just like many structures in the body, has its own blood supply. Hence, it requires oxygen delivered from that blood to function correctly. When the retinal blood vessels become damaged and leaky, blood is no longer supplying the areas of the retina it is supposed too. When those areas start to lack oxygen, a whole host of problems develop, eventually leading to severe vision problems. Blood and fluid can also leak in the central portion of the retina, called the macula, which can also cause significant visual compromise.

One of the best ways diabetics can prevent severe diabetic retinopathy is to control their blood sugar and maintain regular visits to their physician. This also means regular trips to the eye doctor. For routine diabetic checks, it is essential that our patients are seen at least once a year. We may recommend more frequent visits if we start to see diabetic retinopathy. At each evaluation, we communicate with our patients’ physicians, so they are aware of the results of the examination. In many cases, managing diabetes is a team effort among a group of doctors all working hand in hand to provide the best care for patients.

Your eyelids need cleaning too!!

Most of us would agree that one important aspect of health is good hygiene.  Well…Believe it or not, that translates to the eyes also.  One of the most common and difficult conditions we manage on a day to day basis is dry eye syndrome.  Dry eye syndrome has many causes, but one of the most common is blepharitis.

Blepharitis is characterized by a crusty, flakey eyelid margin.  In addition, the small oil glands along the eyelid margins become clogged.  These oil glands play a vital role at keeping our tears nice and healthy.  If these glands are no longer producing normally, the tears become unstable.  The resultant condition is dry eye.  In addition to the clogged oil glands, blepharitis often causes an overgrowth of bacteria along the eyelid margins.  These bacteria often irritate the eyes and can cause a variety of problems.

A very effective way of combating blepharitis is with eyelid scrubs.  We are big fans of the commercially available lid scrub solutions on the market today.  Often, you can get the formulations in single use pads or in a foam.  Both are very effective at keeping blepharitis under control.

Blepharitis is a chronic condition, so frequent lid hygiene is essential.  I wish I could tell you that you can just treat this condition for a week, and it will be eradicated.  Unfortunately, though, that is not the case.  The only way to keep blepharitis under control is to perform lid scrubs often.  I often tell my patients to make it part of their shower routine.  In many cases, the eyes will feel remarkably better, and it’s quite possible that they will become less reliant on artificial tears.

 

Doctor Bert, these no line bifocals make me sick.

Have you ever tried progressive lenses (no line bifocals) only to have them make you literally sick to your stomach? One always inevitable side effect of progressive lenses has been the “swim effect”. The swim effect is a product of progressive lenses which causes images to move around when looking through the peripheral aspects of the lenses. This effect can be quite disorienting and in some cases, nauseating. In many cases, this effect can be overcome with adaptation. Sometimes, however, patients cannot adapt, and a switch to a less desirable lined bifocal option is the only choice.

Enter Essilor’s S Series 4D lenses. This completely new digital design has virtually eliminated the swim effect. The result is a more natural visual experience to progressives. The Essilor S Series lenses are only available through eye care providers with the Visioffice digital system. If you’d like more information, or you would like to check out the system, come by our office. We’d love to show it to you!

Three reasons why contact lens wearers absolutely need a pair of glasses.

1. Your eyes need a break! Studies have shown that the risk for adverse events from contact lens wear decreases when contact lenses are removed more often. Glasses encourage frequent contact lens removals.
2. If you do have a contact lens related adverse event, you can’t wear your contact lenses. Many adverse events can be treated very effectively with ocular medications; however, it is not safe to wear your contact lenses during treatment. Glasses prevent the added inconvenience of not being able to see during the therapy period.
3. Glasses provide a different look to your wardrobe. Let’s face it. A trendy pair of glasses can really update your appearance.

20/20, 20/40, 20/100? What does all this mean?

The eye chart that most people are familiar with is called the Snellen chart. Visual acuity is the term that we as doctors use to describe what someone can see on the eye chart. The Snellen acuity format is expressed in the form of 20/___, where the top number in the fraction indicates the testing distance (20 ft), and the bottom of the fraction indicates the size of the letter.
I’m not going to get into how the size of the letter is actually calculated, but there are standard sizes for a 20 foot letter, a 30 foot letter, a 40 foot letter, and so on. The actual size of the letter is not actually 20 feet tall. Again, I won’t bore you with the details on why we call it this. Just understand that a letter designated as a 20 foot letter is a certain size, and the larger the bottom number on the fraction, the larger the letter. So…a letter on the 20/20 line is much smaller than a letter on the 20/400 line. In other words, 20/20 vision is much better than 20/400 vision because a person with 20/20 vision can resolve a much smaller letter than a person with 20/400 vision.
Here’s another way to look at this. Imagine a person with 20/20 has “normal” vision. Then take a person with 20/400 vision. How can you compare these 2 patients? The person with “normal” vision could be 400 feet away and resolve the same letter that the person with 20/400 vision could only resolve at 20 feet!

Are our eyes like chameleons?

Sometimes patients will tell me that their eyes change color depending on the clothes that they wear.  Is there really something to this?  First, we have to talk about the science of the iris (the colored part of the eye).

The iris gets its color really from two things: from the organization of the fibrous tissue that makes up the majority of the iris tissue and from a brown pigment found in the iris and throughout the body called melanin.  From a general standpoint, the amount of melanin one has in his/her iris determines the color of his/her eyes.  Blue eyes have little melanin.  Brown eyes have more melanin.  Green and hazel eyes have moderate amounts of melanin.  There is no blue or green pigment in the iris.

The iris structure has no way of “re-organizing” the melanin or the fibrous tissue to change its color.  So technically…the answer to the question is no.  The iris does NOT change color based on the clothes that a person wears.

Then, why, you may ask, do we hear this so often?  There has got to be something to this.  Clothing, particularly bright clothing, can have an effect on the appearance of a person’s eyes.  Lighting will also have an effect.  This “illusion” can be very dramatic in some people depending on their eye color.  In others, particularly those with dark eyes, there is no effect at all.

Pinkeye?

Pinkeye is a term that is used quite often by patients in our office.  “Pinkeye”, or conjunctivitis, is a term that many people use to reference an eye infection.  Conjunctivitis is actually a pretty generic term that describes an inflammatory reaction of the conjunctiva (a thin layer of tissue that overlies the white part of the eye).  The conjunctiva is filled with blood vessels, so if the tissue is compromised in any way, the eye will typically turn red.
The fact of the matter is that there are several different causes of conjunctivitis: Allergic, bacterial, viral, inflammatory, etc.  If the eye is red, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an infection.  In fact, most of the cases of conjunctivitis we see in the office are not actually infectious.  Infectious conjunctivitis, or “pinkeye” as the general public would describe it, is actually quite uncommon in adults.  The incidence of infectious conjunctivitis in children is much higher.

Now…I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea here and assume that the next time you get a red eye, you can go about your business and not worry about spreading your “infection”.  My best advice would always be to have the “red eye” checked by your eye care professional first to determine that it is not an infection before you make those assumptions.  An eye infection is not something to be taken lightly.  If there truly is an infectious component, all steps need to be taken to contain and treat the infection, so it is not spread to others.  If the condition is not infectious, most often it still needs to be treated in some way.  Many non-infectious red eyes can be far more serious than for instance, a bacterial conjunctivitis.  So, either way, get it checked out.

And…if there is any pain whatsoever, the eye needs to be evaluated that day.  Make sure your eye care professional can get you in the office as soon as possible.