Eyecare Articles

Children's Vision

“I kind of thought everybody thought the board was blurry.”

When children experience vision issues, they may not always know that they are seeing the world differently than their peers. This becomes problematic when, according to a recent survey, 84% of parents in the U.S. agree that regular eye exams help kids do their best in school but nearly half of parents wait until their child complains of vision issues before scheduling an eye exam.

Lucky for Ally, an attentive teacher noticed her behavior in class might correlate to not being able to see well. This prompted her parents to take her to visit the eye doctor for the first time. Similarly, her older sister was also showing signs of vision issues in the classroom.

One in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem that can interfere with learning. The good news is that many common vision problems can be corrected, especially when caught in early childhood through regular eye exams.

And, just like Ally and Maddy, when children can see well, the sky really is the limit.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-exams-resolve-eye-problems-in-kids

While it might seem obvious that being cross eyed means your eyes don’t line up normally, there is a lot more to crossed eyes than their appearance.

Strabismus is the official term for crossed eyes, but other names for it include tropia, eye turns, wall eyed, and wandering eye. Contrary to common opinion, being cross eyed is not the same as having a lazy eye, although strabismus can lead to a lazy eye.

Amblyopia, the medical term for lazy eye syndrome, is not always detectable by the naked eye. The brain partially or totally blocks off visual input from the lazy eye in a process called suppression which can lead to permanent functional damage to the eye if it goes untreated.

Unlike amblyopia, strabismus is essentially a result of a miscommunication between the brain and the muscles around the eye, leading to a misalignment of the eyes. Strabismus has many varieties and causes (including heredity), and it appears most often in young children.

It is normal for children under 6 months of age to experience occasional crossed eyes (intermittent strabismus) because their brains are still developing the ability to see normally; they will likely grow out of it. If crossed eyes (constant strabismus), become a recurring problem in children over 6 months the child should receive treatment immediately to prevent the condition from getting worse.

If left untreated, strabismus can cause children to have trouble in school, among other things. It often causes double vision which can lead to eye strain, headaches, and attention problems, and frustration. Children with strabismus also have a higher risk of nearsightedness.

Some of the most common types of strabismus include:

  • Small-angle – slight misalignment of the eyes
  • Large-angle – significant misalignment of the eyes
  • Esotropia – inward turning of the eye(s). Types include congenital, infantile, accommodative, and amblyopic
  • Exotropia – outward deviation of the eye(s). Types include constant, intermittent, and alternating
  • Hypertropia – upward deviation of the eye(s)
  • Duane’s Syndrome – difficulty moving eyes laterally and retraction of the eye

Common treatments for these and other kinds of strabismus include special eye drops, eye patches, appropriate eyewear, vision therapy, and—in extreme cases—surgery. Most of the time, strabismus can be fixed if caught early enough and treated appropriately.

To help prevent your child from experiencing problems in the classroom and permanent vision problems, you should schedule regular children’s eye exams with your VSP network eye doctor.

Source: Optomstrists Network: What is Strabismus?

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/cross-eyed

Are your kids ready for contacts?
If you’re thinking about contacts for your child or if they’re starting to ask about wearing them, it’s important to talk with your child’s VSP network doctor. The following information might help you learn more about contact lenses.

How do I know when my child is ready for contact lenses?
There is no “right age” to begin wearing contact lenses ‐ almost anyone of any age can wear them. But it involves a level of responsibility and the ability to follow a wear-and-care routine. If you feel your child can responsibly care for lenses, consider talking to your VSP network eye doctor about contact lens options.

What’s a good lens for a first-time wearer?
It depends on what’s best for your child’s eye care needs. One option is daily disposable lenses, a lens that’s worn for one day then thrown away. The convenience of daily disposable lenses makes them great for children, teens and other first-time wearers. Other contact lens options include those that are designed to be worn for a week, two weeks or a month.

What is a proper wear-and-care routine?
A proper wear-and-care routine is essential for contact lens success. How you care for your contacts is based on the lens and wearing schedule your VSP network eye doctor recommends. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for proper lens disinfection, and how often to replace them. Always remember to wash your hands before touching your contacts or your eyes.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at ;https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/kids-contacts;

Protecting Kids Vision in Sports

As the weather grows warmer, aspiring little leaguers have begun to channel their favorite Major League Baseball players and are ready to run the bases.

Before your little one starts swinging a bat, there are several important things to know about sports-related eye injuries. Eye injuries from sports are all too common: every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury. While about 90% of these injuries can be avoided, sports like baseball are known to cause the most injuries to the eyes.

What you need to know to protect your little all-star

“A lot of players get or cause eye injuries not because of mishap on the field, but rather because they have undetected or uncorrected vision issues like poor depth perception,” said Keith Smithson, OD.

Clear vision directly correlates with an athlete’s performance, and if they cannot see clearly on the diamond, their performance will suffer. Poor vision can lead to accidents such as tripping and falling, as well as misjudging how far away an object is. For baseball especially, it is imperative to have unobstructed vision as hitting a baseball happens within seconds. If your child is struggling to make contact with the ball, it might be time to have their eyes checked.

It’s also important that your child’s eyes are properly protected while they are on the field. Wearing sports safety glasses can help your athlete avoid getting particles in their eyes when they slide into home base. If dirt from the baseball diamond gets into your child’s eye, it can cause severe damage, such as a corneal abrasion, and be very uncomfortable.

Dr. Smithson noted that coaches aren’t always educated on the proper protective eyewear for each sport and therefore you shouldn’t rely solely on them to suggest the best equipment for your child. Some coaches, unknowingly, will let their players wear eyeglasses while they play, which can potentially shatter and cause more damage to a child’s eye than wearing no protective eyewear at all.

Your VSP network eye doctor can help make sure your child has the protective eyewear they need to perform on and off the field. Outside of a consultation on the right protective eyewear, having your child undergo an annual comprehensive eye exam is also crucial before an injury occurs.

“Don’t wait until your child experiences an eye injury to take them to the eye doctor,” said Dr. Smithson. “An eye exam can give eye doctors a baseline of your child’s vision to measure up against if they do happen to get injured, including concussions. Otherwise it can be hard to determine what typically is ‘normal’ vision for your child.”

To help your child become an all-star in their respective little league and protect them from eye injury, remember your VSP network eye doctor is on your team. Hitting a home run with the right prescription and pair of sports safety glasses from your eye doctor can make all the difference this season.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/performance-vision/baseball-eye-injury-prevention

Vision Issues 

Myopia (my·oh·pee·uh)

More commonly known as “nearsightedness,” this vision problem occurs when someone can’t see objects in the distance while those nearby are clear. Look for signs of squinting and eye rubbing. Your child may also start sitting closer to the TV or squinting when looking at a faraway object. If so, they may need vision correction.

Hyperopia (high·per·oh·pee·uh)

More commonly known as “farsightedness,” this vision problem occurs when someone can’t clearly see objects nearby but can see them clearly in the distance. Like nearsightedness, this condition can be easily corrected with glasses. Look for signs of squinting and eye rubbing. Another indication may be if your child frequently complains about headaches.

Astigmatism (uh·stig·muh·tism)

This common condition can cause blurred vision. The eyeball is supposed to be round, but sometimes it’s more of a “football” shape. In most cases, your child’s eye doctor can prescribe glasses or contacts to address the problem. As with the conditions above, your child may squint or rub his or her eyes as a symptom.

Eye Infections

Conjunctivitis (con·junk·tuh·vite·us)

More commonly known as “pink eye,” this condition is an infection that can be viral or bacterial. Symptoms can include redness, itching, burning, discharge, crusted eyelashes and increased tear production. Pink eye is often very contagious, so if your child is showing these symptoms, you’ll want to keep him or her home for the day until you visit the eye doctor. Many times, the eye doctor will prescribe eye drops to clear the infection.

Chalazion/Stye (ka·lay·zee·un/sty)

Similar but different, both a chalazion and a stye can be quite uncomfortable. A chalazion is a swollen bump on the eyelid, while a stye grows at the base of the eyelid and is caused by a bacterial infection. A chalazion is not usually painful, but a stye may be. Repeated use of a warm compress can help both conditions.

Should you notice that your child has any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. They can identify if treatment is needed and help get your child back to their normal, healthy self.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/kids-eye-problems

Most people agree that a child’s success in school is heavily dependent on good vision. For those who need them, wearing glasses is crucial to ensuring they can learn to the best of their ability. But, as many parents experience, getting your child to actually wear their glasses can seem like a tall order. Know you’re not alone—it’s a common struggle. So common, in fact, that we’ve collected these tried and true tips that should make things a bit easier (for the both of you!).

  1. Give them ownership  Let kids be a part of picking out their glasses. Doing so gives them an opportunity to express themselves and makes them more likely to wear their glasses. There are tons of great options for kids’ glasses, with plenty of stylish and colorful choices as well as durable and lightweight options for the more active kiddos.
  1. Take baby steps – Transitioning to something new is hard for anyone. Kids are no different. Some will get in the swing of things quicker than others. The best thing you can do is start small and ask your child to wear their glasses for 15 minutes a day. Then move up to 30 minutes a day. Keep going for up to a few weeks, and eventually wearing glasses will become the norm and not the exception.
  1. Harry Potter. Taylor Swift. Justin Bieber – What do these cultural icons all have in common? They all wear glasses. Find someone your child can relate to who wears glasses. Together, make a collage of photos of them wearing glasses and put it up in your child’s room.
  1. Your eye doctor is your partner –  Don’t be afraid to go back to your eye doctor if your child’s glasses aren’t fitting right. They will want to know what is and isn’t working and will be happy to make adjustments to the fit as needed.
  1. Talk to a teacher – School can be tricky because many kids will tell their parents they’re wearing their glasses when they really aren’t. Always let the teacher know what’s expected of the child with his or her glasses. Also consider having two pairs of glasses, one for school and one for home. This will ensure that your child has their glasses when and where they need them.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/getting-kids-to-wear-glasses

Today, eye doctors are prescribing contact lenses for kids who are still in elementary school. These youngsters commonly experience fewer complications with contacts than young college students because it’s easier to train the younger children on how to use and care for their lenses. Still, a lot depends on factors other than age when determining which kids make the best candidates. If you’re starting to consider contact lenses for your child or teen, but not sure if they are responsible or old enough for contacts yet, we can offer you some suggestions to consider.

Most importantly, make an eye doctor appointment for your child’s annual eye exam where you can mention his or her interest in contact lenses. Your eye doctor will assess your child’s eye health and will determine what type of vision correction is best for your child.

If your eye doctor agrees that contacts would be a good correction option, here are four signs you should think about when considering contact lenses for your child or teen:

1Drive – The first question a parent needs to ask is, ‘Does my child want to wear contacts?’ The drive to wear contacts lenses should come from your child, not from you. Contact lenses can greatly affect a young person’s self-esteem, so it is common for kids and teens to have an interest in contact lenses. Some kids feel self-conscious in glasses. For these kids, contacts lenses may help them feel better about their appearance. And those who are active in sports can benefit from the advantage’s contacts have over eyeglasses (more on that below). If your child’s interest in contact lenses is motivated by improved athletic performance or enhanced self-confidence, these drivers can help make your child a good candidate for contacts.

2. Responsibility – Look at how your child behaves in other parts of their life when considering contact lenses. Does your child take responsibility for their personal belongings, homework, glasses, and other items? Let’s be honest, maturity can’t always be measured by age. Some kids demonstrate signs of responsibility and maturity at the young age of eight, others may not match that level until age 12 or 13.  If your child needs to be constantly reminded of good grooming habits and organizational skills, they may need some more time before they become good candidates.

3. Cleanliness – Hygiene tends to be a bigger priority when a child or teen is determined to wear contact lenses. Some kids who are unhappy with glasses are going to be a lot more motivated to take care of contact lenses. But if you’re not confident that your child will clean and store contact lenses safely, talk to the doctor about CooperVision® daily disposables, such as MyDay® or clariti® 1 day. These lenses get thrown out every night and kids put on a fresh, clean pair in the morning.

4. Activities and Lifestyle – If your child or teen plays sports, spends a lot of time outdoors, or often loses their glasses, contact lenses are great option. When playing sports, contact lenses work because you don’t have to worry about glasses slipping, and they facilitate protective eyewear and sunglasses.

Once you feel your child is ready for contact lenses, make that important appointment with a VSP network eye doctor, so that you can make an informed decision.

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.

Source: CooperVision®

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/contact-lens-for-kids

Summer is here, and the next school year is on the horizon. As you rush around getting new school clothes and supplies, don’t forget to schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam. This is an essential step for school readiness because poor vision can be a barrier to learning.

If you’re thinking about contacts for your child or if they’re starting to ask about wearing them, it’s important to talk with your child’s VSP network doctor. The following information might help you learn more about contact lenses.

How do I know when my child is ready for contact lenses? 

There is no “right age” to begin wearing contact lenses — almost anyone of any age can wear them. But it involves a level of responsibility and the ability to follow a wear-and-care routine. If you feel your child can responsibly care for lenses, consider talking to your VSP network eye doctor about contact lens options.

What’s a good lens for a first-time wearer? 

It depends on what’s best for your child’s eye care needs. One option is daily disposable lenses, a lens that’s worn for one day then thrown away. The convenience of daily disposable lenses makes them great for children, teens and other first-time wearers. Other contact lens options include those that are designed to be worn for a week, two weeks or a month.

What is a proper wear-and-care routine?

A proper wear-and-care routine is essential for contact lens success. How you care for your contacts is based on the lens and wearing schedule your VSP network eye doctor recommends. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for proper lens disinfection, and how often to replace them. Always remember to wash your hands before touching your contacts or your eyes.

Think your child might be ready for contacts? Visit a VSP network eye doctor.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/kids-contacts

Does this situation sound familiar? You spend the last few weeks of summer getting the kids ready for the new school year. You purchased clothes, school supplies, and new glasses for your kids that need them. The first day of school is here and you check your child for all the essentials. Backpack, check…lunch, check… glasses…”Where are your glasses?” you ask. “I don’t know,” your child replies. You know instantly that the glasses are either lost or broken.

If you’ve already used your vision benefits for the year, then you know how frustrating it can be to feel like you have to wait to replace the lost glasses or pay for them out of pocket.

For those of us who have children who are forgetful or just simply prone to accidents, you don’t have to wait for your benefits to renew to save on new eyewear. Having a plan that supplements your current vision benefits and allows you to get an additional pair of glasses at any time, can bring you peace of mind. Learn more about the EyewearOnly Plan.

Losing vision coverage? 

Whether you’re between jobs, retiring, or are self-employed, VSP has a plan for you. It is simple to enroll, affordable, and you get the same access to the personalized services that you have come to expect from VSP. Visit StayWithVSP.com to enroll.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/lost-broken-glasses-plan

You know what the sun can do to skin, right? Many a parent has learned the hard way. A few carefree hours in the sun – without sunscreen – can wreak havoc on the tender skin of children.

Well, their eyes are just as delicate. But while many parents religiously slather on the sunscreen, very few are just as careful with their kids’ eyes.

It’s true: we recently surveyed about 2,000 U.S. adults. And we learned that a healthy 82% of parents make their children wear sunscreen while outdoors in the sun. But a not-so-healthy 32% outfit their kids with sunglasses.

Plano, Texas-based Anthony Borgognoni, O.D., isn’t surprised. Most people know the damaging effects of UV light on the skin, he says. But, “Far fewer people understand that extended exposure to sunlight in childhood can lead to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Both of those disorders can cause impaired vision or even blindness. Making sure your kids wear sunglasses isn’t a frill, it’s a necessity.”

Dr. Borgognoni has a special interest in evangelizing sunglasses for kids. He developed premature cataracts in both eyes at the tender age of 46. And he points to a ton of childhood sun exposure as a likely cause.

“I grew up playing Little League baseball and football all day long in small-town Arkansas,” he says. “In those days, nobody thought much about putting sunglasses on kids to protect their vision.”

So, if you’re ready to go out and buy your kids sunglasses, read on to find out what to look for, and what to avoid.

Sunglasses Buying Tips: 

  • Spot the sticker. Most sunglasses have a UV-protection sticker. But also look for the American Optometric Association’s Seal of Acceptance. These glasses block 99 to 100% of damaging UV radiation.
  • Avoid toys. Toy sunglasses aren’t good enough. Buy real ones with UV-protection. Choose shatterproof impact -resistant lenses that won’t pop out of their frames.
  • Go dark. Lenses should block about 75-90% of light. So, before you buy, look at your child with the sunglasses on. You shouldn’t be able see his or her eyes.
  • Gray’s the way. Gray lenses are best. They absorb all colors equally, so kids see the world in natural colors.
  • Block sideways rays. Make sure the sunglasses are big enough for your child’s head or have some kind of “wrap around” feature to help block rays coming in the sides of the frames.

Visit a VSP network eye care professional near you to find sunglasses for kids.

Already have an RX and prefer to shop online? Use your benefits at Eyeconic®, VSP’s in-network online retailer.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/sunglasses-for-kids

Children's Vision

By the time the average American child reaches age 17, their eyes will have spent the equivalent of nearly six years looking at digital devices according to findings from a new survey by VSP. With so much screen time in today’s world, our eyes are being exposed to an unprecedented amount of high-energy blue light which is emitted from devices like smartphones, tablets, TVs, and even CFL and LED lights. Blue light has caused a huge increase in digital eye strain not only in adults, but also children. The blue light coming off our favorite screens is extremely difficult for the human eye to focus, which causes our eyes to work overtime to try and process it which can lead to headaches, tired eyes, and blurry vision.

From the classroom, to the office, and nearly everywhere in between, digital devices are becoming more and more prevalent in our lives. Yet, survey results show that parents are largely unaware of blue light and its impact on vision. So what can you do to reduce exposure to blue light? Explore the infographic below to learn more.

TechShield™ Blue is a next-generation anti-reflective coating that absorbs and reflects the specific blue light wavelengths associated with digital eye strain. This near-clear coating is a great choice if you spend two or more hours a day in front of a screen or under an LED. Talk to your VSP eye doctor today about reducing your blue light exposure.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/blue-light-exposure

There is no escaping the fact that most of us are surrounded by digital devices. Whether in the office, at home, or in the palm of your hand, these devices are ubiquitous. They also emit blue light and there has been a lot of media interest about the impact it is having on our health. As part of that conversation, an unsettling term has surfaced: good blue light.  How did this term come about? First, we need to take a step back and discuss blue light in terms of wavelength. Our visual system detects wavelengths of light between approximately 400-750 nanometers (nm). The shorter wavelengths have higher energy and a cooler color (blue light is defined as 400-500nm). We can also further divide these wavelengths of light by their effects on our vision and health.

What is “bad” blue light?

Blue light below 430nm is most responsible for the tired feeling our eyes may get after viewing digital screens; we call this digital eyestrain or visual strain.  Blue light below 460 nm is what has been linked to oxidative retinal damage. The cumulative effect of this light has been linked to the potential development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness for people over 55.  So, light below 460nm has been labeled ‘bad blue light’.

What is “good” blue light?

Blue light above 460nm controls the secretion of our sleep hormone, melatonin.  In what used to be considered a normal day, we would wake up in the morning, receive exposure to sunlight, and our body’s internal clock would tell our pineal gland to stop secreting melatonin.  This would make us feel awake, alert, energetic, and some would say happy.  This is how we want to feel during the day, thus the term ‘good blue light’ has been used to describe these longer blue wavelengths.  In fact, in some climates where sunlight is scarce during winter, people have less blue light exposure and may develop seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in which they feel tired and depressed.  Therapy lights that emit long blue light wavelengths are a common treatment for SAD.

When does “good” blue light go bad?

Digital devices emit the full spectrum of blue light. Exposure to longer wavelength blue light at night affects melatonin secretion and disrupts our sleep.  Should we really classify 460-500nm light as good when it interferes with our ability to fall asleep? Is it a good thing that our children are not getting enough sleep, which for some may lead to ADHD-like symptoms? How happy are we to be awake at 2:00 a.m. because we worked on our computer or tablet until 11:00 p.m., delaying the onset of melatonin secretion?

None of these implications that are currently being extensively researched sound very good. While we need exposure to 460-490nm light during the day, we don’t need it after sunset.  So, when you hear the term ‘good blue light’, take care to keep it in the proper context.  Your health could depend on it.

This is a guest blog post by Gary Morgan, O.D.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/blue-light-good-and-bad

How many hours a day do you spend staring at a screen? An hour? Three to four hours? More? According to recent findings from The Vision Council, 60% of Americans spend five or more hours a day with their eyes fixed on a smartphone, tablet, or computer screen*.

And why wouldn’t they? Today’s world runs on digital. Mobile devices and computers deliver countless benefits to help us stay informed and connected. However, they can also serve up a less beneficial side effect.

Many digital devices and computer monitors emit blue light, and blue light exposure can contribute to digital eye strain. Here’s why: After blue light enters your eyes it scatters. Your eyes then have to work extra hard to focus that scattered light. In other words, your peepers are putting in overtime on a daily basis, which can contribute to repetitive eye strain and associated headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes. Consider the following five ways to reduce your blue light exposure and decrease the potential onset of digital eye strain.

1. Ask the expert (your eye doctor!)

An annual trip to the eye doctor is critical for the entire family (especially children). Ask your VSP network eye doctor about the best options to help you or your children reduce eye strain, whether that’s in the form of computer vision or blue light lenses. Even if you don’t wear corrective lenses, some blue light coatings can be applied to non-prescription eyewear.

2. Observe the 20-20-20 rule

Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes and spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away. Also, blinking more often helps to moisten your eyes, which may help reduce visual discomfort.

3. Maintain your digital distance

Find a comfortable working distance from your screen. This is especially important for children since the intensity of light increases exponentially the closer our eyes are to the source. Children should hold devices as far away from their eyes as is comfortable. Adults are encouraged to hold devices at arm’s length

4. Dim the lights

Turn down the brightness level of device screens to reduce the amount of blue light exposure, especially during the evening hours. Additionally, as LED and CFL lighting also emit blue light, it would be a good idea to dim those at home or work if possible.

5. There’s an app for that

A number of apps are also available to help reduce blue light emission from devices.

* The Vision Council, EYES OVEREXPOSED: The Digital Dilemma, 2016, PDF

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/digital-eye-strain

Contact Lenses

FAQs for Prospective Contact Lens Wearers

Are you considering making the switch from eyeglasses to contact lenses, but still have questions on your mind? We’ve answered a few of the most common questions below.

Do I need a contact lens exam?

Yes. Contact lenses can cause discomfort and even damage the overall health of your eyes if they are not properly fitted. Contact lens exams ensure that your lens prescription correctly fits your eyes and your vision needs. Even seasoned contact lens wearers should have annual exams to make sure that their eyes show no signs of ill effects from the lenses.

Can I use my glasses prescription for contacts?

Don’t use an eyeglass prescription in place of a contact lens prescription. An eyeglass prescription differs from a contact lens prescription because it doesn’t include the diameter and base curve components necessary for a well-fitting lens. Whether you are an experienced or first-time contact lens wearer, schedule a contact lens exam with your eye doctor to evaluate your personal vision needs.

Can I wear contact lenses when I sleep?

It depends on whether your lenses have been approved for sleep. Your eye doctor is the only one that can determine if overnight wear is the right option for you. For example, Biofinity contact lenses have been approved for up to 6 nights/7 days of extended wear.If so, he/she can offer you information on proper overnight use and replacement schedules. If your lenses aren’t designed to be slept in, removing them is the safest practice because your risk for a nasty eye infection increases when you fall asleep in them.

Can I go swimming with my contact lenses in? What about showering?

No. Any type of water contains microbes, bacteria, and fungi that can contaminate your lenses and lead to corneal infections, painful irritation, and even ulcers on your eye. Skip the contacts when swimming and talk to your eye doctor about available swim goggles instead.

And just like swimming with contacts is a bad idea, so is wearing them in the shower. The water can cause your eyes to feel dry and your contact lenses to swell. And if that wasn’t bad enough, a blast of water to the face could flush your contacts out of your eyes and right down the drain. Instead, store your contacts in lens solution while your shower so they can get a bath of their own.

Can I wear contacts if I wear bifocal reading glasses?

Yes, you can wear “multifocal” contact lenses. Multifocal contacts are designed for people with presbyopia, an age-related condition that occurs when the eye’s natural lens stiffens and no longer focuses well on close objects. With multifocal lenses, you’ll be able to see both close-up and far away. Even astigmatism can be corrected with multifocal contacts.

Can I wear contacts if I have astigmatism?

Yes! There are several astigmatism contact lenses to choose from. Toric contacts are one option for correcting astigmatism. Toric lenses are specially designed soft lenses which correct the refractive (light bending) error that irregularly shaped corneas cause. . A good choice for this kind of lens is Avaira toric lenses which are made with Optimized Lens Geometry—a multifaceted toric design that ensures optimal visual acuity, fit, and comfort.

Another option for astigmatism contact lenses are rigid gas permeable contact lenses (also called RGP or GP contact lenses). These lenses retain their spherical shape on the eye and in effect replaces the misshapen cornea as the refracting surface of the eye.

A third option of contacts are hybrid lenses (a.k.a. multifocal). Multifocals have the qualities of RGP contact lenses combined with the comfort of soft lenses. Talk to your eye doctor about which astigmatism contact lenses she/he recommends for your eyes.

Can I use eye drops?

It’s important to know which eye drops are safe to use while wearing contact lenses. Red-eye reducer eye drops can cause deposits to form on your contacts which can make your eyes redder over time. Eye drops for allergies contain ingredients that can interact with your contact lenses. And eye drops for dry eyes may contain oils which can permanently cloud your lenses.

Play it safe and take your drops and your questions to your eye doctor who can help you determine which eye drops are safe to use.

Do I need to replace my contacts on a routine schedule even if they feel comfortable?

Absolutely. Contact lenses are made of plastic, and plastic has pores that help your eyes “breathe”. Over time these pores can become clogged by dust, dirt, and bacteria which makes the lenses less breathable as less oxygen gets through to your eyes. Less oxygen can lead to a bacterial ulcer on the eye which not only is painful, but can also leave your eyes scarred and leave you with some loss of vision. So if you’re thinking of wearing your contact lenses longer than they should be worn, just remember those painful, vision impairing eye ulcers. Ouch!

If contact lenses sound like a good idea to you, the first thing you need is a prescription from an eye doctor. Use our “Find an Eye Doctor” tool to get started.

Source: CooperVision®

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/contacts/contact-lens-questions

Many people choose to make the switch from glasses to contacts. While there can be benefits to this alternative, it is important that you take necessary safety precautions, especially in a time when serious viruses can be transmitted through the eyes.

Throughout his many years in practice, VSP network eye doctor, Wallace Stuart, O.D. has helped ensure patients are properly prepped to apply contacts sanitarily using these important steps. He shared with us the marching orders he gives new contact lens wearers:

  • Wash away. The cardinal rule for staying healthy is to wash your hands often. The eyes are an entry point for germs, including viruses like Coronavirus, which makes washing your hands immediately before handling contacts especially important. This will also help keep the silicone hydrogel clean and free of unwelcome particles, like skin oils, dust, and harmful bacteria. The American Optometric Association recommends that you scrub your hands carefully and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, followed by hand drying with unused paper towels. This should occur before every contact lens insertion and removal. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Ditch the dirt. Dirt for contact lenses comes in the form of protein build-up and other eye and environmental “muck.” Routine cleaning only lasts so long. So, at the designated times, toss your contacts and use a fresh pair. They’re classified as “disposable” for a reason.
  • Not at night. If your contacts aren’t the overnight-approved, extended wear variety, don’t treat them that way. Daily contacts need nightly soaks to be properly cleansed and disinfected. A morning routine for contact lens wearers should include a simple rinse with fresh solution before putting them in your eyes.
  • No to nails. Only your fingertips should touch your contacts. Fingernails can easily rip the delicate contact lens material. If you wear your nails long, find another technique to retrieve the contacts from the container before transferring them to your finger. The soft disinfected tip of a medicine dropper can do the trick.
  • Refuse to reuse. This is one instance where recycling is a hard no. Never reuse contact lens solution. Ever. Use fresh stuff every night. Contact lens wearers should throw out their daily disposable lenses each evening, or regularly disinfect their monthly and two-week lenses according to instructions from the manufacturer and their Doctor of Optometry.
  • Forget the fumes. Whenever you can, avoid wearing contacts when you’re surrounded by irritating or toxic fumes. For example, wear your glasses for hair-dying occurrences or oven cleaning.
  • Cease if sick. Consistent with recommendations for other types of illness, those who feel sick with cold or flu-like symptoms should stop wearing their contacts until fully recovered.
  • Banish beauty-aids. Well, around your contacts anyway. Keep soaps, lotions, cosmetics, perfumes and other self-care products away from your contacts.

If you feel any discomfort, blurry vision or have concerns after contact lens application, remove your lenses and consult your eye care professional. As always, if you have additional questions about best practices for wearing contacts, contact your eye doctor.

Schedule your eye exam with an eye doctor and order contacts directly from their office. If you have your RX and prefer to shop online, use your VSP insurance to order your contacts on Eyeconic.com. 

For more information about wearing contacts safely, look to the American Optometric Association. You can find general information about COVID-19 safety at the Centers for Disease and Control and updates and resources for VSP Members here.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/contact-lens-care

22 million Americans suffer seasonal allergies. If you’re one of them and a contact lens wearer, you may as well refer to it as misery season. That’s because allergens have a special attraction to contacts – especially the soft variety, which most contact lens wearers use.

The American Optometric Association says that more than 75% of contact lens wearers complain of allergen-caused eye pain and irritation.

We talked with David Jones, OD, a veteran optometrist located in allergen-rich Santa Rosa, Calif. about the attraction allergens have toward soft contacts. Dr. Jones explains that the lenses, “function like large sponges. They keep allergens in the eye, but they also prevent using medications you might want to apply.”

Allergy season calls for special tactics to keep you and your eyes happy. Here are some suggestions from Dr. Jones:

Switch to Specs:

You may not want to wear your glasses, but you’ll probably be more comfortable if you do. The allergens in the air, such as pollen and dust, love contact lenses, and the particles will stick on them. That means irritation.

Keep ‘Em Wet:

Keep a container of artificial tears handy and use them often. This will help your eyes feel better and also wash the allergens out. Say no to any brand of over-the-counter redness relievers and buy the artificial tears instead. Redness reducing solutions are only cosmetic and won’t do anything to make your eyes feel better.

Keep ‘Em Clean:

In allergy season, get even more rigorous with your cleaning routine. Clean more often and use a preservative-free solution (it’ll say so on the bottle). For disposable lenses, consider spending a little more and replacing them more often than usual.

That’s the Rub:

When you have an itch, you want to scratch it. But when it comes to your eyes, don’t. Excessive rubbing is just going make it worse. Instead, get a nice cool washcloth or other compress and gently treat your eyes to a little TLC. It can keep swelling and itching in check.

Get Help:

If you’re really suffering, by all means see your eye doctor. He or she can prescribe medications that could help. Also, an eye exam can rule out other more serious problems.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/allergies-contacts

A routine eye exam is not the same as a contact lens exam. For contact lens wearers, a contact lens exam is necessary to ensure the lenses are fitting both eyes properly and that the health of the eyes is not harmed by the contact lenses.

Before we take a closer look at what happens during a contact lens exam, let’s talk about normal eye exams.

What is a Comprehensive Eye Exam? 

A comprehensive eye exam is an important part of caring for your overall health whether you need vision correction or not. By looking into your eyes, your doctor can check for signs of serious health conditions like hypertension and diabetes.

During a comprehensive eye exam, your VSP network doctor will look for signs of glaucoma, perform tests to check your vision sharpness, determine your prescription strength, examine how your eyes work together, and check the fluid pressure in your eyes. She may also dilate your eyes to see if you have any eye conditions or signs of other serious health conditions.

What is a Contact Lens Exam?

If you wear or want contacts, you need a contact lens exam in addition to a comprehensive eye exam. Your eye doctor will perform special tests during a contact lens exam to evaluate your vision with contacts. The first test will measure your eye surface to determine what size and type of contacts are best for you. Your doctor may also do a tear film evaluation to make sure you have enough tears to comfortably wear contacts.

With the results of those tests, your eye doctor can provide a contact lens prescription that is the right fit for your eyes. An eyeglass prescription is no substitute for a contact lens exam because the two are very different. An eyeglass prescription measures for lenses that are positioned approximately 12 millimeters from your eyes; whereas a contact lens prescription measures for lenses that sit directly on the surface the eye. An improper fitting or prescription of contacts can damage the health of the eyes.

Once you have the correct fit and prescription for contacts, you’ll need to decide whether you want disposable contacts or extended wear, and if you want your contacts to be colored.

Your doctor will fit you with a trial pair of contacts and have you wear them for a few days. In about a week, you’ll need a follow-up exam to make sure you have adjusted to your new lenses.

Whether you wear glasses or contacts, it’s a good idea to get a yearly eye exam to see if you have new or existing vision problems, and if you need vision correction.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/contact-lens-exam

As we age, there are various eye conditions that we might develop, such as astigmatism or presbyopia. In fact, more than 32 million people in the U.S. have both of these conditions. If you’re among this population, then one common misconception you may be familiar with is that you can’t wear contacts. We’ll discuss why this isn’t true and a potential solution, but first let’s dive into what astigmatism and presbyopia are.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common eye-focusing condition that happens when your cornea is shaped more like a football than equally curved in all directions.

If you have astigmatism, you might:

  • Have trouble seeing both near and far
  • Squint often or experience eyestrain
  • See images that are blurry or distorted


What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a common age-related change to near vision. As your eyes age, it gets harder for them to focus to help you see clearly. Most people start to notice the effects of presbyopia around or after the age of 40.

If you have presbyopia, you might:

  • Have trouble seeing small or fine print (books, text messages, computer, small print on a menu or in a dark restaurant)
  • Hold items farther away to read them
  • Have blurry vision when you read or use a smartphone
  • Keep readers in every room
  • Experience headaches or a tired feeling in your eyes during up-close tasks.


What Are My Contact Lens Options?

For those with astigmatism and presbyopia, there’s a new product available that combines presbyopia and astigmatism lens designs, called Bausch + Lomb ULTRA Multifocal for Astigmatism. Ask your VSP network doctor if this contact lens might be right for you.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/contacts/contacts-for-astigmatism-presbyopia

Want to make inserting and removing your contact lenses second nature? Wash your hands and follow these helpful step-by-step instructions.

How to insert contact lens

  1. Wash your hands with an oil-free soap. You may be thinking washing your hands is a no-brainer but taking a second look at what soap you’re using can ensure you’re keeping your contacts lens germ-free and smudge free.
  1. Start inserting your lenses with the same eye every time. If your prescription is different between your left and right eyes, your contact lenses will be designed to correct the needs of each eye. Accidentally switching your lenses, you risk blurry vision and discomfort. To avoid any mix-ups, always start inserting the same lens every time. A good method is to go by your dominant hand: right-handed contact lens wearers, start with the right lens; left-handed contact lens wearers, start with the left lens.
  1. Inspect and clean your lens. Gently place the lens on the end of your index finger, then hold it up at eye level so you can examine it closely. If the lens is curved upward like a bowl, then you’ve got the right side! Check lens for any scratches, tears, or dust. Then use your lens solution to clean and disinfect it.
  1. Insert the contact lens. Using your opposite hand, carefully pull your eyelid upward with your index finger, and with the middle finger of your dominant hand (i.e. the one holding the contact lens), gently pull the lower eyelid downward. Trying not to blink or move your head, move the lens toward you eye, gently placing it on your eye.  Once the lens is comfortably seated, let go of the lids around your eye. Just blink and you’re done.
  1. Blink naturally and take a look in the mirror. If everything looks good and feels comfortable, you are good to go!
  1. Looking into a well-lit mirror, pull your lower eyelid down with the index finger of your dominant hand.
  1. Look up as you gently slide the lens down to the white part of your eye.
  1. Using the pads of your index finger and thumb, gently squeeze the lens and pull it away from your eye. Avoid using your finger nails or pinching the lens while removing your lens.
  1. Place the lens in your contact lens solution or discard the lens if it is past its use date.
  1. Repeat the steps above to remove the lens in your opposite eye.

You’re done! Removing your contact lenses is really is easy to do.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/how-to-put-in-contacts-lenses

Today’s contact lens wearers have several options, which is fantastic but also confusing. Knowing which contact lenses are right for you means understanding the different contact lens options available. Think about your lifestyle and your vision needs as you read about the variety of contact lenses available. Then, schedule a contact lens examwith your eye doctor to ensure you get the best contact lenses for you.

Hard Contact Lenses

Many advances have been made to hard contact lenses since the 1970s to create a healthier lens for eyes. The improvements resulted in “rigid gas permeable” lenses which are slightly more flexible and allow oxygen to pass through the lenses to the cornea. They are still regarded as hard contact lenses because they maintain their shape on the eye. Rigid gas permeable contacts, also called GP or RGP lenses, have many advantages beyond healthy oxygen flow. RGPs lenses have helped slow down the development of nearsightedness in young and adult lens wearers. Generally, the advantages of GP hard contact lenses outnumber the disadvantages.

Advantages of GP “Hard” Contact Lens: 

  • Extremely durable
  • Easy to care for
  • Easy to handle and wear
  • Do not dehydrate
  • Retain their shape
  • Offer clear, crisp vision
  • Correct most astigmatism
  • Available as bifocal and multifocal
  • Available in various colors and costume designs


Disadvantages of GP “Hard” Contact Lens: 

  • Easily dislodged from center of eye
  • Can get scratched
  • Debris can accumulate get under the lenses
  • Requires consistent wear to feel comfortable

RGP lenses are preferred by people who want to reduce their risk of eye infections and for those who are dissatisfied with the alternative type of contact lens – soft contact lenses.

Soft Contact Lenses

First approved for U.S. supply in 1971, soft contact lenses sales reached $1 million in the first six months. What made them so popular among contact lens wearers? Soft contact lenses are generally more comfortable to wear. They are able to stay in place better and are easier to adjust to than hard contact lenses. The flexible plastic is combined with water to allow oxygen to pass through the contact lens to the cornea. This increases comfort and maintains eye health. Soft contact lenses can correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), blurred vision (astigmatism), and age-related loss of close-up vision (presbyopia).

Soft contact lenses have their disadvantages too, including a higher rate of infection and less durability than gas permeable contacts. They can also be more expensive than hard contact lenses since they may require more frequent replacements.

Disposable Soft Lenses

By 1987 contact lens wearers were given a healthier and more convenient contact lens option – disposable soft contact lenses. Designed to be worn for a short time, disposable contact lenses are great for people with allergies and those who are concerned about getting eye infections from the build-up of bacteria and dirt under the lens. Disposable contact lenses require minimal cleaning and disinfection before being discarded. Today’s soft contact lenses are available as non-disposables, monthly or weekly disposables, and daily disposables.

Daily Wear & Extended Wear

Soft contact lenses are also available for extended and daily wear. Daily wear contacts are intended to be worn during the day and removed for nightly cleaning and disinfecting. Daily wear lenses can be reused until their intended discard date.

Extended wear soft contact lenses can be worn while sleeping but must be removed for cleaning and disinfecting once a week. Overnight use may pose a risk of eye infections so caution should be used even with lenses that are designed for extended wear.

So, which contact lens option will you choose? Perhaps it will be a unique approach – like having throwaway lenses for travel and extended wear lenses the rest of the time. Armed with more knowledge, you can now schedule that importantcontact lens examwith your eye doctor and order contacts directly from their office. If you prefer to shop online, use your VSP benefits to order your contacts on Eyeconic.com.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/types-of-contact-lenses

Eye Exams

Perhaps you don’t wear glasses or contacts and haven’t had any issues with your eyes. So, you think, “Why would I need to go to the eye doctor every year?” You might be surprised to know that there is more to an eye exam than just checking your visual clarity. Here are three reasons why you should visit your eye doctor every year.

1. Detecting Early Signs of Chronic Diseases like Diabetes

Your eyes reveal a lot about your overall wellness. An eye exam can detect early signs of serious health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Regular eye exams are critical because what may seem like a vision-related problem might be an indication of a broader health issue.

2. Some Eye Diseases Are Symptom-Free

What do glaucomacataracts and macular degeneration all have in common? All these conditions share a common characteristic—no early warning signs. Getting an annual eye exam can help detect health conditions before they progress and may help preserve your vision.

3. Your Vision Might Not Be as Clear as You Think

You may think your vision is clear, but many people are often surprised to discover they aren’t seeing as well as they thought they were. You may not notice that your vision changed, but an eye exam can reveal if you need glasses or contacts – or an update to your current prescription to ensure you’re seeing as clearly as possible.

Need an eye exam but not sure where to go? Use our Find a Doctor tool to locate a VSP network eye doctor near you. If you need to make an appointment to see an eye doctor, but don’t have vision benefits, visit VSPDirect.com to learn how VSP Individual Vision Plans can help you save money on your next eye exam and glasses.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-exams/three-reasons-to-get-annual-eye-exams

Don’t let the word ‘exam’ in “eye exam” put the fear of failing a test into your mind. Take it from us – eye exams aren’t about making patients feel like failures. The different tests your eyes will go through during an eye exam are all there to make sure your vision and overall health are the best they can be – and your only failure would be in avoiding the exam to begin with.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect. 

  • Nice to meet you. If you’re a new patient, you’ll probably fill out an eye and medical history form, including any symptoms you’re having. The doctor will review it and talk with you more about any risks for vision problems, eye disease or concerns with other medical conditions.
  • An oldie but a goodie – the Snellen Chart. Named for the eye doctor who invented it, the Snellen Chart is the classic icon of eye care. With its letter-filled rows ranging in size from chunky to seemingly microscopic, this chart has graced many a medical office’s hallway. It’s a simple test to assess your visual sharpness. The doctor will watch to see the smallest row you can make out.
  • One or two? This is the test known as refraction. Your doctor uses a tool called a retinoscope or a computerized vision-testing instrument. He or she will shine light into your eyes and get a read on your vision and estimate your prescription strength. After that comes the classic fine-tuning process, where your doctor uses a series of slightly different lenses in front of your eyes to check which subtle differences make you see better.
  • First the left, then the right. Your eyes are a team. To see how well they work together, the doctor needs to see how each one performs on its own. You’ll most likely use a little paddle known as an occluder (it’s like the eye doctor’s stethoscope) to block vision in one eye first, and then the other.
  • Color time. Color vision is a basic building block of seeing well. But, millions of Americans – mostly men – have a color vision deficiency. It’s mostly around not being able to see green or red. In this test, you’ll look at special cards with colored dots that make up numbers. If you see the numbers, your color vision is fine. If there’s a problem, you may have a hard time seeing the number, or it might be completely invisible.
  • The puff test. This is the most common test for glaucoma and measures the fluid pressure inside your eyes. It just takes a split-second puff of air in each eye.
  • A closer look. Your doctor may dilate your eyes with drops that make your pupils bigger. This allows your doctor to take a closer look in your eyes and look for eye and health conditions.
  • Zoom in. A slit lamp, or biomicroscope, lets the doctor get a magnified view of the front and inside of your eyes. It helps your doctor check off a number of conditions, like cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Now that you know what to expect from an eye exam, make an appointment with your eye doctor to get your eyes tested.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-exam

An annual eye exam is a great step in taking care of not only your eyes but your overall health. Eye exams can detect signs of serious conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Visiting the eye doctor doesn’t have to feel intimidating, even if you haven’t been there in a while. Knowing how to prepare for the visit and thinking ahead is an important part of the eye exam process. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your next visit.

What to Know About Your Vision Benefits:

  • For personalized information about your benefits, create an account or log in to your vsp.com account. You’ll see your vision plan and coverage and easily view benefits for all your covered dependents from your desktop, mobile or tablet. Click here to learn how to create an account.
  • Once you’re logged in, you’ll also be able to find a VSP network doctor that accepts your vision plan and view how you can save with Exclusive Member Extras.


What to Think About Before Your Eye Exam:

  • Have I noticed any eye problems such as blurry vision, flashes of light, poor night vision, or double vision?
  • Do I have trouble judging distances or distinguishing between reds and greens?
  • Is my vision impacting me from doing certain activities?
  • How well am I taking care of my glasses or contacts? Do I take my contacts out each night and rinse them thoroughly?
  • Have I had any health issues, injuries, operations, or sicknesses lately that my eye doctor should know about?
  • Does my family have a history of eye problems such as glaucoma or cataracts?


What to Bring to Your Eye Exam:

  • Your current glasses, sunglasses, and contacts.
  • A list of current medications—and not just prescription medications. Your eye doctor can look at the list and determine if your medications could be affecting your vision.
  • The name and address of your primary care doctor.
  • If your appointment includes having your pupils dilated—and most yearly eye exams do—bring a friend or family member to drive you home. Many people can’t see well enough to drive safely after having their eyes dilated.
  • Your vision insurance information.
  • A list of the questions you want to ask your doctor, so you don’t forget them.


What to Ask Your Eye Doctor:

  • Has anything about my eyes changed since my last visit that I should know about?
  • What are my options for improving my vision?
  • Am I a candidate for laser vision correction?
  • What are the advantages of wearing both contact lenses and glasses?
  • How many hours per day can I wear contacts?
  • Should I look out for anything in particular when it comes to my eyes and overall health?
  • How can I protect my vision while staying active?
  • Should I be doing anything differently to care better for my eyes?
  • Can I schedule my next eye exam?


When to Follow Up with Your Eye Doctor:

  • If you receive contacts or glasses for the first time, plan to follow up with your eye doctor after about two weeks so you can report back on how well they are working.
  • If your eye doctor adjusts your prescription and your new glasses or contacts aren’t working out, let your eye doctor know immediately.

With a little bit of preparation, your eye exam should be a simple and straightforward process. Take a few moments beforehand to get ready, and your eyes will thank you.

If you haven’t already scheduled your next eye exam, you can do it now.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-appointments

You may know what to expect from an eye exam, but taking a moment to prepare your thoughts beforehand can go a long way. Doing so will help you get the most out of your time with both your eye doctor and optician as well as ensure you get the best solutions for your visual and lifestyle needs.

Describe Your Health 

Your overall health shouldn’t be discounted as many health conditions can affect your vision. Are you experiencing headaches, dry or watery eyes, light sensitivity, blurred vision or trouble seeing clearly? Have these happened suddenly, or have you had these symptoms for a long time? What about your spouse or children? Have you noticed your child’s performance at school dip suddenly? This could be related to an undetected vision problem.

Share Your Hobbies 

Sharing your hobbies and activities with your eye doctor and optician helps to tailor a lens and frame combination that specifically suits your lifestyle. Whether you spend your days outside in the garden, or inside on the computer, discussing your daily routine helps your eye doctor provide the best solution for your visual needs.

Ask Your Eye Doctor 

The following questions can help you engage with your eye doctor, and receive some valuable input during your appointment:

  • How often should my family get an eye exam?
  • What lens enhancements do you recommend for me and my prescription?
  • I’ve never worn glasses/contact lenses before – what can I expect?
  • I’ve been hearing a lot about the effects of blue light. How can I reduce my and my family’s exposure?
  • What type of glasses would you recommend for my lifestyle? (computer vision glasses, prescription sunglasses, light-reactive lenses, etc.)
  • How do my current health conditions affect my eye health?

Meet the Optician 

If you need corrective eyewear, you‘ll have the opportunity to try on frames and order your new glasses or contact lenses. Opticians can help you find a frame that looks great and fits comfortably. They can also provide expert insight about different lens material and coatings to further customize your glasses.

If you already wear glasses or contact lenses, share your current experience. What do you like? What needs improving? Discussing this with the optician will help you get the most of your eyewear.

Pro Tip: Bring in your current eyewear or contact lenses so they can better understand what’s working well for you and what changes are needed. 

Ask Your Optician 

  • What shape frames do you recommend for me?
  • What lens material is best for my prescription?
  • What are my options for lightweight lenses?
  • Are there glasses that are more helpful for my particular hobbies?
  • Can you tell me about lenses that darken when I go outside?
  • Can you tell me about lenses that reduce blue light exposure?
  • How might I benefit from a second pair of glasses?
  • Can you share any recommendations for taking care or my glasses or contact lenses?

Ready to schedule your next eye exam? Find a VSP® network doctor near you.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-exam-preparedness

Digital retinal imaging uses high-resolution imaging systems to take pictures of the inside of your eye. This helps VSP network doctors assess the health of your retina and helps them to detect and manage such eye and health conditions as diabetes, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Finding retinal disorders as early as possible is critical to potentially preventing serious disease progression and even vision loss.

A Piece of History 

In addition to helping detect diseases early, retinal images provide a permanent and historical record of changes in your eye. Images can be compared side-by-side, year after year, to discover even subtle changes and help monitor your health.

Retinal images also make it easier for your doctor to educate you about your health and wellness. The two of you can review your images together, and your doctor can point out the various structures of the retina and explain treatment options for any conditions revealed by the pictures. The more you know about eye diseases, the more likely you will understand and follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment and prevention.

Here are just some of the diseases retinal imaging can help a VSP network doctor notice or see more closely:

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration – Macular degeneration is usually signified by leaking of fluid or bleeding in the back of the eye. This causes central vision loss.
  • Cancer – A dark spot at the back of the eye may signal a melanoma, which can grow unnoticed within the retina. If caught early, melanomas can be treated before they cause serious damage and travel to other areas of the body through the bloodstream.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy – Diabetes can cause changes in the blood vessels of the retina, like swelling and leakage or the creation of new blood vessels. Blindness can result without early detection.
  • Glaucoma  Pressure against the optic nerve and compression of the eye’s blood vessels may indicate glaucoma. This disease causes permanent and irreversible vision loss.
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) – Signs of high blood pressure often appear first in the eye. Indicators can include narrowing of the blood vessels, spots on the retina, or bleeding in the back of the eye.
  • Retinal Detachment – Retinas can lift or pull away from the wall of the eye. If not properly treated, this can cause permanent vision loss. 

There are many retinal imaging options available to you. Talk to your VSP network doctor about which one is right for you.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/retinal-exam

You’re at the pharmacy searching for something to relieve your eye irritation with some eye drops. When you get there and you find yourself faced with a wide selection of eye drops, many claiming to do the same thing, but not all eye drops are created equal.

Unfortunately, there is no universal eye drop to cure all symptoms. Before reaching for a bottle of eye drops, it is best to determine the underlying causes of your symptoms. You should always consult your eye doctor first as some symptoms may be signs of more serious health conditions or may require prescription medicine.

Over The Counter Eye Drops:

Artificial Tears – Artificial tears, commonly referred to as lubricating drops, are used to relieve dry eye and act as a protective, moisturizing barrier for your eyes. They are sometimes recommended for allergies because they help rinse the allergens out of the eye. Most artificial tear products can be bought over the counter.

Patients with allergies should consider a preservative free eye drop solution, as they are used more frequently. Other options include thicker formulas like an eye gel. Talk with your doctor to determine what solution will work best for you.

Decongestants – Decongestants can be purchased over the counter and provide temporary relief from red eyes. While this is a tempting quick fix, they should not be used regularly.

Decongestants are also known as vasoconstrictors because they narrow the blood vessels. This is what temporarily brightens the white part of the eyes, reducing appearance of redness.

They are not recommended for long-term use as eyes may become dependent on them and can cause damage to the blood vessels with overuse. This can lead to other potentially harmful eye conditions.

Prescription Eye Drops:

Antihistamines – For itchy, watery eyes caused by allergies check with your doctor about antihistamine eye drops. Histamine is a chemical defense triggered by the body when it comes into contact with something that irritates it such as pet dander.

Anti-inflamatory eye drops – For more serious allergic reactions like hay fever, allergic conjunctivitis, and corneal inflammation you may be prescribed Corticosteroid (steroid hormones) or NSAID (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) eye drops. Use only as directed by your doctor.

Long term use of these drops can put you at risk for infections and more serious eye conditions like glaucoma and cataracts.

Moral of the Story

Be cautious when dealing with your eye health, even OTC eye drops should be treated with the same caution you would any other medication. Find an eye doctor near you to help you make informed decisions to keep your eyes healthy and happy.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-drop-choices

You’ve had your peepers since you were born, so you may think you know them pretty well, but here are some fun facts you may not know about eyes: 

  • The average blink lasts for about 1/10th of a second.
  • While it takes some time for most parts of your body to warm up to their full potential, your eyes are on their “A game” 24/7.
  • Eyes heal quickly. With proper care, it only takes about 48 hours for the eye to repair a corneal scratch.
  • Seeing is such a big part of everyday life that it requires about half of the brain to get involved.
  • Newborns don’t produce tears. They make crying sounds, but the tears don’t start flowing until they are about 4-13 weeks old.
  • Around the world, about 39 million people are blind and roughly 6 times that many have some kind of vision impairment.
  • Doctors have yet to find a way to transplant an eyeball. The optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain is too sensitive to reconstruct successfully.
  • The cells in your eye come in different shapes. Rod-shaped cells allow you to see shapes, and cone-shaped cells allow you to see color.
  • You blink about 12 times every minute.
  • Your eyes are about 1 inch across and weigh about 0.25 ounce.
  • Some people are born with two differently colored eyes. This condition is heterochromia.
  • Even if no one in the past few generations of your family had blue or green eyes, these recessive traits can still appear in later generations.
  • Each of your eyes has a small blind spot in the back of the retina where the optic nerve attaches. You don’t notice the hole in your vision because your eyes work together to fill in each other’s blind spot.
  • Out of all the muscles in your body, the muscles that control your eyes are the most active.
  • 80% of vision problems worldwide are avoidable or even curable.

Who knew your eyes could be so amazing and complex? See your VSP network eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam every year to give your eyes the attention they deserve.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-facts

You check your calendar and realize it’s time to see an eye doctor. Setting up the eye appointment is the easy part but knowing what type of eye care professional you may need can be confusing. To help clear the confusion, we’re breaking down the difference between an optometrist, ophthalmologist, and optician.

What is an optometrist?

An optometrist is typically the most common point for comprehensive vision and eye care. That includes the refraction and dispensing aspect of your care, which many think of as “getting glasses.”

Optometrists can also play a key role in the detection and management of certain diseases in the eye, such as diabetes and macular degeneration. Finally, these eye doctors also rehabilitate certain conditions, like lazy eye.

Optometrists make up a majority of the VSP network and can be identified by the letters “OD” behind their name, which stand for Doctor of Optometry.

What is an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in all aspects of eye care including the diagnosis, treatment, and surgery of eye diseases and disorders.

Typically, someone will have their primary eye care with an optometrist and then be referred to an ophthalmologist for specific diagnoses or emergent care, if needed.

If you’re trying to find an ophthalmologist, look for the letters “MD” or “DO” behind their name to signify they are a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy.

What is an optician?

An optician is a specialist in fitting eyeglasses and making lenses to help correct your vision problems. They do not perform any visual acuity or medical exams. You’ll likely visit an optician after seeing an optometrist who performs your eye exam.

Each of these professionals brings a different aspect of care to your overall health based on your specific needs. If you have more questions about who you need to see, you can always call your VSP network eye doctor’s office and they can help you set up an appointment. The most important thing to remember is to have your eyes checked annually by an eye care professional.

Do you need an eye exam, but don’t have vision insurance? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a vision plan you can buy on your own. A VSP Individual Vision Plan includes an eye exam, an allowance for glasses or contacts, and more.

This is a guest article by VSP employee Jessica Caswell. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/optometrist-ophthalmologist-optician

Comprehensive eye exams are important for many reasons. Along with eye-related concerns, eye doctors may be able to detect other health issues during a comprehensive eye exam.

Can you detect diabetes through an eye exam? 

“The answer is yes, yes you can,” said VSP network eye doctor Meghan Riegel, OD.

According to Dr. Riegel, diabetes affects the blood vessels, and the back of the eye is the only place in the body where an eye doctor can directly view the blood vessels.

“If there’s a problem happening, your eye doctor is sometimes the first to detect that change,” Dr. Riegel explained. “This is why it’s so important you make sure to get your annual eye exam.”

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows 30.3 million people have diabetes in the U.S., however, 7.2 million people go on undiagnosed.

It’s especially crucial for people with diabetes to get their eyes examined regularly, as they can develop diabetic retinopathy, a condition where the blood vessels in your retina become damaged.

Often the early stages of diabetic retinopathy have no noticeable symptoms, so Dr. Riegel recommends that everyone with diabetes have a comprehensive eye exam once a year. According to the CDC, about 90 percent of diabetes-related vision loss can be prevented, but early detection is key.’

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/ask-eye-doctor/eye-exams-diabetes-detection

“An eye exam literally saved my life” were words Sharon, a 54-year-old New Orleans resident, never thought she would hear herself say.

Sharon was working around the clock as an administrative assistant and taking care of her daughter and grandchildren who live with her. She’s always put her family’s needs before her own, which coupled with her busy lifestyle, didn’t give her much time to take care of her own health or make healthy eating a priority.

When she started noticing her vision getting blurry, she thought it must be time for an updated glasses prescription. Sharon scheduled an eye exam with her local eye doctor thinking it would be like any other routine exam.

VSP network doctor and board member, Jarrett Johnson, OD, MPH performed a comprehensive eye exam on Sharon and noticed that the blood vessels in the back of her eye were swollen.

“The thing that stood out to me most when I was performing Sharon’s exam was the fact that the blurriness in her vision had altered her prescription,” said Dr. Johnson. “When we see that, we know pretty much that that’s indicative of diabetes.”

Dr. Johnson urged Sharon to see her primary care physician and get blood work done to confirm the diagnosis and sure enough, she had full blown diabetes. The disease had progressed so much so that Sharon’s kidneys were failing, and she was also diagnosed with stage three kidney disease.

With the diagnosis, Sharon’s world flipped upside down. She knew she had to make a change both for her health and for her family, so she could be around for her children and grandchildren.

“Had I not gone to Dr. Johnson for that eye exam, then I probably still would be making poor choices and my health condition would be far worse than what it is,” said Sharon.

Watch more of Sharon’s story below to find out how she is managing her diabetes and what lifestyle changes she is making to take control of her health.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/health-conditions/eye-exam-detects-diabetes

We can all agree that having healthy eyes is important, but did you know just over 50% of people get annual eye exams? Why you might ask? According to a recent VSP survey in partnership with YouGov, a majority of people skip eye exams because they don’t think they need vision correction, think eye exams are expensive, or don’t have vision insurance. Although common, these reasons are often related to misconceptions about eye exams. Let’s clear the air and bust these myths.

Myth: Eye Exams are Unnecessary 

Those who don’t wear glasses or contacts might think, why would I need an eye exam? It’s a fair question. What most people don’t know is that an eye doctor can help detect early signs of more serious diseases and conditions through a comprehensive eye exam, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Although you might not have needed vision correction in the past, your eyes can change as you age. Perhaps when you were younger you could see objects up close, but as you get older those objects start to become blurry. Changes in your vision can be caught early by your eye doctor at an annual eye exam.

Myth: Children Don’t Need an Eye Exam Until They Start School

Children should have their first eye exam when they are six-months old. Most parents are unaware that eye exams should begin so young. Following a child’s first appointment at six-months old, eye exams should also take place at three years old, before starting elementary school, and then yearly thereafter.

Annual eye exams for kids are important because many children may not be able to articulate that they can’t see well. This becomes problematic because although, eight in ten parents agree that regular eye exams help kids do their best in school, almost half wait until their child complains about their vision to schedule an eye exam.

Myth: Vision Insurance is Expensive

It’s important to find a vision insurance plan that fits you and your family’s eye care needs but also your budget. By electing to have VSP vision insurance, you can take advantage of savings on eye exams, eyewear allowances and lens enhancements, and ensure you get the quality eye care you deserve. Find a plan that can help you save money on your next eye exam.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-exam-myths

Eyeglasses

Trying to decipher your optical prescription is a common issue for many people. Here are three of the most common eye conditions that require a prescription in the first place: 

  • Myopia—commonly called nearsightedness, which makes distance vision blurry
  • Presbyopia—commonly called farsightedness, which makes near vision blurry
  • Astigmatism—which focuses light on more than one spot on the retina, making vision blurry

These are all refractive errors that simply mean your eyes have trouble focusing light correctly. Your prescription for these conditions is measured in units called diopters. Diopters represent the amount of correction you need to normalize your vision. The more nearsighted (or farsighted) you are, the higher your prescription in diopters.

On your prescription, you’ll see some letters followed by a series of numbers. The letters “OD” indicate that the prescription is for your right eye; “OS” represents your left eye. Your prescription, including both eyes, will generally look something like this:

OD -4.00 -1.50 x 180

OS +.50

  • Refractive Power – The first number in the series identifies your degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness. A plus sign (+) indicates you are farsighted, a minus sign (-) indicates you are nearsighted. This number is called your spherical correction.
  • Astigmatism –The second number in your prescription identifies what degree of astigmatism you have i.e. how well or poorly your eye focuses light onto the retina. The number can be written either with a (+ sign) or a (- sign). This number is called your cylindrical correction.
  • Axis – The third number indicates the direction of your astigmatism. For example, an axis of 180 degrees means the astigmatism is horizontal. If your prescription doesn’t have a second or third number, you most likely don’t have astigmatism.
  • DV vs. NV – Your prescription might also contain the abbreviations DV (distance vision) or NV (near vision).  DV is the portion of your prescription which corrects your ability to see things far away. NV means your prescription is for reading only.

You may be surprised to learn that your left and right eyes can have different prescriptions, but this isn’t uncommon. If your eyes are different, your VSP network doctor can provide a different prescription for each eye to meet your specific needs.

If you think you’re due for a prescription update, make an appointmentwith your eye doctor for an eye exam.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/glasses-prescription

When you’re browsing the frame selection in your eye doctor’s office and you notice the doctor’s assistant sizing up your face and your frame selection, what exactly is he or she checking for? We talked with Greg Jones, O.D., a VSP network doctor from Jamestown, N.Y., and his frame and lens consultant Kathy Parsons to find out what goes into a good eyewear choice.

Q: What goes into making a good frame selection?

Dr. Jones: First thing is, make sure the frames you choose are suited for your prescription. The doctor should make sure the frames will keep your lenses at just the right distance from your eyes.

Second, you want to ask: Do the frames fit the patient’s face? Are they a good, close, comfortable fit?

And finally, you need to think about the strength and look of the frames. What materials are in those frames and how durable are they? What about style? Will the patient walk out of there really feeling good about the way he or she looks in their glasses?

Ms. Parsons: Fit and durability obviously come first, but style is essential too – and it changes all the time. For example, we’re seeing a huge resurgence of plastic frames these days. It’s a fun, retro look that flashes back to the 1950s and 1960s. That look is quite popular with a lot of teenagers and people in their 20s right now.

Q: What affects the fit of the frames?

Dr. Jones: Their size is most important. You have to match the frames correctly to the face. But you also have to be sure that the nose pads fit snugly against the nose so that the glasses don’t slip, and that the temples fit the ear closely. I can’t emphasize it enough – you shouldn’t accept new glasses until the fit feels just right.

Q: What about lifestyle?

Dr. Jones: It’s extremely important. If you’re fitting frames on a person who’s very active, for example, then you wouldn’t want to pick a frame that’s thin and fragile. Instead, you might select a frame made of a stronger material that’s also lightweight; just right for somebody who’s really active.

Visit a VSP eye care professional near you to find the frames that fit you and your lifestyle.

Source: VSP

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/how-to-choose-eyeglasses

The three things to remember next time you head out the door for vacation:

Sunglasses

If there’s one thing to not leave home without (besides your wallet, phone, and keys) it’s a trusty pair of sunglasses. No matter where you’re headed, sunglasses are the perfect accessory to keep your eyes comfortable on sunny and overcast days. Make sure that they provide 100% UV protection.

If you’re headed to the beach or mountains, you may want to consider polarized sunglasses as they can help reduce glare from reflective surfaces like water and snow. Wraparound styles are also great for windy conditions, as they provide more coverage to protect the eyes from flying particles and dryness.

Spare glasses/contacts

If you are an avid contact lens wearer, bring your cleaning solution and back up eyewear. You never know when one of those little guys might pop out.

Even if you wear glasses, a back-up pair in the glovebox can be handy for some of life’s unexpected moments.

Eye drops

When traveling you may need to adapt to different climates. Even air planes have drier air than your eyes might be used to. Keeping some artificial tears on hand can help you deal with environmental factors or even flush out irritants like smoke or pollen.

If you do run into unexpected eye issues away from home, there are thousands of VSP network eye doctors across the U.S. that can be located using the Find a Doctor search on vsp.com.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/protect-your-eyes-on-vacation

More than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work every day but with the right eye protection, most of these injuries could have been prevented or the severity lessened. Whether you work in a manufacturing plant, an office or as a mom taking care of little ones, it’s important to protect your eyes.

Are you in a position that requires manual labor? 

When working around equipment or exposure to chemicals and other materials, it’s imperative to wear eye protection.

  • A pair of safety glasses, ideally made with impact-resistant lenses, are necessary for jobs that present an eye safety risk. If there are chemicals present, safety goggles should be worn. Talk with your employer to see if safety glasses are covered in your vision plan.
  • Get to know your work surroundings. Identify the primary health hazards in your line and location of work. By being more aware of the risks present, you can take the appropriate precautionary measures.


Do you work a desk job? 

You’re likely sitting in front of a computer most days and have begun to realize that blue light is a real thing. Digital eye strain emitted from screens is the culprit. Thankfully, there are several potential solutions.

  • Computer glasses with special lenses or lens coatings can help filter blue light emitted from screens. Talk to your eye doctor about these lenses if you spend two or more hours a day in front of a screen or under an LED light.
  • Limit screen time before bed. Ideally, put away your devices a couple hours before going to bed.


Are you a full-time wrangler of kids? 

When the endless bound of energy strikes, the park and pool are surefire ways to tire the kids out. However, that could also mean UV light exposure, which can cause damage to the eyes and the delicate skin around the eyes.

  • Throw on a pair of sunglasses for you and the kids. Just look for the “100% UVA/UVB” or “UV400” labels to ensure your eyes are properly protected.
  • Grab a wide-brimmed hat or stake out a spot under an umbrella for an added layer of protection.

Regardless of what your work day looks like, talk with your eye doctor about ways you can protect your eyes on the job.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/workplace-safety

You don’t need to be a fashion expert to find eyeglass frames that look great on you. Eyeconic makes finding the right frames simple. Use the following four tips to find the frames that work best for your style.

Face Shape

Is your face round, oval, square, diamond or heart-shaped? The shape of your face will help you determine which frames enhance your look.

  • Round Face: Eyeglass frames that are square or rectangular tend to be wider than a round face. This quality can enhance your face by making it appear slimmer and longer, adding balance to your round features.
    Frames to Avoid: Rimless frames, round frames and small frames will accentuate the roundness, making your round face look even rounder.
  • Oval Face: Frames that suit an oval face have a strong bridge, are wider than the broadest part of the face and are geometric in shape.
    Frames to Avoid: Eyeglasses that are overlarge and cover up more than half of your face will throw off the natural balance and symmetry of the oval face.
  • Square Face: Eyeglasses that soften the angularity and sit high on the bridge of the nose look best on square faces. Oval or round eyeglasses will balance and add a thinner appearance to the angles of a square face.
    Frames to Avoid: Angular and boxy eyeglass frames will sharpen and draw attention to your angular features, making a square face appear bulky.
  • Diamond Face: Play up a narrow forehead and chin with eyeglass frames what sweep up or are wider than the cheekbones, such as cat eye glasses and oval frames. These frames will accentuate your cheekbones and delicate features.
    Frames to Avoid: Boxy and narrow frames will accentuate the width of your cheeks, drawing attention to your narrow features rather than enhancing them.
  • Heart-Shaped Face: Frames that balance the width of the forehead with the narrowness of the chin are ideal. Eyeglasses with low-set temples and bottom heavy frame lines will add width to that narrower part of your face. Round eyeglasses or square eyeglasses with curved edges will help draw attention away from a broad, high forehead.
    Frames to Avoid: Steer clear of any style or color of frames that draws attention to the forehead. This includes frames with decorative temples or embellished tops.

The key to finding the right frames is to remember that opposites attract. Select eyeglasses that contrast from your facial contours and bring symmetry and balance to your prominent features. At Eyeconicyou can try on hundreds of eyeglass frames virtually to see which styles complement your appearance.

Consider Colors That Match Your Skin Tone

Just as the shape of your face helps determine which frames look best, so does your skin tone. More important than hair color and more decisive than eye color, skin tone sets the tone for high fashion frames. Select a shade closest to your skin tone:

  • Warm Skin Tone
    If you have a yellow, bronze or golden cast to your skin, you have a warm complexion. Stay away from contrasting colors such as pastels. White and black frames are not flattering either. Instead, the best frame colors for you are light tortoise, browns shades, gold or honey, beige, and olive green.
  • Cool Skin Tone
    If your skin has pink or blue undertones, you have a cool complexion. Avoid colors that wash you out and instead reach for frames that are silver, black, dark tortoise, pink, purple, blue, mauve and gray.


What’s Your Lifestyle?

There are eyeglass frames for every way of life! Think about the activities you will do while wearing your eyeglasses. If you’re active, Eyeconic offers Flexon frames which can twist and bend without breaking. Need gaming glasses? Gamers can choose from a wide selection of stylish frames that enhance the gaming experience. When impressing the big wigs at the office, you can accessorize your business savvy with sensible style. At Eyeconicyou’ll find frames with a functionality that matches your lifestyle.

Fit Frames to Your Personality?

The frames you wear can say a lot about your personality. You can have a pair of glasses that showcase your fun loving side on the weekends and a pair that emphasizes your get down to business tone during the week. Adorn your face with your favorite color (as long as it doesn’t clash with your skin tone) or detailed embellishments and flare. Choose either one style of frames to express your personality or have a small collection of frames on hand to easily alter your appearance to suit your mood.

Now that you’re equipped with the know-how, try the virtual try-on feature in the Frame Gallery to see which frames complement you or shop Eyeconic.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/how-to-choose-glasses

Digitally Customized Lenses: It’s High-Definition for Your Eyes

Think about the first time you saw high-definition television. Remember how it made your old analog TV picture seem drab and blurry? High-definition made colors brighter, shapes sharper, and brought everything keenly into focus. Now imagine having the same experience with your eyeglasses. Sure, you can probably see fine with the ones you have, just like watching analog TV was fine when that was all you had.

But what if you could upgrade to high-definition for your eyes?

Free-form Technology

The newest lens technology will change the way you see—forever.

It’s called “free-form,” a digital manufacturing process that uses computer-aided design and surfacing to create high-level, customized eyeglass lenses with your unique prescription.

Think of it as a tailor for your eyes. Just like you can take an off-the-rack pair of pants and have it customized to fit your specific measurements, you can now have lenses made customized for your specific prescription and frames.

Benefits of Customized Free-form Lenses

Free-form technology is the next revolution in vision correction. In addition to the improved visual clarity that customized free-form lenses provide, you can expect:

  • Exceptional night/low light vision: Free-form lenses can reduce glare and halo effects caused by light sources at night, such as car headlights.
  • Exceptional contrast perception: Free-form lenses can sharpen vision.
  • Exceptional color vision: Free-form lenses can maximize the optics built into your lenses, providing brighter and more intense colors.

While everyone can benefit to a certain extent from customized lenses, people with complex prescriptions and progressive wearers will notice the greatest visual improvements.

Getting Your High-Definition Eyeglasses: The Step-by-Step Process

Step 1: The Prescription
Your eyes are digitally scanned by specialized equipment that collects a number of data points on each eye. This data helps the equipment’s software find the prescription that will not only account for your refractive error, but also the unique variations in the shape and surface of your eyes. The resulting prescription provides the best balance of vision, including improved night vision.

Step 2: Optimizing Your Lenses to Your Fit and Frames
Once you select your frame, several new measurements are made, including how close the frame sits to the front of your eye, how the frame wraps around your face, and even how you tilt your head. These customized measurements ensure that when you wear your new high-tech glasses, your prescription will be as clear as it was meant to be.

Step 3: Manufacturing
Your order is sent to a lab where your lenses are created on a computer-driven, free-form generator. The generator can read and respond to your new, high-tech prescription written to 1/100th of a diopter. The lenses are created to account for variations in your eyes across the surface of the lens. This may not only help you see better, but help you see better across more of your lens.

Ask your VSP network doctor if you can benefit from free-form technology and take your vision to the next level!

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/digital-lenses

It can happen to anyone; even to those who have never experienced vision problems. Near vision begins to blur, and that ebook, menu, or cell phone needs to be held at arm’s length in order to focus on it clearly. It’s called presbyopia and comes with aging. Our eyes get less flexible and less capable of focusing up close.

The good news is presbyopia can be treated easily with progressive lenses. Also referred to as “no-line” bifocals, progressive lenses pack a vision-correcting punch, taking care of near vision, far vision and everything in between.

We talked with an expert, Lesley Walls, O.D., M.D., to get a clearer view of progressive lenses.

Progressives versus bifocals – what’s the difference? 

With progressives you get smooth, continuous vision at near, middle, and distant focal ranges, with no lines or unsettling image jumps. Bifocals, on the other hand, correct near and distant vision only. There’s a visible line between the two fields of vision. That’s what creates an often-annoying image jump when you go from one distance to another.

Do people get better vision with progressive lenses? 

Not necessarily better, but more natural, for sure. Transitions from one distance to another will be uninterrupted, and you’ll see clearly across all visual areas. When you’re driving, for example, you’ll be able to read a map, the mileage on your dashboard, or the signs on the highway – all in one smooth sequence.

Are progressives hard to get used to? 

They can be – to varying degrees for different people. When you first wear them, you may experience a short period of distortion or wobbliness in your vision until you get used to them. For some people, it only takes a few minutes, others, a few days. There are some where it can take a couple weeks, too.

What are the different types of progressives? 

Some have wider or narrower fields of vision. If you do a lot of work at close range, such as bookkeeping, needlework or reading, your near field of vision may be wider to meet those needs. If you work at a computer, on the other hand, the mid-range “corridor” that is characteristic of progressives may be larger. Your eye doctor will help you find the right kind for your lifestyle and habits.

Are progressive lenses expensive? 

They tend to be more expensive than other multifocal lenses, but most people who wear them say the natural and clear field of vision is worth the extra cost.

Do I need a special frame style with progressive lenses? 

Lens designs today are more compact, so you can choose small, stylish frame designs.

Are there alternatives to wearing progressive lenses? 

Besides progressives and bifocals, there are also trifocal lenses or bifocal contacts. Like progressives, trifocals offer three fields of vision, but have two visible segment lines that mean a double image jump. New designs in bifocal contact lenses are also an alternative. Another option is monovision in which one eye is corrected with a contact lens for distance vision and the other eye with a contact for near vision.

If you have difficulty focusing on close objects, ask your eye doctor if progressive lenses are right for you.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/progressive-lenses-eye-doctor

LASIK and Vision Surgery

Common laser eye surgeries such as LASIK and PRK are no longer for a brave few. A million-plus Americans choose to have laser eye surgery each year to correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, presbyopia or astigmatism. But what exactly happens during the surgery?

All laser eye surgeries are performed while the patient is awake and reclining. At the start of the procedure the surgeon applies anesthetic drops to numb the eyes and places a lid speculum over each eye to keep them open during the surgery.

Once the eyes are prepared, the surgeon uses a microkeratome (a precision instrument with an oscillation blade) or laser to create a flap in the surface of the cornea. The flap is lifted and folded back so the surgeon can direct the laser into the cornea, sculpting the tissue and removing cells according to the patient’s unique prescription. (During this part of the procedure, it’s normal to smell an odor and hear a clicking noise.) The flap is then placed back into position to act like a “bandage” that allows for accelerated healing. The whole procedure takes about thirty minutes or less.

After the laser eye surgery is complete, vision is generally quite blurry, and patients may feel a slight irritation similar to the feeling of an eyelash in the eye. Prescription eye drops that prevent inflammation and infection are usually provided to help with this. Clear vision generally returns the night of the surgery or the next day. Laser eye surgery patients should plan to have someone drive them home from their appointment.

It is important to rest after the surgery. Healing is usually very rapid with noticeable vision improvement within a few days. Follow-up appointments throughout the next year are key to tracking the healing process and measuring the prescription changes.

For more detailed information about laser eye surgery, schedule a consultation with a laser vision doctor.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/laser-eye-surgeries

A little more than three years ago, I decided I was ready for LASIK surgery. I’d been wearing glasses and contacts since my sophomore year of high school, and decided I was ready for a change. My VSP network eye doctor performed LASIK on both eyes, and I was so happy with the results. I kept telling all my friends and family, “I wish I had done this twenty years ago!” LASIK was my new BFF.

After my procedure, I got a bit lazy and stopped going in for regular eye exams. Side note: when you work for a vision care company, this really isn’t something you’re supposed to admit. I was seeing well enough to drive, watch TV, and do work on my computer screen so I didn’t see the need to see my eye doctor.

A year passed, then two, then three, without getting an eye exam. As I found out, this is a terrible strategy. Eye exams cover a lot more than just your vision. Eye doctors also check for signs of diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and the overall health of your eyes. I decided it was time to step up to the plate and get back on track with my eye exams. I made an appointment at a Premier Program location with a VSP network eye doctor just around the corner from where I live and had my first eye exam since 2015. I decided to go to a Premier Program location because I knew they had extra savings and exclusive offers to help save me money.

And guess what? I’m really glad I scheduled the appointment. As it turns out, I still need a bit of vision correction even after LASIK, so I was able to choose a cool new pair of glasses. I was really impressed with the wide selection of designer frames the practice had to offer. My eye doctor recommended adding lenses that filter blue light since I sit at a computer most of the day. She also talked with me about my dry eye symptoms (which apparently are common post-LASIK) and offered me a few eye drop solutions to check out.

Lesson learned. Eye exams are important, every year, no matter where you are in life or how good you think your vision is. I won’t be skipping any future annual eye exams, and I’d encourage others to stay on course with their own eye health.

You can learn more about scheduling your annual eye exam at a Premier Program location.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/eye-exams-after-lasik

Most people have heard of LASIK, but did you know there are variations of LASIK eye surgery? One method may suit your vision correction needs better than another; your eye doctor and surgeon will determine the best course of action to meet your vision correction needs. Read on to learn about the various laser surgeries available, then make an appointment with a laser vision doctor to discuss which option is right for you.

LASIK Eye Surgery 

LASIK (Laser-In-Situ Keratomileusis) can correct common vision problems to decrease or eliminate dependency on contact lenses or eyeglasses. It’s the most well-known refractive surgery. More than 12 million people have had LASIK eye surgery to correct various vision disorders such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism.

An ophthalmologist performs the LASIK eye surgery using a femtosecond laser or mechanical cutting tools (microkeratome) to create a circular flap in the outer layer of the cornea. The newly exposed underlying corneal tissue is then reshaped by an excimer laser. The flap is put back in place and acts as a natural “bandage.” The procedure lasts about ten minutes per eye and recovery time can be as short as a few days to several weeks. Get the low down on what happens during a LASIK procedure.

Bladeless LASIK

All-laser LASIK is known as bladeless LASIK since the mechanical cutting tools used to create a circular flap in the outer layer of the cornea are replaced by a femtosecond laser. While recent improvements in microkeratome have made blade LASIK safer, bladeless LASIK generally has fewer complications.

Bladeless technology enables the surgeon to customize the corneal flap for every individual patient. Bladeless LASIK may make it possible to treat those who were previously dismissed as non-candidates due to thin corneas, dry eyes and extreme nearsightedness.

Custom LASIK

Custom LASIK offers many advantages that conventional LASIK does not. Using wavefront technology, precise and individualized vision correction may be achieved. Data provided from wavefront technology allows for treatment on tiny imperfections in the eye that can have a significant impact on one’s quality of vision. Imperfections are identified and measured 25 times more precisely than conventional LASIK. Using the data, a 3-D map of the patient’s eye guides the laser during the reshaping process for a customized procedure.

Custom LASIK eye surgery has the potential to provide better overall vision, including better night vision. There is also the potential for higher quality vision than is possible with eyeglasses or contacts, resulting in patients seeing clearer and sharper than ever before. Even post-LASIK side-effects such as glare and halos may be reduced. Everyone’s eyes have unique visual characteristics; Custom LASIK offers unique solutions for both patients and surgeons.

PRK Surgery

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a laser eye surgery that first debuted in 1986 … 13 years before the FDA approved LASIK. Like other commonly performed laser eye surgeries, PRK uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea and correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Unlike LASIK – which creates a flap in the outer layer of the cornea – PRK surgery removes the epithelium, the thin surface layer of the cornea in order to reshape the cornea. This method eliminates the risk of flap complications and reduces the risk of removing too much of the cornea. Most patients will benefit from Custom PRK, which provides your surgeon an additional level of data about your vision requirements using customized wavefront technology.

Recovery time after PRK surgery is slower than after LASIK eye surgery because the epithelial cells need to regenerate across the surface of the eye. Patients with large pupils, dry eyes, or thin corneas are good candidates for PRK surgery.

While laser eye surgery complications are relatively rare, procedures may pose risks for certain individuals. Discuss laser surgery applications and potential complications with your eye doctor and surgeon. They’ll ensure you get the right LASIK eye surgery that best suits your vision needs.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/lasik-eye-surgeries

Many myths about LASIK eye surgery have surfaced over the last 20 years. But as LASIK becomes more commonplace, those myths are finally being put to rest. Some of the more prevailing myths are debunked below. To learn more facts about LASIK and other laser eye surgeries, schedule an appointment with a laser vision doctor.

MYTH: Everyone is a candidate for LASIK.

FACT: Some patients don’t qualify for LASIK eye surgery. LASIK is not the best option for patients with thin or irregular corneas, eye diseases or eye viruses. Poor health problems, such uncontrolled diabetes or autoimmune disease, may increase risks of poor outcomes. For more information, visit Are You a Good Candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?

MYTH: LASIK is painful.

FACT: LASIK eye surgery is painless. Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye during the procedure. After the procedure, patients describe discomfort such as a gritty sensation in the eye for a few hours. Most people, however, experience very little discomfort and require nothing more than aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve any irritation.

MYTH: LASIK can cause blindness.

FACT: There have been no confirmed cases of LASIK blinding anyone. However, serious complications have occurred but are extremely rare. During the pre-operative consultation and exam, the eye doctor can review all potential risks with the patient as well as determine whether the patient is a good LASIK candidate.

MYTH: The laser can burn your eyes.

FACT: All laser eye surgeries, including LASIK, use “cold” lasers that will not burn the surface of the eye.

MYTH: Once you have LASIK eye surgery, you won’t need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses ever again.

FACT: Even if you’ve had LASIK eye surgery, normal vision changes with time and age. This change may require the need for reading glasses or the need to wear prescription eyeglasses for driving at night. It’s important that you continue to have routine eye examinations to maintain your eye health.

MYTH: Long-term side effects from LASIK eye surgery have yet to be discovered.

FACT: Laser eye surgery was first developed in the early 1980s. Since then, millions of patients have had LASIK eye surgery. To date, no long-term side effects of the procedure have been documented.

MYTH: All LASIK outcomes are the same, so it doesn’t matter which doctor performs the surgery.

FACT: An essential element in the success of any surgical procedure is the surgeon’s skill. This is where it pays to do your homework – spend some time researching surgeons in your area and look at things like how long they’ve been performing LASIK eye surgery, their success record of visual outcomes, and their willingness to provide patient references.

MYTH: The cheapest LASIK eye surgery is no different than the most expensive one.

FACT: Your precious eyes are not worth a cheap compromise. LASIK centers that advertise below average costs may be cutting out patient screening and essential pre- and post-operative care. The surgeons may also be less skilled at centers that offer low cost LASIK eye surgery. Remember, you get what you pay for. Be sure your eyes are getting the best care possible.

Don’t let LASIK fears and myths keep you from enjoying better vision. Find a doctor and discuss any concerns, you may have.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/lasik-facts

Sunglasses

Choosing a sunglass lens color is easy when you match up your lifestyle and favorite activities with the features and benefits each lens color provides. Use the lens tint guide below to discover the perfect lens colors that can elevate your sports performance, enhance your leisure activities, or complement your savvy fashion sense.

Polarized Lenses

Whether you love being on the water or in the snow, reduce sun glare and reflection with polarized lenses. Increase visual clarity and protect your eyes from UV rays.

Mirrored Coating

For a high-fashion look in multiple colors, try a mirror coating. This ultra-sleek look reduces glare and helps prevent eye fatigue.

Shades of Gray Tint

Gray sunglass lenses are a very popular lens tint because they are suitable on both cloudy and sunny days, providing anti-fatigue benefits and overall protection from glare – especially glare shining off water and wet roads. They are a perfect choice for outdoor activities, including cycling, fishing, and active sports. And for nature lovers, gray lenses have the added benefit of allowing the color of objects to be seen in their purest form.

  • Perfect for general, all-purpose use, including driving, baseball, tennis, football, soccer, water sports, and other outdoor activities
  • Anti-fatigue
  • True color perception
  • Dark enough to provide overall protection
  • Reduces glare, especially off water
  • Great for variable weather on sunny or overcast days


Blue Light Blocking Brown/Amber

The red hue in brown and amber sunglass lenses improve depth perception making these lenses great for activities where distance needs to be judged. They’re not recommended on cloudy days or in low-light conditions, but you’ll benefit from your amber sunglass lenses in sunny conditions comforting your eyes and heightening contrast against green landscapes and blue skies. Think of putting on this pair when you’re on the putting green or sailing on the deep blue.

  • Enhances contrast
  • Great for variable conditions
  • Improves depth perception
  • Perfect for driving, racing, golfing, and fishing


Get into the Green Scene

Green sunglass lenses can do what gray and brown lenses can do, but better! Sunglasses with green lenses provide better contrast than gray lenses and transmit color accuracy better than brown lenses. Ideal for both sunny and low-light environments, green lenses have a way of reducing glare while brightening shadows. Perfect for water or field sports, cycling or skiing, these lenses protect and comfort your eyes on foggy, cloudy, or bright, sunshiny days.

  • Perfect for any outdoor activity, in rain or shine
  • Transmits all colors evenly
  • Good for general purpose use
  • Dims glare while brightening shadows


Say Hello to Yellow Lenses

From baseball players to target shooters, yellow lens tints can be spotted on outdoor enthusiasts who may find themselves having to focus their eyes on moving objects in low-light, hazy conditions. Yellow lenses provide greater clarity, perfect for pilots, and can also reduce eye strain for computer users and gaming fans. Whether you spend your leisure time in front of a screen, on the tennis courts, or the shooting range, you’ll enjoy greater clarity and comfort with yellow tinted sunglasses.

  • Perfect for skiing, mountain biking, hunting, aviation, tennis, and target shooting
  • Provides greater clarity in fog, haze, and other low-light conditions
  • Filters out blue light that can cause eye strain
  • May cause color distortion


Blue Sunglass Lenses

Blue or purple lenses are both fashion-savvy and practical for UV protection. While the blue tint enhances the contours around objects and improves color perception, it also can have a calming effect on the eyes. Wear blue lenses to reduce glare during snowy conditions, while enjoying water sports, or enjoying sunny leisure activities. Whether you’re out hitting the links on the golf course or enjoying a weekend on the snowy slopes, blue sunglass lenses will offer you several fashion and leisure benefits.

  • Perfect for spectator and golf
  • Reduces glare
  • Helps to see contours
  • Improves color perception
  • Fashionable and cosmetically appealing
  • Good in misty, foggy, and snowy conditions


Rockin’ Red Sunglass Lenses

Red or pink lens sunglasses comfort and help the eyes adjust to contrast. Winter sports fans hitting the slopes are often spotted sporting these rosy tinted lenses. Great for increasing depth of field and vision, these rose-tinted lenses provide enhanced driving visibility. A favorite lens tint among computer users and gamers, sunglasses with red lenses reduce eye strain by blocking blue light.

  • Enhances visual depth
  • Reduces eye strain
  • Provides good road visibility
  • Comforting to the eyes
  • Helps adjust contract
  • Good in most weather conditions, especially in snow

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/glasses-lenses/lens-enhancements/sunglass-lenses

For years, we’ve casually referred to sunglasses as “shades” – a nickname that reflects the laid-back, cool vibe that goes along with the look of sunglasses. After all, for many, sunglasses represent fashion, not health.

To those fashion focused folks, we say take a closer look at your sunglasses and read what Stephen Cohen, a VSP network doctor from Scottsdale, Arizona, has to say about the health benefits of wearing sunglasses.

“Sunglasses used to be more about looking stylish than about taking care of your vision, but not anymore,” says Dr. Cohen. “Today there’s increasing evidence that ultraviolet rays in sunlight can significantly increase your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.” Both conditions usually affect older people, and it’s no wonder since years and years of sun exposure leave their mark over time.

The doctor adds, “Because both conditions can threaten healthy vision, I recommend wearing sunglasses on sunny days year-round. Plus, you’ll experience better night vision when you wear sunglasses on sunny days.”

What to Look for when Choosing the Right Pair of Sunglasses

There are a few key things to look for when picking the right pair of sunglasses. “When buying sunglasses,” says Dr. Cohen, “make sure they carry a consumer-protection label stating they’re 99-100% UV-absorbent or provide UV absorption up to 400 nanometers (nm).

“Once you’ve eliminated the threat from UV light, you can focus on other issues, such as reducing glare and choosing a tint that will allow you to control the degree of brightness reaching your eyes.”

Here’s a rundown of other things to consider when picking the perfect pair of sunglasses:

  • Go big or wrap it: Bigger frames and lenses, and also wrap-around styles, give you more UV protection because they block peripheral rays.
  • Pick polar: Polarized lenses block out sunlight glare bouncing off windshields, pavement, and other smooth surfaces.
  • Consider color: Gray lenses are best. Why? They don’t change colors. Green and brown lenses are good too.
  • Purchase prescription shades: If you wear prescription glasses, why not add prescription sunglasses to your eyewear wardrobe?
  • Shade your specs: You can make your regular glasses into sunglasses. Look for clip-on or magnetic tinted lenses that can attach to your specs.
  • Automate: Ask your eye doctor about light-reactive lenses. They automatically get darker outside, then return to normal inside.

Visit a VSP network eye care professional for a wide selection of sunglasses and lens enhancements.

Already have an RX and prefer to shop online? Use your benefits at Eyeconic®, VSP’s in-network online retailer.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/how-to-choose-sunglasses

Nowadays, buying anything online with more than 2-day shipping is too long. A recipe that takes more than 30 minutes? Forget about it. Can’t watch the entire TV series at the click of a button? Not interested. Everywhere we look, life is all about the need for speed—so why should it be any different when it comes to your light-reactive lenses?

In the past, those who wore light-reactive lenses had to wait anywhere from seven to 10 minutes for their darkened lenses to go back to clear inside. Those days are over. Thanks to groundbreaking technology, SunSync Elite Light-Reactive Lenses change from dark to clear in seconds. Reheating leftovers takes longer than that!

We asked three light-reactive lens newbies to share their first experience with SunSync Elite, and they all mentioned their excitement over the ultra-fast fade-back speed. But that’s just the beginning of what makes these lenses the solution you’ve been waiting for.

Dr. Mei Fleming, VSP network eye doctor in Lafayette, Calif. and creator of Eye Like Fashion blog, personally took SunSync Elite for a spin. Here’s what she had to say:

Q: What was your first reaction to wearing SunSync Elite?
Dr. Fleming: I was very surprised at how fast SunSync Elite lenses turned from dark to clear. I’m used to other light-reactive lenses that take a long time to change so I was really impressed.

Q: What were you most excited about with SunSync Elite?
Dr. Fleming: I was most excited to see how my SunSync Elite lenses would hold up during a full day of strolling through the city. After having Easter brunch with my family, we decided to take a walk around San Francisco. I was carrying my 15-month old niece when we walked out of the restaurant and right as I thought about switching into my sunglasses, my SunSync Elite lenses had already darkened. As we strolled in and out of stores that afternoon, I didn’t notice when and how long it took for my lenses to darken or turn clear. It all happened very quickly and seamlessly. I loved not having to fumble through my purse and switch glasses all afternoon. It was especially nice not to feel like I was wearing sunglasses indoors.

Q: What are the benefits of SunSync Elite for patients?
Dr. Fleming: The nice thing about SunSync Elite is patients can avoid having their vision dimmed and darkened while waiting for their lenses to turn clear. The lenses also provide 100% UV protection and blue light filtration to reduce eye strain from the sun and digital devices.

Q: Why is it important to have lenses with both 100% UV protection and targeted blue light filtration?
Dr. Fleming: 100% UV protection is important 100% of the time as it may help to prevent cataracts, macular degeneration, ocular sunburns, and skin cancer. Blue light filtration is also important because all of our digital devices emit blue light, which can contribute to eye strain and fatigue.

Q: For what type of patient would you recommend this type of lens?
Dr. Fleming: I would recommend SunSync Elite to everyone. The convenience and how fantastic the technology is going from dark to clear lenses is something everyone can enjoy. This lens is especially great for patients who constantly move from indoors to outdoors and vice versa. They would also be a good fit for patients who have a tendency to lose their glasses or for those who don’t want to carry multiple pairs of eyewear. One consolidated pair of glasses eliminates fumbling around for, switching, and carrying multiple pairs of eyewear.

Q: What would you tell a patient who tried light-reactive lenses in the past but didn’t like them because they took too long to change?
Dr. Fleming: I used to warn my patients about the time it took for light-reactive lenses to go back to clear indoors. The technology in SunSync Elite, however, is completely different from older generation light-reactive lenses and offers a completely different experience.

Ready for your pair of SunSync Elite?
Be prepared this summer and ask your VSP network eye doctor about SunSync Elite and if it might be right for you.

This article is sponsored by SunSync Elite.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/eye-doctor-tries-sunsync-lenses

As the weather warms up, you may find yourself spending more time outside. To protect you and your family from the elements, sunglasses are a must!

UV Exposure and Eye Health

You’re exposed to more eye health risks than you may realize. UV rays are present year-round, yet many aren’t wearing sunglasses regularly. According to eyewear brand Maui Jim, even in the summer months, only 80% of consumers wear sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection is one of the easiest ways to reduce several eye health risks.

Sun damage can be harmful to your eye health and can put you at risk for a corneal sunburn, redness and irritation, and long-term effects like age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, blindness, and even eyelid skin cancer. In fact, 5-10 % of skin cancer occurs around the eyes.

People with lighter colored eyes have an increased risk for developing eye diseases related to UV exposure because more UV light can pass through the iris. For that reason, people with light colored eyes may also experience more light sensitivity than people with darker eyes.

And, don’t forget about the kids. Sunglasses are also important for kids as their eyes are still developing. Sun exposure from a young age can contribute to the development of eye disease later in life.

Choosing the Right Pair of Sunglasses

While style and comfort play a big role in choosing the right pair of sunglasses, the right lenses can also make a big difference. The first rule of thumb is to always choose sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection; but don’t be fooled, darker lenses don’t automatically offer more protection. Look for 100% UVA/UVB protection when you purchase from your VSP network eye doctor or eyeconic.com.

Different lens tints can be beneficial for different activities. Polarized sunglasses can also help reduce glare and reflection off surfaces like water. Did you know that Maui Jim sunglasses eliminate 99.9% of glare? Popular lens colors like gray and brown each serve a unique purpose. Gray lenses provide the truest color perception and are typically dark enough to feel comfortable in bright conditions, while brown lens tints can offer better depth perception. Learn more about benefits of different lens tints with this helpful lens color guide.

Larger lenses and wraparound style sunglasses also provide more coverage, and help protect the delicate skin around the eyes. They can also help block irritants like allergens from entering your eyes on windy days.

Starting Healthy Habits

Sun protection is important year-round and UV damage is cumulative within your lifetime. Wearing sunglasses daily when you head out the door is a stylish and easy way to support your eye health.Your VSP network eye doctor is a great resource for questions about sunglasses and protecting your eye health.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/frames-sunglasses/sunglasses-uv-protection

Polarized lenses not only reduce glare, they make images appear sharper and clearer, increasing visual clarity and comfort.

Why Polarized Lenses?

For all the benefits we receive from the sun, its light can pose serious vision problems. Sunlight reflecting off smooth water, snow or flat roads can create glare which is not only annoying but can often be dangerous. Blinding sun glare can cause accidents, snow blindness and can even sunburn your eyes. Long term exposure to sun glare has been known to cause cataracts. Thankfully, polarized lenses can shield you against the dangers of intense glare.

The Benefits of Polarized Sunglasses

A virtually invisible filter can be built into lenses to eliminate the amount of reflecting light that enters the eye. Polarized lenses not only reduce glare, they make images appear sharper and clearer, increasing visual clarity and comfort. Available for prescription and non-prescription sunglasses, polarized lenses can be worn indoors by light-sensitive people, including post-cataract surgery patients and those continually exposed to bright sunlight through windows.

Most polarized sunglasses provide UV protection which is important to maintaining healthy eye sight. Just as we put on sunscreen to protect our skin, it’s critical that we protect our eyes from UV rays too.

Enhancing Your Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses can be combined with other features to enhance vision, such as bifocal sunglasses and progressive lenses, and coatings like anti-reflective and anti-scratch. Visit a VSP network eye care professionalto add polarized sunglasses to your glare and UV defense arsenal. Your healthy eyes will thank you.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/polarized-sunglasses

Problems and Diseases

Everything You Need to Know About Glaucoma

Did you know that Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of vision loss and blindness? There are more than 3 million people affected by the disease in the U.S. today, and that number is expected to reach 4.2 million by 2030.

Glaucoma affects the nerves in the eye and can develop quickly. If not treated properly or promptly, the disease can result in vision loss. For those at risk of developing glaucoma, the American Optometric Association recommends an annual comprehensive eye exam.
Below are some common questions about the eye condition:

What are the main types?

Open-Angle:
Open-angle glaucoma is an imbalance in the production and drainage of the clear fluid that fills the eye between the cornea and iris. The fluid imbalance leads to pressure inside the eye that pushes against the optic nerve, depriving oxygen and nutrients and eventually causing irreversible damage.
Angle-Closure:
Angle-closure glaucoma is caused by a blocked drainage canal, resulting in a sudden rise in eye pressure that can develop very quickly. The symptoms and damage of this type may be more noticeable.

Can the disease be prevented?
While there are no known ways to prevent glaucoma, getting regular, comprehensive eye exams and consulting with your eye doctor if you notice any changes in your vision, can help identify the early warning signs of the eye condition. A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a nutritious diet is also recommended to help lower your risk.

Can it be treated?
Glaucoma can be treated 
with medication
 or surgery to slow or prevent further vision loss. However, vision already lost to the disease cannot be restored.

What are the risks factors and warning signs?

Risk Factors:

  1. Age: People over the age of 60 and African Americans over the age of 40
  2. Race: African Americans, people of Asian descent and Native Alaskans
  3. Family history of glaucoma
  4. Medical conditions: Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
  5. Physical injuries to the eye

Warning Signs:

  • Hazy or blurred vision
  • The appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
  • Severe eye and head pain
  • Nausea or vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain)
  • Sudden sight loss


Schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam if you’re concerned you might be at risk for Glaucoma.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/glaucoma-questions

Did you know that Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of vision loss and blindness?

There are more than 3 million people affected by the disease in the U.S. today, and that number is expected to reach 4.2 million by 2030.

Glaucoma affects the nerves in the eye and can develop quickly. If not treated properly or promptly, the disease can result in vision loss. For those at risk of developing glaucoma, the American Optometric Association recommends an annual comprehensive eye exam.

Below are some common questions about the eye condition:

What are the main types?

Open-Angle:

  • Open-angle glaucoma is an imbalance in the production and drainage of the clear fluid that fills the eye between the cornea and iris. The fluid imbalance leads to pressure inside the eye that pushes against the optic nerve, depriving oxygen and nutrients and eventually causing irreversible damage.

Angle-Closure:

  • Angle-closure glaucoma is caused by a blocked drainage canal, resulting in a sudden rise in eye pressure that can develop very quickly. The symptoms and damage of this type may be more noticeable.


Can the disease be prevented?

While there are no known ways to prevent glaucoma, getting regular, comprehensive eye exams and consulting with your eye doctor if you notice any changes in your vision, can help identify the early warning signs of the eye condition. A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a nutritious diet is also recommended to help lower your risk.

Can it be treated?

Glaucoma can be treated with medication or surgery to slow or prevent further vision loss. However, vision already lost to the disease cannot be restored.

What are the risks factors and warning signs?

Risk Factors:

  1. Age: People over the age of 60 and African Americans over the age of 40
  2. Race: African Americans, people of Asian descent and Native Alaskans
  3. Family history of glaucoma
  4. Medical conditions: Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
  5. Physical injuries to the eye


Warning Signs:

  • Hazy or blurred vision
  • The appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
  • Severe eye and head pain
  • Nausea or vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain)
  • Sudden sight loss


Schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam if you’re concerned you might be at risk for Glaucoma. Find a VSP network eye doctor near you.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/glaucoma-questions

Am I experiencing Ocular Migraines?

Most people are familiar with classic migraines, but ocular migraines are less well-known. An ocular migraine is a condition where the blood vessels in the optic nerve at the back of your eye tighten and swell, resulting in various visual distortions. While classic migraines usually result in intense headaches, sensitivity to light and loud sounds, or nausea, ocular migraines are not necessarily painful.

If you’ve never had an ocular migraine before, your first one can be frightening. Although sudden vision impairment can also be a sign of stroke or carotid artery disease, true ocular migraines don’t actually indicate or cause any damage to your eyes or brain. You can often tell if you’re about to experience one if you start to lose your ability to see the focal point of your vision. For example, you might be able to see a street sign but not be able to read the text on it. The onset of an ocular migraine can last anywhere from about three to eight minutes.

The aura stage, or “light show” as many sufferers call it, usually follows the onset. This stage affects more than just the focal point of your vision. You might see something that looks like a lightning bolt moving about in your peripheral and central vision. Some people compare this stage of an ocular migraine to looking through a kaleidoscope. Everything appears very fluid, and you can become quite disoriented. Retinal detachment displays similar “light shows,” only these types of light flashes typically last for only a split second and come in flurry form, rather than kaleidoscope form.

The causes of ocular migraines differ from person to person, and sometimes they are just unexplainable. Some say chocolate or caffeine triggers them, while others believe stress and certain medications are a factor. Still, other sufferers say they experience ocular migraines randomly. Once an ocular migraine has begun, it’s difficult and sometimes impossible to stop. The migraine aura typically disappears in about 30 to 40 minutes, and headaches (if you get them) come about 10 to 15 minutes after the aura stage.

My advice to those who suffer from ocular migraines is to just relax and enjoy the show. The more relaxed you can be, the better the odds are that you won’t bring on a stress-induced headache ‐ a common side effect ‐ when the show is over.

Other than that, just be aware of what’s happening and be sure to contact your primary care physician or eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the symptoms above.

This is a guest article by Matthew Alpert, O.D., who is the lead optometrist at Alpert Vision Care in Woodland Hills, CA.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/ocular-migraines

Did you know that cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss for individuals over the age of 40? In fact, according to Prevent Blindness America, there are more cases worldwide of this lens-clouding condition than glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy combined.

Fear not! No matter what your age, there are steps you can take to help prevent cataracts or slow their development. But don’t wait until your vision becomes affected to start thinking about cataracts—read on to discover a healthy tip you can tackle today!

1. Keep Your Vices in Check 

It’s no secret that cigarettes pose a litany of health risks to you and those around you. But did you know it affects your eye health too? “Research suggests that smoking increases your chances of developing cataracts,” explains Vivek Jain, MD, a VSP doctor at Beach Eye Care in Virginia Beach, VA. So, if you need another reason to put down the pack, think about the future of your vision.

Have plans to head out to happy hour this week? Just remember to enjoy your beer, wine, and cocktails in moderation. Like cigarettes, excess alcohol consumption can pose a number of health risks, one of which is an increased chance of developing cataracts.

2. Eat Right 

Studies suggest that those with diabetes are at greater risk for developing cataracts. That’s why maintaining healthy blood sugar is so important—for both your overall health, and the health of your vision.

But a healthy diet should be a priority for all of us. “We always encourage our patients to eat lots of leafy greens,” explains Dr. Jain. “Vitamin supplements are also a great way to make up for those nutrients we don’t get enough of in our diet.” Eating foods high in antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, selenium, and vitamins C and E may also help ward off cataract development.

3. Shade Your Eyes from the Sun 

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—protect yourself from UV rays and your eyes will thank you! “Ultraviolet light can hasten the formation of cataracts,” explains Dr. Jain, “even in younger patients.”

To reduce your exposure, wear a wide brimmed hat when spending time outdoors and always keep sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection close at hand in any season. If you need sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection, head over to Eyeconic where you can try on hundreds of sunglasses virtually.

4. Visit Your Eye Doctor 

Even if your vision is clear and healthy, make it a priority to schedule yearly eye exams. Routine visits allow your eye care professional to look for signs of cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other vision disorders. This early detection just may save your sight!

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/cataracts-prevention

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) is an accumulation of fluid in the macula part of the retina that controls our most detailed vision abilities—due to leaking blood vessels. In order to develop DME, you must first have diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a disease that damages the blood vessels in the retina, resulting in vision impairment. Left untreated, these blood vessels begin to build up pressure in the eye and leak fluid, causing DME. DME usually takes on two forms:

  • Focal DME, which occurs because of abnormalities in the blood vessels in the eye.
  • Diffuse DME, which occurs because of widening/swelling retinal capillaries (very thin blood vessels).


Diabetic Retinopathy and DME are common problems for diabetics. Roughly 8% of the U.S. population is diabetic, and about 28% of those diabetics have eye trouble because of it.

DME Risk Factors

  • Those who have had diabetes for an extended amount of time
  • Severe hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Fluid retention
  • Hypoalbuminemia (low levels of protein in body fluids)
  • Hyperlipidemia (high levels of fats in the blood)


DME Symptoms

Common symptoms of DME are blurry vision, floaters, double vision, and eventually blindness if it goes untreated.

Treatments for DME

The treatments for focal and diffuse DME differ, but they both involve laser procedures. Most doctors use focal laser treatment to treat focal DME and grid laser treatment to treat diffuse DME. The goal of both kinds of procedures is to stop the leakage in the macula.

DME Procedure Recovery

Normal recovery time after a DME procedure is 3-6 months. As the eye heals and the swelling in and around the macula subsides, you may experience sensitivity to light, irritation in the eye, and black spots in the center of your vision. These are normal side effects, and they will likely disappear with time. Unfortunately, laser surgery does not always provide improved vision to those with DME.

Prevention

Sometimes, there is nothing you can do to prevent diabetic retinopathy or DME, but your best chance at avoiding them comes by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, eating lots of vegetables and fruit, and visiting your eye doctor at least once a year to stay on top of your eye health.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/diabetic-macular-edema

There’s the old saying, when one door shuts, another one opens.  For a retired guy and avid golfer, the door that shut was sight in his left eye. The door that opened: a big clue into a big-time cardiovascular problem.

Ken Calderwood, retired aircraft parts supervisor in Lawndale, California, is a pretty tall guy. At 6’2”, he usually feels bigger than most things around him. But that day on the golf course, he probably felt pretty helpless – and disoriented. Just as he was about to putt, the nine-handicap golfer suddenly couldn’t see out of his left eye.

He remembers, “Everything went dark in that eye – like a window shade had been pulled over it.”

Naturally, he was scared. Ken dropped his putter right there on the green. He squinted. He blinked. He tried to reassure himself as anxiety took hold. The “blindness” lasted only about two minutes, but it seemed like forever. Shaken, he resumed his game.

But later, he did a smart thing – he told his wife Laura about the mysterious episode. And then, Laura did a smart thing too. She insisted her husband make a beeline to their friend and eye doctor, Sandra Horwitz, OD.

Come morning, Ken was sitting in the exam chair. But he wasn’t there long. Instead, at the urgent insistence of Dr. Horwitz, he was on his way to his medical doctor. That’s because Ken’s eye doctor knew immediately how serious the sudden and brief vision loss could be.

Dr. Horwitz recalls, “As soon as I heard Ken’s story and examined his eyes, I suspected that his temporary loss of vision might be a symptom of a blockage in a blood vessel – probably in one of the carotid arteries that run down both sides of the neck and supply blood to the brain.”

At his medical doctor’s office, Ken shared once again the details of the strange event. A quick ultrasound was all it took to reveal the real story: both of Ken’s carotid arteries were 90% blocked. The classic build-up of fatty tissues had given its first clue through Ken’s eyes.

Fast forward a few hours and Ken found himself getting prepped for emergency surgery. A few weeks later, a second operation finished the clean-up job.

“My surgery took place back in February of 2001,” says Ken today, “and I haven’t had any problems with my vision since. I’m 67 now, and my golf game is strong as ever – thanks to Dr. Horwitz, who’s a terrific eye doctor and a great friend.

“I’m a big guy, and Sandy’s barely five feet tall. Whenever I tell people how that exam uncovered my health problem, I call her ‘the little eye doctor who saved my life!’”

For Dr. Horwitz, Ken’s ordeal is just another reason why eye exams are important – to your eyes, and your life. Don’t wait to schedule your next appointment.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/vision-loss

There’s the old saying, when one door shuts, another one opens.  For a retired guy and avid golfer, the door that shut was sight in his left eye. The door that opened: a big clue into a big-time cardiovascular problem.

Ken Calderwood, retired aircraft parts supervisor in Lawndale, California, is a pretty tall guy. At 6’2”, he usually feels bigger than most things around him. But that day on the golf course, he probably felt pretty helpless – and disoriented. Just as he was about to putt, the nine-handicap golfer suddenly couldn’t see out of his left eye.

He remembers, “Everything went dark in that eye – like a window shade had been pulled over it.”

Naturally, he was scared. Ken dropped his putter right there on the green. He squinted. He blinked. He tried to reassure himself as anxiety took hold. The “blindness” lasted only about two minutes, but it seemed like forever. Shaken, he resumed his game.

But later, he did a smart thing – he told his wife Laura about the mysterious episode. And then, Laura did a smart thing too. She insisted her husband make a beeline to their friend and eye doctor, Sandra Horwitz, OD.

Come morning, Ken was sitting in the exam chair. But he wasn’t there long. Instead, at the urgent insistence of Dr. Horwitz, he was on his way to his medical doctor. That’s because Ken’s eye doctor knew immediately how serious the sudden and brief vision loss could be.

Dr. Horwitz recalls, “As soon as I heard Ken’s story and examined his eyes, I suspected that his temporary loss of vision might be a symptom of a blockage in a blood vessel – probably in one of the carotid arteries that run down both sides of the neck and supply blood to the brain.”

At his medical doctor’s office, Ken shared once again the details of the strange event. A quick ultrasound was all it took to reveal the real story: both of Ken’s carotid arteries were 90% blocked. The classic build-up of fatty tissues had given its first clue through Ken’s eyes.

Fast forward a few hours and Ken found himself getting prepped for emergency surgery. A few weeks later, a second operation finished the clean-up job.

“My surgery took place back in February of 2001,” says Ken today, “and I haven’t had any problems with my vision since. I’m 67 now, and my golf game is strong as ever – thanks to Dr. Horwitz, who’s a terrific eye doctor and a great friend.

“I’m a big guy, and Sandy’s barely five feet tall. Whenever I tell people how that exam uncovered my health problem, I call her ‘the little eye doctor who saved my life!’”

For Dr. Horwitz, Ken’s ordeal is just another reason why eye exams are important – to your eyes, and your life. Don’t wait to schedule your next appointment.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/vision-loss

High levels of pollen, mold, dust, and other irritants can make for miserable eyes! These airborne allergens may be the primary culprit of watery, itchy eyes, but relief may be closer than you think.

If allergens are making you weepy, your eyes are telling you something. “Pay attention to your eyes,” explains Amy Treski, OD, a VSP network doctor at Optique Boutique in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. “Itching, redness, and swelling of the eyes and eyelids, are common allergy symptoms—itching being the most uncomfortable and swelling the most persistent symptom.” For some immediate relief on days when your allergies are mild, try some do-it-yourself remedies.

DIY Remedies for Mild Cases 

  • Keep the windows shut in your car and home—especially in the early morning hours when pollination tends to occur.
  • Wear wrap-around glasses or sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.
  • Place a cold compress over your eyes to soothe discomfort.
  • Use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to flush out any irritants.
  • Try an over-the-counter remedy like allergy eye drops, oral antihistamines, or other medication for mild allergies.


Did You Know? 

Contact lens wearers should wait at least 15 minutes after using any allergy eye drops before putting in lenses.

It’s important to note that allergy eye drops can offer immediate relief, but with long-term use, they can weaken blood vessels in your eyes and make your eyes redder.

What to Do for Severe Allergies 

Prescription drops may be the answer if you suffer from allergies with persistent, moderate to severe symptoms. “There are prescription medications that have a dual action of a mast cell stabilizer and an antihistamine—this blocks the effect of allergens and quickly relieves itching to offer long-lasting relief,” says Dr. Treski.

Dr. Treski suggests visiting your VSP network doctor if allergy symptoms are prolonged or get worse. Your doctor will be able to determine if what you’re experiencing is caused by seasonal allergies or other irritants.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/watery-eyes

The symptoms of farsightedness and presbyopia are similar, but these two conditions aren’t the same thing. Both can lead to headaches, eye strain, overall fatigue, and trouble seeing things up close, but the reasons behind these symptoms are different.

Farsightedness, or hyperopia, occurs when an irregularly-shaped eye prevents light from properly lining up with the retina. The result is that it’s hard to see things close up. People of any age, including babies, can be farsighted.

Presbyopia is an age-related condition in which the lens of the eye becomes less flexible. Seeing details like words in a book or an online article or adjusting focus between far-away and nearby objects is difficult. This condition is most common in people between the ages of 40 and 50. To learn more about presbyopia, read Presbyopia: The 40-something Eyesight Challenge.

There’s no fail-safe way to prevent farsightedness or presbyopia. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting yearly eye exams are the best ways to guard against eye trouble, but sometimes, there’s just no way to get around it. Thankfully, there are very effective ways to treat both of these conditions.

Your VSP network doctor can prescribe corrective lenses to improve your near vision and your ability to transition between far-away and nearby objects. If you’re farsighted, your eye doctor will likely prescribe lenses that change the way light comes into the eye. Laser surgery may be another option for treating farsightedness.

The most common way to treat presbyopia is with bifocals or progressive lenses but reading glasses and multifocal contact lenses are two other options.

See your eye doctor if you think you might be farsighted or presbyopic so you can work together to find the best solution for your eyes.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/presbyopia-farsighted

Every time you blink, your healthy eyes get a bath from a fluid that’s a combination of oil, water, and mucus. This fluid, or tears, helps protect and moisturize the eyes. When something irritates your eyes or interferes with the production of tears, it can result in irritated dry eyes that are vulnerable to corneal abrasions.

Dry eyes are actually very common. More than 20 million Americans suffer from this annoying and sometimes painful condition. If you think you have dry eyes, check out some of these common symptoms and possible causes. Once you understand the culprit, you can begin to make changes to relieve your burning eyes, once and for all.

Symptoms of Dry Eyes: 

  • Dry, itchy, or burning eyes
  • A scratching sensation, or feeling like there’s grit in the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light causing squinting and blinking
  • Difficulty focusing because of dryness
  • Both eyes are usually affected
  • Watery eyes (a little-known fact!)


How to Treat Dry Eyes: 

  • Avoid drafts and use a humidifier to put moisture back into dry air.
  • If allergies are causing your eyes to itch and dry out, try lubricating, preservative-free eye drops formulated for people with allergies.
  • Check the side effects of your medications. If you’re taking one that causes dry eyes, your doctor may need to change your prescription, or she may recommend that you begin using eye drops to lubricate your eyes.
  • Don’t wear your contacts for too long, keep them clean, and always wash your hands before handling them.
  • Take frequent breaks from computer work or reading, and keep your eyes lubricated by remembering to blink often.
  • Turn off ceiling fans when possible.
  • Lay a warm, damp washcloth across your eyelids for a couple minutes.
  • Ask your VSP network doctor about punctal plugs which block tears from draining from the eye.


Helpful Tips: 

  • For a refreshing sensation, cool your eye drops in the refrigerator about an hour before using them.
  • Check expiration dates on your eye drops.
  • Never share eye drops.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes from wind and sun.
  • Take an omega-3 fatty-acid supplement; shown to restore lipids-they’re a key component of tears.


Common Causes of Dry Eyes: 

  • Dry air caused by indoor heaters
  • Allergies
  • Some medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, and birth-control pills
  • Poor fitting or dirty contacts
  • Long hours spent reading or staring at a computer screen
  • Blocked tear ducts
  • For more details on what causes dry eyes, read Why Are My Eyes So Dry?


With a few simple changes you could begin to notice a real improvement. If after one month your eyes are still bothering you, make sure to see your eye doctor—severe cases can lead to eye damage and vision loss. During your eye exam, your doctor can check for vision problems and signs of health conditions that could be causing your dry eyes. An accurate diagnosis is important because symptoms of dry eye can be caused by other things like allergies or uncorrected refractive error or astigmatism.

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Michelle Calder-Cardwell, owner and lead optometrist at Urban Optiques Vision & Eyewear in Northville, MI. 

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/dry-eyes-treatment

Many a 40-something guy or gal has experienced that seemingly sudden shortening of the arms. No, the arms don’t actually shrink, but somehow, they don’t seem long enough to get that newspaper or book far enough away to read. That’s how the actual condition of age-related farsightedness (where you can’t see very well close-up), or presbyopia, also got the nickname “long-arm sight.” Or maybe you’ve heard it referred to as TMB syndrome – too many birthdays.

Okay, so maybe if you’re in that 40-something group, none of this is humorous at all. Another sign of aging never is! If you’ve gone your whole life without needing glasses, the news that you do can be especially surprising and a bit shocking.

But it’s a completely normal part of aging. Dennis Wilcoxon, O.D., of St. Petersburg, Florida, explains more.

“The term presbyopia comes from a Greek word meaning ‘old eye,’ and it describes a predictable process in which the lens of the eye gradually becomes rigid and inflexible over time,” says Dr. Wilcoxon. “For most people, the process becomes noticeable somewhere between 38 and 42 years of age. At that point, the muscles that control the focusing of the lens aren’t able to control it as effectively, and we begin losing our ability to focus on nearby objects, such as the daily newspaper.”

While prevention is the order of the day in healthcare, it won’t help with this aging process. But correction is usually easy – if a little damaging to the ego. For people who have existing vision correction needs, the most common treatment calls for bifocal or progressive glasses or contacts. For newbies to the vision correction world, reading glasses may be the ticket.

It’s not hard to figure out if you might be developing presbyopia. “The symptoms are pretty easy to identify,” says Dr. Wilcoxon. “One common symptom is the gradual realization that you have to hold reading materials farther away from your eyes than you used to. Another sign is eyestrain when you’re doing close-up work, or the need for more light in order to read.”

The doctor continues, “This is a progressive condition, which means that it will gradually worsen over time.  But patients can rest assured that its effects are easily treatable. During regular annual checkups, your eye care doctor can accurately measure your near vision and prescribe glasses or contacts that will compensate for the loss of focusing ability.”

So, don’t let presbyopia cause added distress as you age.  It’s only natural! If you’re holding things farther away to see them, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor today.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/presbyopia

Many a 40-something guy or gal has experienced that seemingly sudden shortening of the arms. No, the arms don’t actually shrink, but somehow, they don’t seem long enough to get that newspaper or book far enough away to read. That’s how the actual condition of age-related farsightedness (where you can’t see very well close-up), or presbyopia, also got the nickname “long-arm sight.” Or maybe you’ve heard it referred to as TMB syndrome – too many birthdays.

Okay, so maybe if you’re in that 40-something group, none of this is humorous at all. Another sign of aging never is! If you’ve gone your whole life without needing glasses, the news that you do can be especially surprising and a bit shocking.

But it’s a completely normal part of aging. Dennis Wilcoxon, O.D., of St. Petersburg, Florida, explains more.

“The term presbyopia comes from a Greek word meaning ‘old eye,’ and it describes a predictable process in which the lens of the eye gradually becomes rigid and inflexible over time,” says Dr. Wilcoxon. “For most people, the process becomes noticeable somewhere between 38 and 42 years of age. At that point, the muscles that control the focusing of the lens aren’t able to control it as effectively, and we begin losing our ability to focus on nearby objects, such as the daily newspaper.”

While prevention is the order of the day in healthcare, it won’t help with this aging process. But correction is usually easy – if a little damaging to the ego. For people who have existing vision correction needs, the most common treatment calls for bifocal or progressive glasses or contacts. For newbies to the vision correction world, reading glasses may be the ticket.

It’s not hard to figure out if you might be developing presbyopia. “The symptoms are pretty easy to identify,” says Dr. Wilcoxon. “One common symptom is the gradual realization that you have to hold reading materials farther away from your eyes than you used to. Another sign is eyestrain when you’re doing close-up work, or the need for more light in order to read.”

The doctor continues, “This is a progressive condition, which means that it will gradually worsen over time.  But patients can rest assured that its effects are easily treatable. During regular annual checkups, your eye care doctor can accurately measure your near vision and prescribe glasses or contacts that will compensate for the loss of focusing ability.”

So, don’t let presbyopia cause added distress as you age.  It’s only natural! If you’re holding things farther away to see them, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor today.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/presbyopia

Ah, the wonderful world of genetics. There’s the classic “family nose,” the disarming blue eyes, or the shock of thick, curly hair at birth. True, some things run in families. What about vision problems?

Some do. Others tend to be influenced by environmental or other factors, says J.P. Lowery, O.D., M.Ed. Dr. Lowery is chief of pediatrics at Pacific University College of Optometry in Forest Grove, Oregon.

She says, “Nearsightedness and farsightedness have a strong genetic component, especially if a parent is very nearsighted or farsighted. If both parents are nearsighted or farsighted, there’s a good chance their child will be the same.”

But vision isn’t all in the genes, Dr. Lowery continues. “There are some significant environmental influences, such as near-point work like reading, that are associated with nearsightedness, especially when it develops later in the teens and 20s.” Some studies suggest that students who spend a lot of time reading develop nearsightedness more quickly than others do.

Some Genetically-Linked Eye Problems:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Farsightedness
  • Color vision deficiency (a.k.a., color blindness)
  • Retinitis pigmentosa, a rare progressive decline of the retina


Some Eye Problems that Have Mixed Causes:


Amblyopia and strabismus usually show up in very early childhood, and there’s great success treating them with patches, special eyewear, vision training and/or surgery.

If you’re curious about your family’s vision history and how it might impact your children, see an eye doctor. Dr. Lowery says, “As a pediatric eye specialist, I can tell you that many of the serious vision problems that young children develop could be prevented if all parents brought their babies in for routine eye exams at six months.” You might be surprised how easy an eye exam on an infant can be, but the right doctor with child-friendly tools can get it done in a snap.

Dr. Lowery recommends additional exams around 3 years old, then just before kindergarten. Yearly eye exams should continue for life.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-problems

Doctors use the term “hypertension” to describe the both general condition called high blood pressure as well as the specific condition called high intraocular pressure (IOP). Ocular hypertension is a condition where the pressure in your eyes, or your IOP, is too high. Continually high pressure within the eye can eventually damage the optic nerve and lead to glaucoma or permanent vision loss.

Some possible causes of ocular hypertension include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stress
  • Certain medications
  • A diet with excess salt, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, red meat, alcohol, and sugar
  • Eye trauma
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Other eye conditions
  • Heart disease


Other factors, such as age, race, and genetics, can also contribute to ocular hypertension. People over 40, African-Americans, and those with a family history of hypertension or glaucoma are at higher risk of having high IOP. Generally, women are more prone to develop hypertension than men, and men are more prone to develop glaucoma than women.

Ocular hypertension is a result of disruptions in the aqueous humour, the fluid substance that fills the anterior chamber of the eye and helps to keep the cornea functioning properly. If your eye produces too much aqueous or has trouble draining enough of it, your IOP will be high.

An eye doctor can detect high IOP and high blood pressure, in addition to other health conditions, during an eye exam just by looking at the blood vessels in the eye. Unfortunately, outside of getting an eye exam, there are usually no noticeable symptoms of ocular hypertension until it is too late to prevent damage. Without treatment, it can lead to bleeding in the eye, blurred vision, damage to the optic nerve, glaucoma, and vision loss.

If you find that your peripheral vision is becoming blurry, schedule a visit to your eye doctor immediately because this could be a sign of glaucoma. Although eye drops or prescription medications can’t reverse the effects of glaucoma, they can prevent the damage from getting worse. They can also help prevent hypertension from turning into glaucoma.

There is no guaranteed way to prevent hypertension, but maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and visiting your eye doctor at least once a year are all smart ways to guard against hypertension and other eye conditions.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/the-causes-of-hypertension

Most people are familiar with classic migraines, but ocular migraines are less well-known. An ocular migraine is a condition where the blood vessels in the optic nerve at the back of your eye tighten and swell, resulting in various visual distortions. While classic migraines usually result in intense headaches, sensitivity to light and loud sounds, or nausea, ocular migraines are not necessarily painful.

If you’ve never had an ocular migraine before, your first one can be frightening. Although sudden vision impairment can also be a sign of stroke or carotid artery disease, true ocular migraines don’t actually indicate or cause any damage to your eyes or brain. You can often tell if you’re about to experience one if you start to lose your ability to see the focal point of your vision. For example, you might be able to see a street sign but not be able to read the text on it. The onset of an ocular migraine can last anywhere from about three to eight minutes.

The aura stage, or “light show” as many sufferers call it, usually follows the onset. This stage affects more than just the focal point of your vision. You might see something that looks like a lightning bolt moving about in your peripheral and central vision. Some people compare this stage of an ocular migraine to looking through a kaleidoscope. Everything appears very fluid, and you can become quite disoriented. Retinal detachment displays similar “light shows,” only these types of light flashes typically last for only a split second and come in flurry form, rather than kaleidoscope form.

The causes of ocular migraines differ from person to person, and sometimes they are just unexplainable. Some say chocolate or caffeine triggers them, while others believe stress and certain medications are a factor. Still, other sufferers say they experience ocular migraines randomly. Once an ocular migraine has begun, it’s difficult and sometimes impossible to stop. The migraine aura typically disappears in about 30 to 40 minutes, and headaches (if you get them) come about 10 to 15 minutes after the aura stage.

My advice to those who suffer from ocular migraines is to just relax and enjoy the show. The more relaxed you can be, the better the odds are that you won’t bring on a stress-induced headache—a common side effect—when the show is over.

Other than that, just be aware of what’s happening and be sure to contact your primary care physician or eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the symptoms above.

This is a guest article by Matthew Alpert, O.D., who is the lead optometrist at Alpert Vision Care in Woodland Hills, CA.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/ocular-migraines

Sure, there are a lot more serious eye problems to have, but no one wants a stye in their eye, either. They’re unattractive and, much of the time, painful, too. If you’ve suffered from a stye before, you probably wonder how to treat it and why it developed in the first place. We got the facts about sties from VSP network doctor Jan McVey, OD.

The Why Behind the Stye 

It may seem strange, but even your eyelids have oil glands and sweat pores. And, sometimes, they can get plugged up. The blocked opening walls off the stuff inside. When that happens, it can get infected with bacteria and pus, and then you’ve got a stye.

Stye Timetable 

How long do sties last? Most get better in about a week, but some stubborn ones can hang on for months. The good thing is sties are a generally mild condition that eye doctors can easily treat. Dr. McVey has been serving Phoenix-area patients for over 25 years and reports complete success with treating sties. Even stubborn ones are treatable, though they don’t look or feel good.

Is a Stye in Your Eye? 

You’ll probably be able to tell by an inflamed spot on your eyelid. It can then puff up like a big pimple and comes with pain and irritation. But, never self-diagnose. These symptoms should be clue #1 to call your eye doctor.

What’s Underlying Sties 

A lot of things can cause a stye, and some are completely in your control. Thorough eye makeup removal is important to overall eyelid health and hygiene. But, sometimes, overactive oil glands can make it downright impossible for it all to escape skin tissue. And, in cases, a nasty inflammatory eyelid disease known as blepharitis can cause sties, too.

Stye Protocol 

Treating sties depends entirely on how serious the condition is. The first step, according to Dr. McVey, is to use a simple hot compress. Just soak a clean cloth in hot water and put it on your eye for about 10 minutes, four to five times a day – this can open up the blocked gland. But, if you don’t see improvement in a week or so, call your eye doctor for help – he or she might give you either topical or oral antibiotics. Surgery might even be in order to remove the blockage in the worst cases.

Goodbye to Sties

Dr. McVey says there is no sure-fire way to prevent sties, but basic cleanliness is the top priority. Routine washing of hands and face is the best step for a lifetime of stye-free eyes.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-stye

With the early onset of wildfire season, decreased air quality could leave your eyes feeling like allergy season never left. Symptoms affecting the eyes such as itching, red, burning and watery eyes can all be caused by smoky air conditions.

Limit your exposure to smoke and prevent eye irritation with the following tips:

  • Use lubricating eye drops or artificial tears to keep your eyes refreshed and help get rid of dust and particles that can irritate eyes.
  • Don’t rub your eyes. You might transfer dust and ash from your hands or face to your eyes and that could scratch or irritate them. It’s also helpful to wash your hands regularly. If you wear contacts, this is no time to skimp on your contact lens hygiene – it’s always important to wash and dry your hands before handling contact lenses so that the surface of your lenses stay free of eye irritants.
  • Keep windows and doors closed to keep the air indoors clean. Running your air conditioner may also help but be sure to keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing in additional smoke. However, if it’s too warm to stay indoors with the windows and doors closed and you do not have air conditioning, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends seeking shelter elsewhere.
  • The CDC also recommends limiting indoor air pollution by refraining from using anything that burns, like fireplaces, gas stoves and candles. Vacuums can also stir up dust already present in your home. Air filters are also recommended for those with respiratory conditions.


If you believe you have an eye infection or injury, get medical attention as soon as possible.

With the swiftness of wildfires, things can often get left behind during an evacuation. If you find yourself in need of replacement eyewear or eye care due to a natural disaster, help is available. Visit vspglobal.com/disasteroutreach for more information.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/eye-diseases/wildfire-smoke-protection

Eye Health Tips For All Ages

Low vision is a significant loss of eyesight that can’t be improved with regular eyeglasses, contacts, medicine or surgery. It makes everyday activities like reading, writing, shopping, watching TV and driving, difficult, if not impossible. Millions of people are impacted, most commonly in those aged 60 and over. We all have someone in our life that’s aging – a grandparent, parent, sibling or dear friend, it’s worth taking a moment to learn more about low vision with this infographic from The Vision Council.

It’s important to remember that low vision is different from presbyopia, which is our eyes not being able to focus on near items as we age. Take a look at the full infographic about low vision. If you notice any similar issues with your vision, make sure to visit your eye doctor immediately.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/low-vision

It’s been about a year since many of us quickly transitioned from an office to a work-from-home setting due to COVID-19. We quickly packed up our cubicle or shared desk space and began working from our couch, kitchen table or makeshift desk. This work-from-home lifestyle has us spending more time on our digital devices, especially people who are trying to help kids with online schooling, on top of their own work.

Extra time on digital devices isn’t always a good thing because of the blue light emitted. If you’re unfamiliar with blue light, it’s the range of light with the highest amount of energy in the visible light spectrum (the light we can see). Modern devices like smartphones, tablets and computer monitors all emit blue light. While historically we’ve gotten our daily dose of blue light from the sun, our increased exposure to blue light from these modern devices has been linked to the onset of digital eye strain.

VSP network doctor, Jennifer Tsai, OD, notes that after blue light enters your eyes it scatters causing your eyes to have to work harder to focus the scattered light. In other words, your eyes are putting in overtime daily which can contribute to digital eye strain and not-so-fun symptoms like headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes.

Reduce Your Blue Light Exposure While Working

If you spend two or more hours a day in front of a screen, a blue-light-reducing anti-reflective coating, such as TechShield® Blue, on your eyeglass lenses could be helpful. TechShield Blue is a next-generation anti-reflective coating that filters and reflects the specific blue light wavelengths associated with digital eye strain. This near-clear coating is a great choice for people who work on computers or other digital devices all day.

If you work outdoors, or spend your days going from inside to outside and back again, light-reactive lenses likeSunSync® Elite or SunSync Elite XT might be a better fit. These lenses offer convenience, comfort and the confidence of targeted blue light filtration. Outdoors, these lenses quickly darken, ramping up the defense against blue light and UV rays from the sun. Indoors, these ultra-responsive lenses quickly return to clear, but the blue light defense remains.

Visit your VSP network doctor if you’re concerned about blue light exposure and digital eye strain to find a solution that works best for you.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/blue-light-work-environments

Halloween Safety Tips

Whether you are taking little ones trick-or-treating or heading to a Halloween party, the fun of getting ready often begins with picking out a costume. But don’t let even your scariest costume turn into a real nightmare. Avoid these common costume snafus that could result in unexpected injuries.

Make sure your costume doesn’t impair your vision. Avoid blocking your eyes with masks, wigs, or accessories. And if you or your child typically wear glasses to see well, don’t ditch them for fashion’s sake. They could even be the accessory that perfectly pulls your costume together. On that note, play it safe when it comes to accessories and props. Pointy objects like toy swords and wands can easily cause eye injuries if they are not handled carefully.

If you like to go all out with your costume, decorative contacts can take your costume to the next level, however they do come with serious risks including corneal abrasion, allergic reactions, infection, and even blindness. Decorative lenses sold without a prescription are both illegal and pose danger to your eyes, so it’s important to see an eye doctor first to determine your prescription, and not to share or borrow them from friends.

In addition to being able to see your best, it’s just as important to stay seen while trick-or-treating. Bring a flashlight along to help you see where you are going and stay visible to cars. If possible, wear bright or reflective clothing. Glow sticks also make a fun costume accessory that help you and your kids stay visible at night.

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Halloween! More safety tips from Prevent Blindness can be found here.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/halloween-safety-tips

There’s a ton of health advice available online, on TV, and even from friends and family. Unfortunately, along with the good, a lot of bad information is out there. Sometimes it’s not easy to tell the difference between fact and fiction, and eye health myths are no exception.

We asked Roger Phelps, OD, a VSP network doctor at OjaiEyes Optometry in Ojai, CA, for his opinion on these five common eye myths. Check out what he had to say on the subject.

Myth 1:
Sitting too close to the TV can hurt your eyes.
“This notion has been around for almost as long as the first TV. While spending too much time staring at a TV screen can tire the eyes, there’s no evidence to show that it causes permanent damage. As with every other activity, moderation is the key. If your eyes start to burn or feel strained, close your eyes for a couple of minutes to rest them. If that doesn’t work, turn off the TV and give your eyes a longer break.”
Myth 2:
Sunglasses are the best way to protect your eyes from the sun.
“Don’t assume that wearing dark sunglasses will keep your eyes safe. UV blocking agents are what helps block the sun’s harmful rays. Clear prescription lenses with UV blocking agents can protect your eyes as well as sunglasses. While the dark shading in sunglasses helps cut down on the sun’s glare, to adequately protect your eyes, always chose lenses with proper UV protection.”
Myth 3:
The best treatment for a black eye is to hold a raw steak on it.
“If you believe this myth, you probably watch too much TV. Black eyes are painful, and although they aren’t usually serious, you should still see your eye doctor to rule out possible internal eye damage. To treat a minor black eye, your best bet is to hold a cold compress or a bag of frozen vegetables on it to reduce swelling and pain. As for the steak—besides the fact that it doesn’t work—you’ll be exposing your eye to a potential breeding ground for infection. So, please keep raw meat away from your eyes!”
Myth 4:
Wearing the wrong prescription can damage your eyes.
“Who hasn’t tried on someone else’s glasses and felt dizzy and disoriented? The wrong prescription may feel weird and it can even give you a headache if you wear them very long, but it won’t damage your eyes. If your glasses have an old prescription, you might start to experience some eye strain. To see your best, don’t wear anyone else’s glasses. And most importantly, get regular eye exams so you always have the prescription that’s right for you.”
Myth 5:
As long as you can see well, you don’t really need a vision exam.
“This really is a myth! There’s a lot more to an eye exam than just checking your prescription. During a comprehensive vision exam, your VSP network doctor will check your overall eye health, which can sometimes show signs of other serious health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Eye exams are an important part of taking care of your overall health, so make sure to see your eye doctor every year.”

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/fact-or-fiction

Our eyes are one of the most significant tools we use to process the world around us. They allow us to interpret shapes, faces, colors, and depth by translating the light that reflects off of these things into electrical signals that the brain reads as images.

The eyes sit in cone-shaped cavities in the skull called sockets which are surrounded by 6 motion-regulating muscles and multiple layers of fatty tissue that help to protect the eye and give it flexibility. Eyebrows, eyelashes, and eyelids also contribute to this effort.

The eye itself is made of 10 general components that all work together to keep us seeing well every day.

  • Cornea – The cornea is the outermost layer of the eye and is primarily responsible for focusing the light that comes into our eyes. There are 5 layers to the cornea. The outer layer acts as a kind of shield to the elements and can usually repair itself within a few days of suffering a minor injury. The deeper layers exist mainly to strengthen the eye.
  • Pupil – The pupil is the black circle in the center of the eye, and its primary function is to monitor the amount of light that comes into the eye. When there is a lot of light, the pupil contracts to keep the light from overwhelming the eye. When there is very little light, the pupil expands so it can soak up as much as possible.
  • Iris – The iris is the colored part of the eye. Although it might seem purely cosmetic, the iris actually functions to adjust the size of the pupil. It has muscles that contract or expand depending on the amount of light the pupil needs to process images.
  • Lens – The lens exists behind the pupil and is responsible for allowing your eyes to focus on small details like words in a book. The lens is in a constant state of adjustment as it becomes thinner or thicker to accommodate the detailed input it receives. With age, the lens loses a lot of its elasticity which often results in cataracts and presbyopia because the lens cannot adjust as well to its surroundings as it used to.
  • Vitreous Humour – The vitreous humour is a gel-like substance that helps to keep the eyeball in its proper, circular shape. This is the area in the eye where floaters develop as pieces of the vitreous humor clump together and cast shadows onto the retina. With age, the vitreous humor begins to shrink and can cause problems like posterior retinal detachment or retinal tear.
  • Retina -The retina is the area at the back of the eye that receives the refined, visual message from the front of the eye, and it transmits that visual message to the brain using electrical signals.
  • Sclera -The sclera is the white part of the eye, and its main function is to provide strength, structure, and protection for the eye. The sclera contains blood vessels that can tell an eye doctor a lot about the state of your overall health.

To learn more about how your eyes are the windows to your overall health, read What Eye Exams Can Tell Us About Our Overall Health.

Source: tlcvision.com 

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/parts-of-the-eye

Just like the rest of our bodies, our eyes have different needs as we age. That’s why it’s important to know which vision changes are a normal part of aging, and when something more serious may need the attention of an eye doctor.

Vision Changes in Your 20s and 30s

What to Expect

Generally speaking, adults in their 20s and 30s have healthy eyes and can effectively treat vision problems with corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses. But it’s never too early to start preserving your eye health! During this stage of life, prevention is key.

Take Action

  • Be sure to protect your healthy eyes from harmful everyday elements, like cigarette smoke and UV rays, which can increase your risk of age-related macular degeneration down the road.
  • Be aware of occupational hazards, like long hours in front of computer monitors, which can lead to eyestrain and Computer Vision Syndrome.
  • Schedule an annual eye exam to keep your prescriptions up-to-date and avoid any long-term damage.

“Practice good health and safety habits,” explains H. Chapman Leffingwell, OD, a VSP network doctor at Ziegler Leffingwell Eyecare in West Allis, WI. “Wearing sunglasses, eating right, and not smoking will help preserve your sight at any age.”

Vision Changes in Your 40s

What to Expect 

While preventative measures are vital to maintaining healthy eyes, vision changes are a natural part of the aging process. Presbyopia, a decline in your ability to focus due to the hardening of the lenses in your eyes, may become more noticeable in your 40s, making it more difficult to see while reading or doing close work.

Take Action

  • In its earliest stages, merely adjusting the distance between your eyes and your reading material may help compensate for the effects of presbyopia.
  • When adjusting your viewing range is no longer an option, corrective lenses, such as reading glasses or multifocal contact lenses, will be your best bet to help you see more clearly.
Vision Changes in Your 50s

What to Expect

As we age, the risk of contracting a number of age-related eye diseases—such as glaucomacataracts, and macular degeneration—will increase. “Glaucoma is one disease that’s especially important to monitor,” explains Dr. Leffingwell. “The harmful effects can increase in later years if it’s not managed right away.”

Take Action

  • Monitor your vision and see your eye doctor if you notice any major vision changes.
  • Have your eyes checked after other major health changes, such as a hypertension or diabetes diagnosis.
  • While there is no cure for macular degeneration, healthy habits like taking multivitamins and eating foods rich in lutein and antioxidants can help slow the process down.


Vision Changes in Your 60s and Beyond

What to Expect

While cataracts are technically classified as an age-related eye disease, the condition is so common among older individuals, that they’re considered a normal part of the aging process. “Cataracts will happen to all of us if we live long enough,” explains Dr. Leffingwell. This impairment of the lens is caused by tiny clumps of protein molecules, which block light and dim your vision.

Take Action

  • If cataracts start to impair your everyday activities, cataract surgery, in which your natural lens is replaced with an artificial lens, is a safe and effective way to restore your vision.
  • Visit your optometrist at least once a year for a comprehensive eye exam and to screen for common age-related eye diseases.

No matter what your age, always monitor your vision changes, make healthy lifestyle and dietary choices, and see your eye doctor for yearly eye exams to keep your eyes healthy for years to come!

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/vision-changes

No one sees the world quite like you, and it may take a new pair of lenses to help you see your best.  Being a bit of a camera bug myself, it’s easy to recognize that many of life’s moments are worth capturing, whether it is seeing your favorite band in concert or the smiling faces of family and friends at a get-together.

Even more important than capturing those moments on camera, is the ability to enjoy them fully in the moment, which may require a little help from a trusty pair of specs. Luckily there are plenty of lens optionsto choose from, so you can see the world with clarity and comfort.  Here’s a quick guide to help you find lenses that suit your lifestyle.

Understanding The Basics of Lenses

Single Vision 
Single vision lenses can help if you have trouble seeing up close or far away, and can correct astigmatisms. Today’s lenses are also digitally surfaced and your eye doctor can take specific measurements to optimize your lenses for your unique visual needs. Think of it as the difference between buying a suit off the rack, or having one perfectly tailored according to your measurements.

Progressive 
You can say goodbye to bifocals thanks to progressive lenses which can help you see clearly both near and far, and at distances in between with a seamless transition. Unlike bifocals, these lenses don’t have a line separating near and distance prescriptions providing a sleek and youthful look.

Computer Vision 
If you spend the majority of your work day on the computer, you could benefit from task-specific lenses like computer vision lenses which provide you with an optimal prescription when working on the computer.

Lens Enhancements 
After selecting your lens type, you can customize your lenses further with lens enhancements. Lens enhancements perform a variety of functions such as protecting your lenses from scratches, reducing reflection and smudges, protecting your eyes against UV rays, and reducing blue light exposure. 

Anti-reflective (AR) coating 
Nix glare with this clear lens coating which can also help reduce smudging and scratches.

Light-reactive lenses 
Also known as photochromic lenses, these lenses quickly darken in sunlight and turn clear again indoors, providing comfort, clarity, UV protection, and blue-light reduction in any environment.

Blue Light Reduction 
Blue light enhancements help reduce exposure to high-energy blue light emitted by many of today’s digital devices. This helps to alleviate eye strain due to exposure. A blue light coating on your lens can offer relief from sore, irritated, tired eyes while working, cramming, e-reading, or binge-watching. Learn more about the effects of blue light on your eyes.

Find out how VSP members can save on Unity® lenses and enhancementshere

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/eyeglass-lens-options

You lift weights at the gym. You try your best to eat healthy. You drink plenty of water. But what about your eyes? Have you ever thought about what it takes to keep your vision healthy? If not, it’s time to do so as your eye health has a major correlation to the rest of your overall health.

Part of staying healthy is making sure you’re on top of your preventative checkups. However, men tend to schedule half as many preventative health visits as women.

Perhaps you don’t wear glasses or contacts and haven’t had any issues with your eyes. So, you think, “Why would I need to go the eye doctor every year?” It turns out that men have a higher mortality rate for most leading causes of death including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Early warning signs of these diseases can be detected through a comprehensive eye exam to ensure you’re staying on top of your health and can work with your care team to address any issues.

In partnership with an eye exam, you can also reduce your risk of certain eye diseases with proper nutrition. Research has shown nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, found in leafy green vegetables and eggs, can support healthy vision. As well as vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, which can be found in whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables.

Take care of your vision health by scheduling an annual eye exam with a VSP network eye doctor. Choose one who participates in the Premier Program to get the most out of your benefits!

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/eye-health/mens-health

Eye vitamins and multivitamins are similar, but they contain a larger amount of eye-healthy nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3s, and lutein. Ideally, you should be getting your daily dose of these nutrients from a healthy diet, but eye vitamins are a great way to fill in the nutritional gaps. Here’s a breakdown of some of these vitamins:

Vitamin A is essential for keeping the retina healthy and for producing good quality tears that keep the eyes moist. Vitamin A is sometimes used to treat retinitis pigmentosa, which is a hereditary degeneration of the retina.

Vitamin C is a key component in the formation of collagen, a protein that helps with the formation of the connective tissue in the sclera of the eye. It also helps other vitamins restore themselves to an active state.

Vitamin E is a major player in the body’s antioxidant defense system. It’s found in the lens and retina of the eye and is believed to help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your risk of developing dry-eye syndrome, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and ocular hypertension. Because our bodies can’t produce omega-3s on their own, it’s essential to get these fatty acids through either food or supplements. If you have a blood clotting disorder or are on blood thinning medication, please discuss taking omega-3s as a supplement with your primary care provider first.

Lutein is also found in our retinas, so it’s an important part of healthy vision. Carotenoids like lutein provide you with great antioxidants and may help guard against age-related vision problems, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Eye vitamins, in particular, have helped slow the effects of deteriorating vision in some people, but there is no guarantee they will help or cure your specific vision condition.

Be smart about your eye health—see your VSP network doctorfor a comprehensive eye exam to find out if you’re at risk for developing eye-related diseases and whether or not eye vitamins might be right for you. Consult your doctor before taking eye vitamins if you are currently taking other supplements or medication.

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Walter F. Morton, O.D., lead optometrist at BuckEye Vision Care in Centennial, CO.  

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Article ©2020 Vision Service Plan. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited. This article was originally published at https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/ask-eye-doctor/eye-vitamins

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