January is the ideal time to start getting eye exams

Eye chart and eye exam at Performance Eyecare

January is a great time to schedule your annual eye exam. Just remember, “a new year, a new eye exam” to help you remember.

Eye exams are often pushed aside by people with great vision and even those with poor sight, but routine exams are important regardless of age or physical health.

The eye doctors do much more than determine your prescription, if any, for eyeglasses or contact lenses during your eye exam. They also check them for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.

Eye doctors are often the first health care professionals to detect chronic systematic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

So what does e eye doctor check for during your eye exam? As mentioned above, it’s more than you think.

Eye doctors check the eyes for refractive error, which refers to nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. This can be corrected with eye glasses, contacts or surgery.

They also check for amblyopia, which occurs when the eyes are turned or when one eye has a much different prescription than the other. In addition, they can check for strabismus (crossed or turned eyes), eye teaming problems, focusing problems, eye diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, and other diseases.

Be sure to schedule an eye exam soon, especially if you haven’t one in over a year. You can schedule an appointment at any of our MO or IL locations over the phone or online!

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

Computer Vision Syndrome is a condition resulting from extended use of display devices such as computers, tablets, or cell phones. Though often temporary, the condition can result in symptoms such as blurred visions, headaches, redness of the eye, dry eyes, double vision, or dizziness. CVS affects as many as 90% of computer users who spend more than three hours a day at a computer.

Most instances of CVS are caused by one of the following: glares, poor posture, poor lighting, or uncorrected vision problems.

Addressing CVS

To mitigate the effects of extended computer use, doctors recommend following the 20-20-20 rule; take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

Your glasses can also help prevent eye damage! Consider upgrading to blue-light resistant lenses, which can lesson the impact of screen time.

If you think you may be suffering from CVS, schedule an appointment at one of our offices today.

Diabetic Eye Disease Month

Did you know Diabetes can affect your vision?

Diabetes is a debilitating disease affecting over 29 million Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-fourth of this population is not diagnosed. Although most commonly associated with controlling blood sugar levels, diabetes is a systemic disease that, left untreated or poorly managed, can cause damage throughout the body including the heart, kidneys and retina. It is also a leading cause of blindness in the US (National Eye Institute).

November is recognized as National Diabetes Month. Take the time to learn your risk factors and, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, learn how you can protect your vision.

Diabetes’ impact on the eyes

Diabetes causes progressive nerve damage and damage to the blood vessels leading to the retina, resulting in several types of diabetic eye disease:

  • Diabetic retinopathy: When the blood vessels are damaged, they will leak blood or other fluids, causing distorted vision and blindness.
  • Diabetic macular edema: The macula is in the center of the retina, and enables sharp central vision. Diabetic retinopathy can cause the macula to swell: blurring vision.
  • Cataracts: Although most people will develop cataracts, diabetics often develop cataracts earlier in life.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve due to elevated pressure in the eye. Diabetics are twice as likely to develop glaucoma than other people.

Diabetics can protect their vision and improve their health by:

  • Managing blood sugar levels through good nutrition, exercise and (if prescribed) medication;
  • Regular doctor visits to monitor HBA1C (blood glucose) levels and kidney function;
  • Annual complete dilated eye exams. In a dilated exam, your eye doctor can see things that might not be apparent through a routine vision screening.

For more information on Diabetic Eye Disease and protecting your vision, contact Performance Eyecare.

Treat Fall allergies

Performance eyecare STL & red eye, pink eye, dry eye & more

Fall allergy triggers are different from the spring and summer ones but can cause just as many symptoms. Here are some ways to keep your eyes healthy during the fall!

Ragweed is the king of fall allergy season. It usually begins releasing pollen in August, but it can last through September and into October. Seventy-five percent of people who are allergic to spring plants are also allergic to ragweed.

Ragweed pollen can travel hundreds of miles with help from the wind, so you could still have allergies from it despite not living near it.

Those allergic to ragweed may also find similar symptoms from foods like bananas, melon, zucchini and other fruits and vegetables.

Mold is another allergy sufferer’s worst nightmare. Many of us think of mold growing in our basement or bathrooms, but mold spores also love wet spots outside. Piles of damp leaves are ideal breeding grounds for mold.

Dust mites are more common in humid summer months, but can be stirred into the air the first time you turn your furnace on. This pesky allergy producer can make you sneeze, wheeze and have runny noses. It’s also common in schools, so kids going back to school may have already experienced it this season.

Fall allergy symptoms include: runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and nose, and dark circles under the eyes.

So how can you manage these symptoms? Pollen is usually at its peak in the morning, so stay indoors with the doors and windows closed.

Also, clean your heating vents and change the filter before using your heat for the first time. Use a HEPA filter in your heating system to remove pollen, mold and other particles from the air.

You should also use a humidifier to keep the air between 35% and 50% humidity.

Lastly, we all hate raking leaves, but we hate them a little extra when we have allergies. You should wear a mask when you rake the leaves so you don’t breathe in mold spores.

At Performance Eyecare, we can treat our patients for many eye conditions, including red eyes, dry eyes, pink eye and eye infection. Be sure to schedule an appointment with us if you are having trouble with your vision.

Your Comprehensive Eye Exam

A comprehensive eye exam includes a number of tests and procedures to examine and evaluate the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. These tests range from simple ones, like having you read an eye chart, to complex tests, such as using a high-powered lens to examine the health of the tissues inside of your eyes.

Here are some tests you are likely to encounter during a routine comprehensive eye exam:

Retinoscopy

This test helps your doctor get a good approximation of your eyeglasses prescription. For retinoscopy, the room lights are dimmed and an instrument containing wheels of lenses (called a phoropter) is positioned in front of your eyes. You will be asked to look at an object across the room (usually the big “E” on the wall chart or screen) while your doctor shines a light from a hand-held instrument into your eyes from arm’s length and flips different lenses in front of your eyes.

Based on the way the light reflects from your eye during this procedure, your doctor can get a very good idea of what your eyeglasses prescription should be. This test is especially useful for children and non-verbal patients who are unable to accurately answer the doctor’s questions.

With the widespread use of automated instruments to help determine eyeglass prescriptions today, many doctors forgo performing retinoscopy during comprehensive eye exams. However, this test can provide valuable information about the clarity of the internal lens and other media inside the eye. So doctors who no longer perform this test routinely may still use it when examining someone who may be at risk of cataracts or other internal eye problems.

Refraction

This is the test your doctor uses to determine your exact eyeglasses prescription. During a refraction, the doctor puts the phoropter in front of your eyes and shows you a series of lens choices. He or she will then ask you which of the two lenses in each choice (“1 or 2,” “A or B,” for example) make the letters on the wall chart look clearer.

Based on your answers, your doctor will determine the amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism you have, and the eyeglass lenses required to correct these vision problems (which are called refractive errors).

Autorefractors and aberrometers

Your eye doctor also may use an autorefractor or aberrometer to help determine your glasses prescription. With both devices, a chin rest stabilizes your head while you typically look at a pinpoint of light or other image.

An autorefractor evaluates the way an image is focused on the retina, where vision processing takes place, without the need for you to say anything. This makes autorefractors especially useful when examining young children or people who may have difficulty with a regular (“subjective”) refraction. Automated refractions and subjective refractions are often used together during a comprehensive exam to determine your eyeglasses prescription.

An aberrometer uses advanced wavefront technology to detect even obscure vision errors based on the way light travels through your eye.

Cover test

While there are many ways for your eye doctor to check how your eyes work together, the cover test is the simplest and most common.

During a cover test, the eye doctor will have you focus on a small object at distance and will then cover each of your eyes alternately while you stare at the target. As they do this, eye doctors observe how much each eye has to move when uncovered to pick up the fixation target. The test is then repeated as you focus on a near object.

Cover tests can detect even very subtle misalignments that can interfere with your eyes working together properly (binocular vision) and cause amblyopia or “lazy eye.”

Slit-lamp examination

The slit lamp is an instrument that the eye doctor uses to examine the health of your eyes. Also called a biomicroscope, the slit lamp gives your doctor a highly magnified view of the structures of the eye, including the lens behind the pupil, in order to thoroughly evaluate them for signs of infection or disease.

The slit lamp is basically an illuminated binocular microscope that’s mounted on a table and includes a chin rest and head band to position the patient’s head properly. With the help of hand-held lenses, your doctor can also use the slit lamp to examine the retina (the light-sensitive inner lining of the back of the eye.)

Tonometry (glaucoma testing)

Tonometry is the name for a variety of tests that can be performed to determine the pressure inside the eye. Elevated internal eye pressure can cause glaucoma, which is vision loss due to damage to the sensitive optic nerve in the back of the eye.

The most common method used for tonometry is the “air puff” test – where an automated instrument discharges a small burst of air to the surface of your eye. Based on your eye’s resistance to the puff of air, the machine calculates the pressure inside your eye – called your intraocular pressure (IOP).

Though the test itself can be startling, nothing but air touches your eye during this measurement and there’s no risk of eye injury from the air puff test.

Another popular way to measure eye pressure is with an instrument called an applanation tonometer, which is usually attached to a slit lamp. For this test, a yellow eye drop is placed on your eyes. Your eyes will feel slightly heavy when the drops start working. This is not a dilating drop – it is simply a numbing agent combined with a yellow dye. Then the doctor will have you stare straight ahead in the slit lamp while he or she gently rests the bright-blue glowing probe of the tonometer on the front of each eye and manually measures the intraocular pressure.

Like the air puff test, applanation tonometry is painless and takes just a few seconds.

Since glaucoma is often the result of an increase of pressure inside the eye, these are important tests for ensuring the long-term health of your eyes.

Summary

These are the most common tests performed during a standard comprehensive eye exam. Depending on your particular needs, your doctor may perform additional tests or schedule them to be performed at a later date.

Performance Eyecare is the place for children’s glasses

With the kids going back to school, it’s time to bring them in for an eye exam and pick out any necessary eyewear to help him or her succeed this school year.

We understand kids can be picky about what they want to wear, but we’re confident your child will find the perfect pair of glasses at Performance Eyecare.

Here are the five trends in children’s eyewear:

  1. Designers have taken cool and classic designs that work for adults and scaled them down for kids. Don’t be surprised if your child wants eyeglasses that look a lot like yours.
  2. Branded or licensed eyewear lines grab a child’s attention. Fisher-Price, Hush Puppies, Stride Rite, Disney and Marvel Comics appeal to kids of all ages, but especially to very young children. Lines related to extreme sports (X-Games), basketball (Nike, Converse) and other sports are very popular with slightly older kids.
  3. Spring hinges, strong and flexible frame materials and impact-resistant polycarbonate or Trivex lenses all help protect your child’s eyes — as well as your financial investment in his or her eyewear.
  4. Don’t forget about sunglasses for kids. Protecting your child’s eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays may lower the risk of adult eye problems like cataracts later in life.
  5. Photochromic lenses made of impact-resistant polycarbonate are an excellent choice for kids who spend a lot of time outdoors. Clip-on sunglasses (or newer versions that magnetically attach to eyeglasses) also are good choices.
  6. For the child who is fast becoming a teenager, eyewear fashion is increasingly important. Designer eyeglass frames from Guess?, Calvin Klein and others are very appealing to “tweens.” Also popular are frames branded with apparel and accessories names such as Esprit, Nine West and Banana Republic, as well as celebrity brands like Hilary Duff and Thalia eyewear collections.

Visit Performance Eyecare for eye exams

Did you know August is National Eye Exam month? It’s a nice reminder as we get ready to send the kids back to school that eye health is important learning for children, and even for adults.

The Vision Council of America states that 12.2 million Americans need vision correction, but don’t use any. Also, almost 50 percent of parents with children under 12 years old have never taken their children to an eye care professional.

Here are five reasons why you should have an eye exam this month:

1. Save a headache

You might need to visit an eye care doctor if you have unexplained and constant headaches. The stress you’re putting your eyes through could be the cause.

2. Perform well in school

This is vital as one out of four children is believed to have vision problems, which could explain why your child’s grades are slipping. Children won’t always speak up so it’s on you to do the right thing and take your child to get his or her eyes examined.

3. Determine prescription

Like everything, your eyes change. Visiting an eye care professional such as the one you’ll find at Perfomance Eyecare, you can change your prescription so you can see better.

4. Detect eye conditions

An eye doctor is able to spot early onset signs of various health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma and high cholesterol.

5. Prevent conditions

As if the previous four reasons weren’t enough, you can stop eye conditions. Many eye diseases, such as macular degeneration or cataracts, don’t have symptoms. Early detection is extremely important to prevent serious damage.

At Performance Eyecare, we test for glaucoma without the dreaded air puff. Your eye doctor instills an eye drop and determines your eye pressure while looking with the microscope. There is no pain and this method is much more accurate than blowing air into your eye.

What You Need To Know About Colored Contacts

Colored Contacts are all the rage these days, giving people the option to change the look of their eyes in an instant. Even if you don’t need contacts to correct your vision, you can purchase them for cosmetic reasons, just like you can purchase glasses with non-prescription lenses. There are 3 types of colored contact lenses that can change your eye color and look.

Enhancement contacts change light-colored eyes into different shades of blues, greens and grays. Each will look different depending on your original eye color, as the two blend together uniquely. These contacts do not change eye colors that are originally darker.

Opaque contact lenses are very popular because they totally change the color of your eyes whether you have light or dark eyes. They can give you a dramatic new look.

Special effects lenses are used to add flair and reality to Halloween costumes and for stage performances, such as to look more like a vampire or zombie and the like. They can create a special effect or simply be a bold fashion statement. Some companies are making new types of lenses called circle lenses that widen the look of the iris by adding a black circle around the outside of the lens. This is especially popular in Korea.

What You Need to Know About Colored Contacts

Unfortunately, there are companies selling contacts that are non-prescription and are not approved by the FDA. This is against the law and very dangerous to the health of your eyes. If you are considering purchasing colored contacts it is very important to have a vision exam with a certified optometrist to make sure the prescription is correct, as well as to obtain the proper fit. Our eyes are all unique and even if you have 20/20 vision, you will need to be professionally fitted for contacts.

Purchasing contacts without a prescription can lead to problems such as infections, a scratched cornea, pink eye, decreased vision, and blindness. This can be due to the wrong prescription, poor fit, poor care of the lenses, and improperly made lenses. According to FDA optometrist Bernard P. Lepri, O.D., M.S., M.Ed., “Bacterial infections can be extremely rapid, result in corneal ulcers, and cause blindness–sometimes within as little as 24 hours if not diagnosed and treated promptly.”

There are colored contacts to fit most eyes including those with vision correction. We specialize in fitting even the most difficult to fit contact lens wearer. Contact us today to find out more about the vision exams and colored contacts we offer.

Choosing the right glasses for your child

Just the thought of buying eyeglasses for your child can make you want to pull your hair out. First, there is the initial selection to consider. Second, you must consider what your child is willing to wear. Third, which eyeglasses will be the most durable?

Then there is the pressure from your child, who is likely more worried about what the other kids might say and if their glasses look cool to others.

We’ve seen how stressful this process can be. Don’t worry, we’re here to help make it a lot smoother for everyone involved.

As noted by Liz DeFranco of AllAboutVision.com, there are other variables to this journey such as what kind of glasses are needed (near- or farsighted) and how often will they be worn.

Here are DeFranco’s 10 items to consider when buying kids’ eyewear.

1. Lens Thickness

It’s important to consult with the optician about the eyeglass prescription before looking at frames. Stronger lenses are likely going to be thick, so it is important to keep the frames as small as possible to reduce the final lens thickness.

2. Fashion

Sadly, other kids might comment with either nice compliments or unnecessary jokes about your child’s eyeglasses. It is important your child is comfortable with his/her new specs so don’t let them choose ones that you think might be a cause for concern with other kids later.

The goal is to get your child to wear the glasses.

3. Plastic or Metal

Children’s frames are made of either plastic or metal. Boys’ frames have double bridges while girls’ frames have single frames, which can also be unisex.

Plastic frames in the past were considered a better choice for children because they were more durable, less likely to be bent or broken, lighter in weight and less expensive.

Now manufacturers are creating metal frames to incorporate these features as well.

Also, ask for hypoallergenic materials if your child has shown sensitivity to certain substances, such as nickel.

4. Proper Bridge Fit

Children’s noses aren’t fully developed which makes this a tough part of the consideration process. They don’t have a bridge to prevent plastic frames from sliding down, but metal frames are usually made with adjustable nose pads to fit everyone’s bridge.

5. Temple Style

Temples that wrap all the way around the back of the ear, called “cable temples,” help keep glasses from sliding down or falling off your child’s face completely.

Another option is a strap that goes around the head.

6. Spring Hinges

A nice feature to look for is temples with spring hinges because kids aren’t always careful when they put on or take off glasses. Spring hinges can prevent the need for frequent adjustments to be made to the glasses.

7. Lens Material

Children’s lenses should be made of polycarbonate or a material called Trivex because the lightweight materials are more impact-resistant than other lens materials. They are also lighter in weight, have built-in protection from damaging UV rays, and are scratch-resistant coated by the manufacturer.

The least desirable material is glass. It must be treated for impact resistance, but it still shatters when it breaks which can be hazardous to the eye.

8. Sports Eyewear

If your kid plays sports, a proper sports goggle with polycarbonate lenses will provide the best protection against an eye injury. These goggles also must be fitted properly.

9. Warranties

If your child is a toddler or a first-time wearer, opt for a warranty if it’s offered. Not all warranty plans are the same, but it can be useful in case the eyewear needs to be replaced or fixed.

10. Backup Pair

It’s always good to have a backup pair of glasses because kids aren’t always the gentlest being to their belongings. Another pair might be best especially for those with strong prescriptions and wouldn’t be able to function without their glasses.

Ask your optician if special discounts apply for second pairs, especially if they’re purchased at the same time as the primary pair.

Stylish frames to look younger!

Getting older doesn’t mean you have to settle for the grandma look when it comes to glasses. Take a look at these tips to consider the next time you pair a new set of frames.

As noted by Julyne Derrick of Beauty.About.com, there are many frames and styles that will help you achieve a more youthful look.

Black frames are a classy look that show sophistication and a sense of style. These frames can be oversized but they will still appear flattering. It’s recommended you steer away from excessive jewelry and other accessories to pull off the black frame look.

Want a subtle look when wearing glasses? Try a frameless pair that won’t bring attention to your glasses. They will blend into the face better, as will thin frames. Frameless glasses also let off a sophisticated look.

There’s three things you should consider when you choose glasses. Most of us think about our face shape, but it’s also about hair color and personality. Square frames can balance out a longer face shape and black frames can complement a lighter hair color.

Don’t go alone when you’re shopping for eyeglasses. Always bring a friend who knows your style and can be honest with you. No one wants to buy a pair of frames and later find out they don’t look as flattering as they previously thought.

At Performance Eyecare, we offer designer frames of the highest quality and also affordable name brands such as Lafont, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Tom Davies, OGA, Tom Ford, Maui Jim, OGI and many others.

Choosing glasses for style & personality!

Let your choice in eye wear express who you are and showcase your unique individual style.

Performance Eyecare has the perfect glasses to fit your style and personality

We all have different tastes, especially when it comes to style. That’s why it’s important to decide what you want your eyeglasses to say about you first.

As noted by Erinn Morgan of AllAboutVision.com, the first step is to consider the aspects of your life. We all have different aspects to our life, such as work and play, so sometimes it’s best to buy a couple pairs of glasses to suit each aspect.

Eyeglasses for Serious Business

It’s best to wear conservative frame shapes and colors in the business setting. Doing so will help instill trust and confidence with your clients and colleagues.

Some of the best choices are classic shapes such as ovals, rectangles and almonds. You should also choose a traditional color like gold, silver, brown, gray and black. If you choose to wear plastic glasses, stay away from bright colors or unusual shapes.

Eyeglasses That Showcase Your Creativity and Fashion Savvy

Those wanting to show their fashionable and creative tastes should choose modern shapes when picking out their eyeglasses. You have a lot more options than in the business setting so choosing prints, such as animal or flower, can also be an option to accentuate your style.

Eyeglasses for the Modern Baby Boomer or Senior

Many older people tend to choose for a conservative look, but they don’t have to stick with the same outdated one forever.

Certain colors can make you look younger, such as deep browns and burgundy for men and lighter, shinier hues for women.

Eyeglasses for Students

Unusual shapes, bright colors, larger sizes and interesting details are popular among students who are trying to create their own identity and style.

Students shouldn’t be afraid to express themselves in any variety of glasses.

Eyeglasses for the Busy Mom and Dad

Ovals, upswept rectangles and soft cat-eye shapes are functional and look great for the busy mom or dad.  You could choose to amplify the fashion effect of a basic shape with details such as jewelry-like metal accents or recognizable designer logos depending on your style.

Interesting colors such as plum deep red, soft green and black can add a fashion edge to a basic frame.