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.

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.

Performance Eyecare conducts stress-free eye exams

Performance EyeCare STL Eye Examination

We understand the word “exam” can add some unnecessary stress to your life, so we wanted to share with you what a routine comprehensive eye exam usually consists of:

As noted by Gary Heiting, OD, and Jennifer Palombi, OD, the following is what makes up a routine eye exam:

Visual Acuity Test

This measures the sharpness of your vision and it’s usually performed with a projected eye chart to measure the distance visual acuity. It also consists of a small, handheld acuity chart to measure your near vision as well.

Color Blindness Test

This test can check your color vision as well as alert your eye doctor to any possible eye health problems that may affect your color vision.

Cover Test

During this test, your eye doctor will have you focus on a small object across the room and will then cover each of your eyes alternately while you stare at the target. The doctor then assesses whether the uncovered eye must move to pick up the fixation target, which could indicate strabismus or a more subtle binocular vision problem that could cause eye strain or amblyopia, known as “lazy eye.”

Retinoscopy

Your eye doctor may perform this test early in the eye exam to obtain an approximation of your eyeglass prescription.

In retinoscopy, the room lights will be dimmed and you will be given a large target (usually the big “E” on the chart) to fixate on. As you stare at the “E,” your eye doctor will shine a light at your eye and flip lenses in a machine in front of your eyes.

Refraction

During a refraction, the doctor puts the instrument called a 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 looks clearer.

Based on your answers, your eye doctor will continue to fine-tune the lens power until reaching a final eyeglass prescription.

Autorefractors and Aberrometers

An autorefractor, like a manual refraction, determines the lens power required to accurately focus light on your retina. Autorefractors are especially useful in certain cases such as evaluating young children who may not sit still, pay attention or interact with the eye doctor adequately for an accurate manual refraction.

Slit-Lamp Examination

The slit lamp, also called a biomicroscope, allows your eye doctor to get a highly magnified view of the structures of your eye to thoroughly evaluate your eye health and detect any signs of infection or disease.

During this test, your doctor will have you place your chin on the chin rest of the slit lamp and will then shine the lamp’s light at your eye. The doctor looks through a set of oculars (much like a microscope in a science lab) and examines each part of your eye in turn.

He or she will first examine the structures of the front of your eye (lids, cornea, conjunctiva, iris, etc.). Then, with the help of a special high-powered lens, your doctor will view the inside of your eye (retina, optic nerve, macula and more).

The Glaucoma Test

A common glaucoma test is the “puff-of-air” test, technically known as non-contact tonometry, or NCT. (This test was immortalized on the hit TV show Friends, when Rachel couldn’t sit still for it.)

For NCT, the test begins with you putting your chin on the machine’s chin rest. While you look at a light inside the machine, the doctor or a trained assistant will puff a small burst of air at your open eye. It is completely painless, and the tonometer does not touch your eye.

At Performance Eyecare, we do not use the air puff. Instead, our doctors 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.

Pupil Dilation

To obtain a better view of the eye’s internal structures, your eye doctor instills dilating drops to enlarge your pupils. Dilating drops usually take about 20 to 30 minutes to start working. When your pupils are dilated, you will be sensitive to light (because more light is getting into your eye) and you may notice difficulty focusing on objects up close. These effects can last for up to several hours, depending on the strength of the drop used.

Once the drops have taken effect, your eye doctor will use various instruments to look inside your eyes. You should bring sunglasses with you to your eye exam, to minimize glare and light sensitivity on the way home. If you forget to bring sunglasses, the staff usually will give you a disposable pair.

Visual Field Test

In some cases, your eye doctor may want to check for the possible presence of blind spots (scotomas) in your peripheral or “side” vision by performing a visual field test. These types of blind spots can originate from eye diseases such as glaucoma.

Analysis of blind spots also may help identify specific areas of brain damage caused by a stroke or tumor.

Minimize Stress To Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Big project due? Bills need to be paid? Trying to find a job? These are a few things that can cause stress. That stress can cause other problems to your health including your eyes.

Life can be hectic as we try to best manage our tasks in an orderly fashion, but sometimes the anxiety takes control of us and our body. Hypertension, or constant high blood pressure, can put us at a higher risk of Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO). This disease affects about four out of 1000 people and is considered a “heart attack or stroke selectively affecting the retina.”

This can lead to blurred vision or total loss of vision if not treated.

Our eyes are the most sensitive part of our body which is why stress easily affects our vision. High blood pressure obviously affects the heart and it also damages the vessels that supply blood to our eyes. This damage is in the form of clots.

How Can I Prevent Stress-Related Issues?

The best way to treat this problem is to address your stress. It’s important for us to understand the physical damage that can be done to our eyes. Finding ways to cope with our stress will lead to less anxiety and keep our eyes and the rest of our body healthy.

Technology has also helped with controlling the damage done to our eyes due to stress. These new treatments include injections, lasers and surgery. It’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly to help prevent RVO from affecting you and your eyes.

If you’ve noticed your vision is becoming more blurred, please schedule an appointment to see one of our eye doctors at Performance Eyecare. It’s important to understand why your vision is blurred and to address it immediately.

It’s also important to seek other help if you are under uncontrollable stress whether it be from the workplace or your everyday life.

Glasses to Aid Kids’ computer vision

Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome

Did you know October is considered Computer Learning Month? We’re not here to teach you how to use the computer better, but to inform you of computer vision syndrome, especially for children who are likely to use the computer more often.

Take a look at these facts and figures from Gary Heiting, OD and Larry K. Wan, OD:

  • 94 percent of American families with children have a computer in the home with access to the Internet.*
  • The amount of time children ages 8 to 18 devote to entertainment media (including computer and video games) each day has increased from 6.19 hours in 1999 to 7.38 hours in 2009.**
  • In 2009, 29 percent of American children ages 8 to 18 had their own laptop computer, and kids in grades 7 through 12 reported spending an average of more than 90 minutes a day sending or receiving texts on their cell phones.**

Sitting in front of the computer screen stresses a child’s eyes because it forces them to focus and strain a lot more than any other task. This can put them at an even greater risk than adults for developing symptoms of computer vision syndrome.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), parents should consider these factors affecting children and computer use:

  • Children may not be aware of how much time they are spending at a computer. They may perform a task on the computer for hours with few breaks. This prolonged activity can cause eye focusing and eye strain problems.
  • Children are very adaptable. They assume that what they see and how they see is normal — even if their vision is problematic. That’s why it is important for parents to monitor the time a child spends working at a computer and make sure they have regular eye exams as directed by their optometrist or ophthalmologist.
  • Children are smaller than adults. Since computer workstations often are arranged for adult use, this can change the viewing angle for young children. Computer users should view the screen slightly downward, at a 15-degree angle. Also, if a child has difficulty reaching the keyboard or placing their feet comfortably on the floor, he or she may experience neck, shoulder and/or back pain.

Here are tips to reduce the risk of computer vision syndrome in children, according to the AOA:

  1. Have your child’s vision checked. Before starting school, every child should have a comprehensive eye exam, including near-point (computer and reading) and distance testing.
  2. Limit the amount of time your child spends at the computer without a break. Encourage kids to take 20-second breaks from the computer every 20 minutes to minimize the development of eye focusing problems and eye irritation. (Some eye doctors call this the “20-20 rule.”)
  3. Check the ergonomics of the workstation. For young and small children, make sure the computer workstation is adjusted to their body size. The recommended distance between the monitor and the eye for children is 18 to 28 inches. Viewing the computer screen closer than 18 inches can strain the eyes.
  4. Check the lighting. To reduce glare, windows and other light sources should not be directly visible when sitting in front of the monitor. Reduce the amount of lighting in the room to match the computer screen.

Be sure to check out our large selection of high quality and designer eyeglasses!

Eye Exams for Children

As a parent, you may wonder whether your pre-schooler has a vision problem or when a first eye exam should be scheduled.

Eye exams for children are extremely important. Experts say 5 to 10% of pre-schoolers and 25% of school-aged children have vision problems. Early identification of a child’s vision problem is crucial because, if left untreated, some childhood vision problems can cause permanent vision loss.

When should kids have their eyes examined?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first eye exam at 6 months of age. They should go back to the eye doctor around age 3, then again at about age 5 or 6.

For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually.

Early eye exams also are important because children need the following basic visual skills for learning:

  • Near vision
  • Distance vision
  • Eye teaming (binocularity) skills
  • Eye movement skills
  • Focusing skills
  • Peripheral awareness
  • Eye/hand coordination

Scheduling your child’s eye exam

Your family doctor or pediatrician likely will be the first medical professional to examine your child’s eyes. If eye problems are suspected during routine physical examinations, they may refer an optometrist for further evaluation. Eye doctors have specific equipment and training to help them detect and diagnose vision problems.

When scheduling an eye exam, choose a time when your child is usually alert and happy. Specifics of how eye exams are conducted depend on your child’s age, but an exam generally will involve a case history, vision testing, determination of whether eyeglasses are needed, testing of eye alignment, an eye health examination and a consultation with you regarding the findings.

After you’ve made the appointment, you’ll fill out a form all about your child’s health. The health history form will ask about your child’s birth history (also called perinatal history), such as birth weight and whether or not the child was full-term. Your eye doctor also may ask whether complications occurred during the pregnancy or delivery. The form will also inquire about current medications and past or present allergies.

Be sure to tell your eye doctor if your child has a history of prematurity, has delayed motor development, engages in frequent eye rubbing, blinks excessively, fails to maintain eye contact, cannot seem to maintain a gaze while looking at objects, has poor eye tracking skills or has failed a pediatrician or pre-school vision screening.

Your eye doctor will also want to know about your child’s previous ocular diagnoses and treatments like surgeries and glasses or contact lens wear. Be sure you inform your eye doctor if there is a family history of eye problems requiring vision correction, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, misaligned eyes (strabismus) or amblyopia (“lazy eye”).

Eye testing for infants

It takes some time for a baby’s vision skills to develop. To assess whether your infant’s eyes are developing normally, your eye doctor may use one or more of the following tests:

  • Tests of pupil responses evaluate whether the eye’s pupil opens and closes properly in the presence or absence of light.
  • “Fixate and follow” testing determines whether your baby can fixate on an object (such as a light) and follow it as it moves. Infants should be able to perform this task quite well by the time they are 3 months old.
  • Preferential looking involves using cards that are blank on one side with stripes on the other side to attract the gaze of an infant to the stripes. In this way, vision capabilities can be assessed.

Eye testing for pre-school children

Pre-school children can have their eyes thoroughly tested even if they don’t yet know the alphabet or are too shy to answer the doctor’s questions. Some common eye tests used specifically for young children include:

  • LEA Symbols for young children are similar to regular eye tests using charts with letters, except that special symbols in these tests include an apple, house, square and circle.
  • Retinoscopy is a test that involves shining a light into the eye to observing how it reflects from the retina (the light-sensitive inner lining of the back of the eye). This test helps eye doctors determine the child’s eyeglass prescription.
  • Random Dot Stereopsis uses dot patterns to determine how well the two eyes work as a team.

Eye and vision problems that affect children

Besides looking for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism (refractive errors), your eye doctor will be examining your child’s eyes for signs of these eye and vision problems commonly found in young children:

  • Amblyopia. Also commonly called “lazy eye,” this is decreased vision in one or both eyes despite the absence of any eye health problem or damage. Common causes of amblyopia include strabismus (see below) and a significant difference in the refractive errors of the two eyes. Treatment of amblyopia may include patching the dominant eye to strengthen the weaker eye.
  • Strabismus. This is misalignment of the eyes, often caused by a congenital defect in the positioning or strength of muscles that are attached to the eye and which control eye positioning and movement. Left untreated, strabismus can cause amblyopia in the misaligned eye. Depending on its cause and severity, surgery may be required to treat strabismus.
  • Convergence insufficiency. This is the inability to keep the eye comfortably aligned for reading and other near tasks. Convergence insufficiency can often be successfully treated with vision therapy, a specific program of eye exercises.
  • Focusing problems. Children with focusing problems (also called accommodation problems) may have trouble changing focus from distance to near and back again (accommodative infacility) or have problems maintaining adequate focus for reading (accommodative insufficiency). These problems often can be successfully treated with vision therapy.
  • Eye teaming problems. Many eye teaming (binocularity) problems are more subtle than strabismus. Deficiencies in eye teaming skills can cause problems with depth perception and coordination.

Vision and learning

Experts say that 80% of what your child learns in school is presented visually. Undetected vision problems can put them at a significant disadvantage. Be sure to schedule a complete eye exam for your child prior to the start of school.