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!

Say What?! Performance Eyecare Checks Your Eyesight AND Your Hearing!

Hey, listen up! Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans have hearing loss in at least one ear? That’s right! That comes out to be about 48 million people.

 Just because we care for your eyes doesn’t mean we ignore everything else! In fact, our optometrists are focused on providing you with excellent eye care AND improving your total health. That’s why we’re pleased to offer all of our patients hearing services in our office with the help of Hearing Professionals of America.

When you come in for your annual eye exam, we will conduct a FREE one-minute hearing screening to test for any and all hearing loss you may have. Loss of hearing can range from minor loss from wax build-up to serious loss due to health problems such as cancerous tumors.

In case you do not pass the hearing screening, you will be scheduled with our on-staff hearing specialist who will perform comprehensive hearing evaluation for you! He will then determine if you will need any hearing devices or not.

So if you’re experiencing anything out of the norm with your hearing, find it difficult to understand a conversation in a noisy restaurant, or have found that your loved ones have been constantly complaining that you set the volume too high on the TV or the car radio, then you don’t have to worry. You can just come in to see us at Performance Eyecare, and we’ll make sure your hearing is up to par.

Whether it concerns your vision or your hearing, you can be confident that we have your best interest in mind.

Is Your Eyesight in Need of Protection During the Winter? We Say YES!

Snow lovers everywhere are gearing up for winter to officially hit, and many are wondering if this year’s winter will be a winter wonderland or a mild season. Many forecasters are calling for more wintery precipitation than last year in the St. Louis area.

You might be one of the many who dread winter and are currently putting away your shorts, flip-flops, and swimsuits for the rest of the year. One important “summer” item that you shouldn’t put away – your sunglasses!

You may not realize it, but spending a day in the snow can be much harder and detrimental to your eyes than a day at the beach. That’s because snow reflects nearly 80% of the sun’s rays, which means that more harmful ultraviolet rays are directed into your unprotected eyes.

Hours of bright sunlight can actually burn the surface of your eyes. This causes a temporary yet painful condition called photokeratitis. As time passes, unprotected exposure to the sun can contribute to cataracts and even cancer of the eyelids and to the skin around the eyes. Ultraviolet exposure can also increase your risk of macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65.

Winter Eye Protection

How do you ensure that your eyes are protected during the winter? Easy! Wear the proper eye gear.

When you go outside to build a snowman, take a walk in the snow, start a snow fight, or attempt to drive to work in the snowy wonderland, always wear a pair of sunglasses that will block out the harmful ultraviolet light. Make sure that your sunglasses can block out 100% of UV light. Remember, just because the lenses are dark doesn’t guarantee that they will block out 100% of the light.

If you plan on hitting the slopes this winter, be sure to wear protective eyewear. Goggles or sunglasses should do the trick and should help ensure your safety.

Most importantly of all, please do remember to wear sunglasses while on the road. Too often we are blinded by the bright light reflecting off the snow, and this can cause harm to ourselves and others around us. Avoid any and all accidents by wearing sunglasses so you can see where you are going.

If you’re looking for the perfect pair of sunglasses for you to wear during the winter (and the rest of the year, too!), come see us. We have hundreds of frames for you to choose from. Protect your vision this winter with help from your friends at Performance Eyecare!

The 7 Must-Know Tips For Purchasing Glasses for Your Child

Buying your child’s first pair of glasses can be a very exciting time, but it can also become a confusing and very overwhelming endeavor if you’re not certain what to look for. After all, there are so many choices available out there when it comes to eyewear that it’s nearly impossible to choose the perfect frame! What’s a parent to do?

Sometimes, your optometrist might make a specific recommendation about which frames would work best for your child, but usually that choice is yours alone to make. To make the decision easier on you, check out our 7 most essential tips for purchasing eyeglasses for your child!

Through Thick and Thin

Your child’s prescription is always the most important choice when it comes to selecting glasses, and you should consult with your optician about the lenses before you choose the frames. As a rule of thumb, if your child’s lenses are thick, try to find the lightest frame for them so the glasses won’t be so heavy. Keep in mind also that smaller lenses usually have fewer higher-order aberrations near the end of the lenses than larger lenses do so blurred or distorted peripheral vision shouldn’t be a big problem for your child.

Lens Material Matters

In addition to the thinness and thickness of your child’s lenses, you must also be sure that the lens material will not only help your child to see but will also protect his or her eyesight. Lenses should be made of polycarbonate or a material called Trivex. These materials are lightweight and can take much more tough love than other lens materials. They also usually include protection against potentially harmful ultraviolet rays and are coated with scratch resistant materials. Ask your optician’s opinion on the matter if you’re in doubt.

Metal or Plastic

Frames are made of two types of material – metal (that is, wire) or plastic. In the past, plastic was a popular choice because it was seen as more durable and lighter in weight and in price, but anymore, manufacturers are making metal frames that have the same advantages as plastic frames. When in doubt, be sure to ask your optician which material is the better choice for your child.

Take It to the Bridge

Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of the entire decision is the bridge fit of the frames. After all, children’s noses aren’t yet fully developed, so glasses can have a tendency to slide down a child’s face, especially when they’re playing. Many frames, especially metal ones, tend to be made with adjustable nose pads to help fit the glasses to everyone’s bridge, so keep a look out for frames with nose pads!

Choose Your Earpiece Style

Essentially, there are two types of earpiece styles: cable temples, which feature a more curved earpiece that reaches around the ear, and standard temples, which are a straight edge. Cable temples tend to be very advantageous for very young children or for times when children are playing since they tend to not slide off the child’s face. Standard temples are great for those who wear glasses only some of the time since they are easier to take on and off.

Find the Cool Frames

Wearing glasses usually subjects the child to a good amount of teasing, especially when they’re wearing them for the first time. Try to avoid frames that aren’t pricey, inappropriate for their age, or make them look “uncool.” Remember, the real goal is to get your child to keep wearing his or her glasses, so make sure that they like the glasses that you choose!

Plan B

Children can be pretty tough on eyewear, so it might be a good idea to have an extra pair of glasses just in case the pair that you plan on having them wear is lost or broken. An extra pair is particularly advantageous for children who have strong prescriptions and can’t function without the use of their glasses.

If you’re ready to pick out your child’s eyeglasses, don’t wander around in the dark! Stop by to see us at Performance Eyecare for all of your eyecare needs.

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.

We Answer Common Questions Our Patients Have About Contact Lenses

Q:  How can I be certain that I can wear contact lenses?
A: We can assure you if you are a great candidate for contact lenses, especially with the advanced technology that our office utilizes. For example, did you know there are bifocal contact lenses for those with presbyopia and lenses for our patients who suffer from astigmatism?

Q: Will the contact lens get lost or stuck behind my eye?
A: Believe it or not, we get this question all the time and the quick answer is no! It is going to take time to adjust to wearing your new contacts, but most people do not even realize or remember that they are wearing them; that is how comfortable they are. And, if you do experience discomfort, we can recommend several remedies for you once we are able to pinpoint the cause of irritation.

Q: Are contact lenses comfortable to wear?
A: For almost everyone, the answer is yes! We use a soft contact lens on most patients which can stick to the lens of your eye when your eye or contact lens is dry, however; simple re-moisturizing by applying saline solution or contact lens solution will bring you back to a comfortable state of vision.

Q: Are they hard to take care of?
A: It does take a responsible patient to take care of their contact lenses, just as it does someone who is wearing glasses with frames. Cleaning & disinfecting your lenses is quick, painless and easy! Or, Performance Eyecare also offers disposable lenses that you can toss out at the end of your day; never having to worry about cleaning them.

Q: Will I experience other eye problems once using contact lenses?
A: If you follow the instructions of contact lens care that our optometrist will give you, then you are less likely to develop any eye problems or infections. Before you leave our eye care offices, we will be sure you are sure how long you are to wear your prescribed lenses, how frequently you should replace them and how to care for them when they are not being used.

Q: What if I can’t get them into my eye?
A: It is going to seem difficult at first, as this is your first time placing something into your eye. Rest assured, our eye care professionals will make sure you feel comfortable knowing how to place and remove your lens before leaving the office.

Q: Is it more expensive to get contact lenses than glasses?
A: Surprisingly, contact lenses can be less expensive than some of our leading brand name eyeglasses. If money is your concern, do not hesitate to talk with our eye care staff as we will make sure you understand the wonderful and cost effective investment you are making for your vision.

Q: Am I too old for them?
A: How old is too old? All of our patients are applicable recipients to wearing contact lenses at the authorization of the Performance Eyecare optometrists. The answer may surprise you, but on your next visit just ask your eye care doctor if you are a good candidate for contact lenses.

For more questions you may have about contact lenses, or the type of services we offer, please contact us online or call us at the location nearest you!

Specialty Eyewear

Just as “one-size-fits-all” doesn’t always fit, neither does one pair of eyeglasses for all situations.

Whether you want optimum vision and comfort for a specific activity, such as computer use, work, hobbies or driving, or you need glasses that provide an extra margin of safety for work or recreation, special-purpose eyeglasses will usually meet these needs better than your “everyday” glasses.

Computer glasses

If you spend much time in front of a computer, you probably already know that eye strain, fatigue and muscle strains are common problems associated with prolonged computer use. “Computer glasses” have lenses that are specially-designed to maximize your vision at the intermediate and close-up distances you use during computer work. Computer-specific eye wear will give you the best correction for these distances and help reduce eyestrain.

Reading and hobbies

If you wear bifocals, you may find you have to tip your head back slightly to use the reading portion of the lens. That’s fine for most things, but if you want to sit and read a novel, this head-back posture can cause neck discomfort and fatigue. Often, a pair of single vision reading glasses are a much better solution for prolonged reading and other detailed near vision tasks, such as sewing or needlepoint work.

Working in the yard or with power tools

Lawn mowers, power trimmers, grinding tools and other power tools can all cause serious eye injuries from high-speed projectiles. Even something as simple as hammering a nail can cause flying debris. Safety glasses are a must for these activities.

Sports Eye Wear

Did you know that wearing specially-tinted eyeglass lenses can improve your visual acuity on the tennis court, golf course or on the slopes? Sport-specific eyewear can enhance performance by improving visual clarity while protecting your eyes from injury.

Driving glasses

Driving glasses come in two different categories: sunglasses designed specifically for driving and clear prescription driving glasses. Many sunglasses made for driving feature polarized lenses to reduce glare and special tints to enhance contrast for safer, more comfortable vision on the road on sunny days. Eyeglasses for night driving should include your distance prescription and anti-reflective (AR) coating to reduce the glare from streetlights and oncoming headlights and allow more light to reach your eyes for better vision on dark roadways.

We can help

Nearly everyone can benefit from specialty eyewear. Let us know about all the different things you like to do, and we can tell you about the best special-purpose eyewear to fit your needs.

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.

Dry Eye Syndrome

How Do I Know If I Have Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome is caused by chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of your eye. This is more common among women. Although there is no determining factor for this, we believe dry eyes could possibly be due to hormonal fluctuations.

Symptoms You May Have Dry Eye Syndrome

  1. Blurriness
  2. Sensitivity to light
  3. Irritation from windy conditions
  4. Fatigued eyes, especially at the end of the day
  5. Irritation, or problems wearing contact lenses
  6. Gritty or scratchy feelings
  7. Excessive tearing
  8. Red eyes

If you suffer from any of the above, get in touch with your local Performance Eyecare office to take a look and possibly diagnose for treatment.

Possible Causes

  1. Heavy reading, or excessive digital device use
  2. LASIK eye surgery
  3. Prolonged contacts lens wearing
  4. Living or working in dry environments
  5. Diets lacking in fatty acids
  6. Certain prescriptions such as allergy drugs, beta-blockers, etc
  7. Deficiency of tear-producing glands
  8. Certain health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, lupus & more

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.