Learn Your Macular Degeneration Risk at EyeCare Specialties

Do you or someone you know have Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are currently 1.8 million people with AMD and 7.3 million are at risk for the disease. AMD is currently the leading cause of blindness in adults 55 and older and studies estimate that 1 in 3 adults over age 65 will be diagnosed with AMD.

Many of you have probably heard of macular degeneration but may not be exactly sure what it is. The macula, a highly-pigmented spot about the size of a pencil eraser, has the highest concentration of visual cells in the retina and is responsible for your fine-detailed central and color vision. Over time, the macula can deteriorate which can progressively lead to blindness. Many of us think of blindness like living in a dark cave. AMD, however, affects your central vision, leaving your peripheral vision intact. This can leave a dark or empty spot right in the area of our vision we use most and take for granted. We use our macula for many of our daily tasks, such as driving, watching TV, working on your computer or smartphone, or reading the newspaper. Major risk factors for macular degeneration include uncontrollable factors like age, family history (genetics), female gender, and light skin and eyes. Factors you can control are smoking, excessive sun exposure, obesity, cardiovascular disease, poor diet, and lack of exercise. Studies have also shown that low protective pigment levels in the macula of lutein and zeaxanthin are also risk factors. Lutein and zeaxanthin are nutrients we get through our diets or by taking nutritional supplements. Scientists have found that the higher the concentration of these nutrients we have, the better protected we are against AMD.

At EyeCare Specialties we are able to measure the amounts of these key nutrients in your retina using an instrument called the Quantifeye. This painless device gives us a reading of your Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD). Once we have this number we are better able to assess your level of AMD risk. Quantifeye is currently only available at our Beatrice location.

Macular degeneration can be a devastating ocular disease but there are steps you can take to help better protect yourself. Start by eating a diet of dark, green leafy vegetables and colorful fruits, eat fish rich in Omega 3’s several times per week, get plenty of exercise, and if you smoke, Stop! Don’t forget to wear your sunglasses to better protect against harmful UV radiation and give EyeCare Specialties a call to set up a time to have your MPOD tested. EyeCare Specialties also carries dietary supplements that can help decrease your risk of developing or possibly slow the progression of macular degeneration.


Eyewear: The Finishing Touch to Any Wardrobe

Eyeglasses can be more than functional: they can serve as the finishing touch – or main focus – of your wardrobe. At EyeCare Specialties, we update our frame lines frequently so you have the latest designer options to choose from. Each designer has a different personality. We hope you find the designer and frames that match your personality and lifestyle. Some of our favorite lines are listed below; you can find these and more at our locations.

Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen has been a fashion icon for years. His eyewear ties together influences of modern and traditional design. His designs incorporate the use of contrasting materials like titanium and natural wood for a modern twist. We like these frames because they are artistic and sophisticated.

HUGO BOSS is known for classic, well-made style. These frames are smooth and sophisticated. Many people like them because they are elegant and timeless. These frames will take you from work into evening without worry.

Jimmy Choo
Jimmy Choo sunglasses reflect the same highly-fashionable yet wearable style as its creator’s luxury shoe line. The British designer features youthful, innovative eyewear designs with classic elegance and stunning beauty. These frames are modern without being ostentatious.

Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs’ eyewear collection gives a nod to vintage style, crafted with subtle designs and attention to detail. This youthful line provides elegance
that enhances anyone’s style and adds a bold, sophisticated look.

Kenneth Cole New York & Kenneth Cole Reaction
Kenneth Cole’s eyewear lines capture both sides of the coin. Kenneth Cole New York captures the essence of the urban young professional while Kenneth Cole Reaction offers stylish, affordable frames with a contemporary twist.

Tom Ford
We love Tom Ford eyewear collection because it pairs classic style with quality and authentic materials. Tom Ford is fashion-forward no matter what your style. The women’s frames are elegant while the men’s frames are masculine. Tom Ford is an EyeCare Specialties favorite for customers and employees alike.


Sports Vision: How to Keep Your Eyes Safe

When you think of sports equipment, what comes to mind? Probably bats, gloves and balls; maybe jerseys and kneepads. What you probably don’t think of is eyewear. Sports eyewear is an extremely important, and an often overlooked, necessity when it comes to playing your favorite games.

Sports can be extremely visually demanding. There are two categories when it comes to sports eyewear. First, you probably want to improve your game. When playing, the eyes move in rapid and precise ways, which helps the brain interpret and predict things like an object’s path and speed. It is also important to see the contrast of objects, for example, finding a fly ball against a cloudless blue sky.

The second category is ocular safety. When playing sports, there are many uncontrollable elements that can be detrimental to your eye health. There are the obvious hazards like balls and objects that are swung – bats, racquets, hooks and even hands – but there are also environmental objects like sand, dirt, grass, turf, and pieces of broken equipment that can all come in contact with your eyes, often at high speeds.

At the very least, we recommend contact lenses for sports because of the increased peripheral range of vision without the risk of a frame damaging your face or eyes. Though sport-specifc eyewear is the best option, contacts are still better than regular prescription frames.

While EyeCare Specialties does offer urgent eye care services, we want you to take preventative steps and keep your eyes safe. Below is a list of some common (and not so common) sports and the benefits of sport-specific eyewear.

Airsoft: Airsoft pellets travel at high speeds, which means you need eyewear that will stand up to the challenge. Airsoft glasses are lightweight and have high-level UV protection along with the impact-resistance to keep your eyes safe.

Baseball: Those sunglasses your favorite major league player wears aren’t just for looks. The lenses are specially made to withstand high-velocity impacts that may occur in baseball.

Cycling: Cycling puts you outside, often during sunny hours, and moving at high speeds. We recommend lenses that are polarized, impact-resistant and lightweight for comfort.

Basketball: Basketball can be a sport of flying elbows. Basketball eyewear helps protect your eyes, and sometimes your nose, from impact. A good eyeguard will be shatter-proof with facial padding and anti-fog to help you see clearly.

Fishing: While fishing is often viewed as a relaxing activity, there are plenty of risks to your eyes, as well as benefits of specific lenses. Polarized glasses help you see into the water, which makes seeing the fish and any underwater hazards much easier. They also protect against flying hooks or pieces of debris that may get tossed into the air.

Racquet sports: Racquetball is one of those sports where it’s obvious that you should have protective eyewear. There are several dangers, including the size and velocity of the ball and swinging racquets. Most racquetball courts require eyewear before entering. If you play often, it is a smart idea to purchase your own pair of glasses that fit you well and are fog-resistant for when the match gets intense.

Shooting: Whether shooting for target practice or competition, protective eyewear is vital when your eyes are in close proximity to projectiles. Shooting glasses are lightweight and comfortable with UV protection and polarizing tint to help visual contrast. They are also safe against high-velocity impacts that may occur from shell casings and other items.

Snowboarding/Skiing: Because UV exposure increases with altitude and the light is reflected off the snow, it is extremely important to make sure that your goggles have a high UV protection factor. They should also fit comfortably and have an anti-fog coating to keep your vision clear on the way down the slopes.


UV Protection is a Hot Topic!

By now, I hope that everyone is aware of the importance of protecting our skin from harmful UV rays. Our eyes should be no exception because they are equally affected by the damaging effects of sunlight. There are some important factors to look for when choosing your sunglasses.

The most important thing is UVA and UVB protection. Not sure if your sunglasses protect against both? If you are buying your sunglasses at a convenience store, chances are you are getting the bare minimum UV protection required by law (UVB only) in a material not suited for optimal vision. UVB radiation causes sunburns, so it stands to reason that we want to protect ourselves from that. Most sunglasses have UVB protection. The windshield of your vehicle, however, also offers decent protection from these wavelengths. UVA radiation, on the other hand, is the more damaging wavelength to skin and eye tissue. Wrinkles, cataracts, macular degeneration, and age spots are all caused by UVA. Our windshield does not protect us from these wavelengths nearly as well. It takes a quality pair of sunglasses to block 100% of both UVA and UVB light. Designer names like Oakley and Maui Jim always provide full UVA and UVB protection in a superior optical quality material.

That brings us to the second most important thing. Good sunglasses will not adversely affect the clarity of your vision. Just like your prescription eyeglasses, your sunglasses should be optical quality. Have you ever noticed that non-prescription sunglasses can give you a headache and make you feel that your vision is not as clear and crisp? That is because poor quality materials cause visual discomfort. When you buy a pair of designer sunglasses, you can be sure that your visual quality will not suffer.

To enhance the quality of your vision even more, I recommend polarized sunglasses. Polarized lenses have a built-in filter that reduces the blinding glare from surfaces such as water, snow, and chrome. Polarization helps reduce the intermittent blind spots in your vision when you are dazzled by a very bright light. These lenses are the best for driving, boating, or any other outdoor activities. In a recent industry survey, polarized lenses scored the highest among consumers. 98% of people who purchased polarized lenses said they would choose it for their next pair of sunglasses. They come in various tints to best suit your lifestyle and preference.

Sunglasses are a great way to look good and see great! Please stop in and see our wide variety of sunwear. We’ll help get you in a pair that suits your vision needs and keeps your eyes healthy.


See Us First for Your Urgent Eye Care

During the course of their lifetime, most people will encounter an urgent eye injury or illness. The optometrists at EyeCare Specialties have a wealth of experience in diagnosing and treating a wide range of urgent eye care needs. We have created Urgent Eye Care Services so we can be more available in case a problem with your vision occurs.

During the summer months as people spend more time working outside, we see an increase in cases of foreign objects, like dirt or sawdust, in the eye. Often, debris gets into the eye and can scratch or damage tissue. The object usually needs to be removed and treated with medication. To avoid the possibility of eye injuries, remember to wear safety glasses when trimming your lawn and hedges, cutting tree branches or working on home improvement projects.

As summer turns to fall, cases of “pink eye” appear more, which coincides with children going back to school and the cold and flu season. This infection is important to treat early because it can be highly contagious. If left untreated for too long, pink eye can lead to scarring, which affects vital parts of the eye.

Throughout the year, we see many patients visit our office with flashes and floaters. Any time these symptoms occur, we recommend that you have your optometrist do an immediate check because it may be linked to a problem with retinal tears or detachments.

We take great pride in being eye care specialists, which is why we offer services to be available when you need us most. Our Urgent Eye Care Services are available six days a week. Our optometrists have advanced diagnostic equipment and are prepared to treat your eye health problems. When an unexpected problem occurs, see us first for specialized, professional urgent eye care.