Fall Allergies

Dr. Tucker

It’s that time of year. The leaves are changing, the temperature’s dropping and everyone is yelling, “Go Big Red!” Hopefully, they aren’t talking about your itchy, watery eyes.

Fall allergies can make things very difficult for people. Ragweed is very active this time of year and according to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health department, the rates for ragweed pollen in August and September are very high.

There are a few things you can do to get relief:

1. Avoid the allergens. Staying inside with the windows closed is one way to avoid the allergic trigger and can help you find relief. Also wearing glasses, sunglasses or goggles outside can help you stay away from the pollen. 

2. Ask your doctor about antihistamine drops. It is the histamine in your eyes that creates the itching sensation. When you rub your eyes you activate the histamine making the problem worse. Your optometrist can recommend an over-the-counter solution or can write you a prescription for special drops.

3. Consider daily disposable lenses. Allergies can actually stick to the surface of your contact lenses. While proper cleaning can eliminate some of the allergen build up, switching to daily wear can significantly reduce your exposure to allergens. You can throw the contaminated contacts away and start with a fresh new pair every day.

If you suffer from fall allergies and would like to find even more solutions, schedule an appointment with your optometrist. We would love to be able to find the right solution for you.


Browse Online and Shop with the Experts

Mindy McCormick
by Mindy McCormick

Life can be crazy with work, school activities and errands; that is why online shopping can really be helpful. It’s one thing to buy clothes or theater tickets online, but when it comes to your eyewear, it’s better to browse online and then shop with an expert. 

In a recent study, researchers discovered that nearly half of all glasses (44.8%) ordered online either contained an inaccurate prescription or didn’t meet the safety standards designed to protect the eyes.

When you purchase eyewear from EyeCare Specialties, your glasses are fitted to your face and to your lifestyle. Our optometrists and opticians work together to make sure that your lens prescription is accurately portrayed in your frames.

EyeCare Specialties Frame Experts (Opticians) will help you select frames that not only flatter your features, but will work best with the types of lenses your optometrist recommends. They will also help situate the position of the frames and lenses on your face so that you are realizing your ideal vision, measuring optimal pupil distance and making sure your frames are comfortable.

Finally, ordering your frames online can be risky if the retailer has a substandard return policy. Other questions that you should consider are: Do they offer any warranties? Are there additional costs for shipping or “extras”? Do they accept your insurance? Will they help you with routine maintenance and fittings?

But of course, it is fun to browse online. 

We'd like to introduce you to the perfect pair.That’s why we are introducing our Online Frame Browsing feature. We want to encourage our patients to browse online before their appointments. This will save you precious time after your eye exam as your Frame Expert will be ready with the frames you want to try on. 

Our online frame browsing feature allows you to search by women’s, men’s, and kid’s frames. You can also filter your search by color, rim type, price and more. Simply login and choose your favorites. Then our Frame Experts will have them ready for you to try on at your appointment. 

Our hope is that we can combine the convenience of browsing online and pair it with the expertise of our Frame Experts. This way, you know you will be completely taken care of. 

As with all EyeCare Specialties purchases, we offer our Warranty Plus plan. We also accept many forms of insurance and make sure that you know exactly what is included with your purchase. Our Frame Experts will even be available after your purchase for routine maintenance and can help tighten screws, replace nose pads and fix any minor problems.

We hope you like what you see as you browse our large selection of frames and sunglasses online. Simply email us your order and we will connect with you to make sure you get the perfect frames and fit. 

Source: “A Closer Look at Ordering Eyeglasses Online” from the American Optometric Association.

Reading and Vision Therapy

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Did you know that 80% of what we learn in school comes from our vision? Much of that comes from how well we can read. Reading is fundamental to a child’s success in school and truly forms the foundation of our education.

At EyeCare Specialties Vision Therapy Program, we treat students who struggle with reading due to a vision disorder. We often find those students also have problems with other subjects like math, history, science, geography and technology. Our goal is to examine the student and determine if the child may be struggling with a vision disorder that is affecting their learning abilities.

There are over 20 different visual skills involved in the process of reading, but for teachers and parents looking for more information, the American Optometric Association (aoa.org) categorizes these skills in seven key areas: visual acuity, visual fixation, accommodation, binocular fusion, convergence, field of vision and form perception. Of those seven skills, only one is routinely covered in a basic eye screening done at the pediatrician’s office.

Visual acuity is the ability to see clearly. This is the skill the basic eye chart measures at the pediatrician’s or school nurse’s office. The test usually measures how clearly a child can see both close-up and at a distance of up to 20 feet. If there is a problem with seeing objects clearly, the student should be referred for a comprehensive exam with an optometrist.

Visual fixation is the ability to aim the eyes on fixed or moving objects. The ability to fixate vision requires split second timing in order for the eyes to transmit information immediately to the brain. Just a slight delay can cause comprehension and fluency problems which can be discouraging to the young learner.

Accommodation is the ability to refocus the eyes back and forth between different points of focus. In the classroom, this would mean being able to transition between focusing on the board in class to text on a desk. This extremely important during tests and other activities that require quick changes in focus.

Binocular fusion is the ability for both eyes to work together at the same time. When a child has eyes that fail to work together properly, one eye can overcompensate for the other, resulting in decreasing vision in the underutilized eye. A child with a binocular vision disorder may be found closing one eye when trying to read.

Convergence is the ability for both eyes to turn inward in order to focus on close up images. Because most school work is done at a close proximity, this is an important skill to have.

Field of vision is the entire picture that the eyes see. The ability to see out of the corner of one’s eye is important to the process of reading. Having good center vision and peripheral vision will help the child receive all vision cues that are important for learning.

Visual and form perception are links between the shapes of objects being seen and the brain’s interpretation of those shapes. When a child struggles with form perception, it can slow down the reading process and make it difficult for the child to increase reading fluency.

A comprehensive eye exam will discover if a student is struggling in any of those areas. Treatment could include corrective lenses, vision therapy or both.

Vision Therapy is a series of treatments and exercised designed to address any of the above situations. We will customize a course of treatment for each patient with a goal of increasing the student’s reading fluency, comprehension and vocabulary.

I have found that when a child’s vision problems are addressed, his/her confidence soars. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a child who previously struggled with reading and schoolwork, become motivated to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Information from aoa.org and education.com.

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