Blog & News

True Tear Technology

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TrueTear  is the latest technology in temporary tear production for Dry Eye sufferers. The prescription device uses neurostimulation to send tiny pulses of energy through your nose to stimulate tear production. The pulses activate a natural response, so your tears are all your own.

TrueTear is state-of-the-art technology in eye care that is easy to use. It is a drop-free, drug-free option. It works quickly and puts you in control. The treatments are well-tolerated with mild side effects.

How it Works

  1. The tips of the TrueTear device are inserted in your nostrils where they stimulate a nerve within your nasal cavity with tiny pulses of energy.
  2. You brain receives these nerve signals, then sends them to you tear glands around your eyes to temporarily increase tear production.
  3. The glands surrounding your eyes react and temporarily produce true tears, real tears that are all your own.

FAQs

These selected FAQs are from truetear.com. For a full list of FAQs, click here.
How do I know if the stimulation is working?
You are stimulating the correct location if you feel a tingling sensation in your nose and your eyes begin to tear.

How soon will I feel my eyes tear?
Tearing can occur within seconds. Depending on your individual anatomy and tear deficiency, tearing can take a shorter or longer time.

How often and how long do I need to use the device?
The device is capable of single-day stimulation up to a limit of 30 minutes. Stimulation longer than 3 minutes per session is not recommended, and the patient should wait for at least 60 minutes before stimulating again. For most patients, using the device at least twice a day as needed is recommended. Refer to the Instructions for Use or check with your eye doctor.

Will I experience nasal pain while using TrueTear?
In a 180-day study, 10 out of 97 patients (10.3%) reported nasal pain, discomfort or burning. If you experience pain, discomfort or burning while using TrueTear, remove the device immediately and report this adverse event to 1-800-678-1605 and talk to your eye doctor.

What does the TrueTear mobile app do?
The app is designed to help you view and track your device usage and battery level, learn more ways for using the device, and get assistance if you encounter any problems with the device. Since environmental conditions such as humidity, temperature, pollen count, and pollution index may affect your eyes, these and other local weather information are shown throughout the app.

Spotlight on Jill, Fremont Location Manager

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Jill Luebbert is the Location Manager at EyeCare Specialties in Fremont. Being part of the EyeCare Specialties team has allowed the Fremont location to bring even more technology and services to their patients. The location, technology, and team combined with the values of EyeCare Specialties of integrity, compassion, and commitment are the perfect combination. Jill says it is an honor to be part of this team.

It is important for a Location Manager to have team building skills to bring out the best in each employee. Our patients come to us because they trust us for our professional guidance. Each of us needs to be at our highest level of skill for each patient. Location Managers also need to have an ear for listening; Listening to our patients, to our team, to our vendors. Only by paying attention to the needs and desires of the team can we help the team grow and be more effective.

“My favorite part of being involved in eye care with EyeCare Specialties is, without a doubt, the patients,” says Jill. “They impact our lives in amazing ways and it is an honor to know them. We do not take our responsibility lightly. Our recommendations and prescriptions change lives. It is so fulfilling to have them tell us how they appreciate the personal service and quality products.”

Recently, a patient walked in 4 hours early for her appointment because her personal schedule had changed and she could not come in at her appointed time. We worked her into the schedule and utilized our full team to provide her eye care and eyewear needs in the midst of our already filled schedule.

Jill says her parents are her personal heroes and role models. They taught her to be present and always give her best. “As an adult, I know that my parents could take lemons and make lemonade. I don’t recall ever feeling like we were missing something as our home was always full of love,” she says. “Sunday morning, no matter what the weather was, we were seated in the second pew from the front at church. Strength and endurance in tough times with the love of God and love of family just seemed to come so naturally.”

“My family is the core of my personal life,” says Jill. “I just love any moments that we can share with any of them. My 4 year old grandson is determined to teach me how to play his video games. Good thing that he is patient!”

Outside of work, Jill and her husband have a flower and vegetable garden that keeps them pretty busy. They love fresh garden food and preserve some so they can enjoy produce year round.

Jill is also learning to play the acoustic guitar. Music has always been a part of her life and a way for her to find inspiration.

Like all EyeCare Specialties locations, the Fremont location is dedicated to translating the core values to their patients. The care is so personal, you might never guess that EyeCare Specialties is the largest independent optometry practice in Nebraska. The talented optometrists and highly trained staff offer compassionate and innovative optometric care to each patient that enters their doors. From comprehensive eye health exams to the best selection in eyewear, EyeCare Specialties is committed to providing professional and personalized care to their patients.

Veronica’s Vision Therapy Success

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Congratulations to Veronica! Veronica is 8-years-old and a recent graduate of vision therapy at our Center for Vision Development. We were so pleased to help Veronica  improve her focus and do better in school. Her mother, Anne Schutte, a developmental psychologist, shared her story with us. Veronica also filled us in on her experience as well.  

Anne Schutte, mother of Vision Therapy graduate Veronica
When our daughter came home from school complaining about her eyes being blurry when she looked from the board to her paper and vice versa, we were skeptical. I thought that she just wanted to have glasses like her friends. When we went to see Dr. Rachel Smith and went through the various evaluations, we found out that there actually was something wrong. Looking back, we realized that there were other signs of vision issues that we had not attributed to her vision. We realized her eyes, rather than her allergies, were causing her nightly headaches. We also learned that her vision problems explained her struggles with learning to read, as well as her “clumsiness,” and balance issues. After less than two months of therapy, her nightly headaches disappeared completely. This alone made therapy worth it. After about 4 and a half months of therapy, her reading improved (she went from reading simple readers to chapter books), and she started to enjoy reading. We no longer had to force her to read! After finishing therapy, she also appeared more coordinated and had fewer bruises!

I am a development psychologist, so I know how important sensory input is for the development of a multitude of systems. A seemingly minor vision issue can have a cascading effect on many areas of development, including cognition and perception, motor control, and even social development. I am incredibly thankful to Dr. Smith and the vision therapists for the work they do. Success depends on the commitment of the therapists, the child, and the parents. It isn’t easy, but it can be successful, and lead to many positive changes.

Veronica’s story
Vision therapy was a very fun thing. I liked having Ms. Kim as my vision therapist. I liked having it as an experience in my life. Vision therapy helped me to be able to cross and straighten my eyes, and have my eyes work together. Vision therapy helped me when I was in school, because when I looked from the board to the paper it would be blurry sometimes. When I went to the eye doctor I found out I needed vision therapy. Some of the activities were not very fun and some were very fun. One of my favorites was all the games I got to play in between the difficult activities. Vision therapy helped me a lot. It helped me with my ability to focus on things. It helped me in school. Now I can do tests, see the board, and do better in school. Thanks vision therapy!

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

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March is Workplace Eye Wellness month, a time to raise awareness of eye health and safety on the job. This month, EyeCare Specialties is focusing on the awareness of the dangers of blue light, the impact of digital devices on vision, and encouraging eye injury prevention to promote eye health at work. Over 2,000 Americans have an eye injury each day and nearly one million Americans experience some vision loss due to an eye injury.

Work-related eye injuries are not just limited to jobs that require eye safety gear – an office job can be just as hard on your eyes. One common issue is computer vision syndrome where too much screen time without breaks causes headaches, neck pain, back strain, and can even lead to dry eye disease. Staring at a screen prevents you from blinking enough to keep your eyes lubricated and moistened.

  • Adjust your screen away from direct light and use an anti-glare screen.
  • Practice 20-20-20! Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  • Blink regularly to prevent your eyes from becoming too dry.
  • Visit EyeCare Specialties for regular comprehensive eye exams.
Another aspect of workplace eye wellness that often goes overlooked is blue light from all of this digital device usage. About 90% of adults spend more than two hours each day using a digital device. Cumulative blue light exposure has been linked to slow degeneration of the retina, which could affect long-term vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. EyeCare Specialties offers specialized coatings to help protect your eyes from blue light that causes more eye strain and fatigue than other sources of light.

When it comes to the health of your eyes in the workplace or anywhere else, EyeCare Specialties has you covered. Our optometrists and staff offer compassionate and innovative optometric care to each and every patient during Workplace Eye Wellness month and beyond. From comprehensive eye health exams to the best selection in eyewear, EyeCare Specialties is committed to providing professional and personalized care to their patients.

The Science of Tears: Do I Have Dry Eye?

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Do you experience eye dryness, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, or discomfort in windy or dry conditions? What about difficulty performing visual tasks, difficulty wearing contact lenses, frequent use of eye drops, or amplified symptoms later in the day? These are all signs that you may be experiencing a common condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), and commonly referred to as Dry Eye Syndrome.

Basal tears, the name for those that are constantly present in our eyes, are what keep our eyes from drying out completely. The human body produces an average of 5 to 10 ounces of basal tears each day. With each blink, tears spread across the the cornea to wash away keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear.

While tears are necessary for your overall eye health, dry eyes can occur when tear production and drainage is not in balance. Without proper treatment, inadequate tears can make daily activities frustrating, affecting your personal and professional life. Everyday tasks like reading, watching TV, driving, or working on the computer can be more difficult when you are experiencing Dry Eye.

The most common form of Dry Eye is Evaporative Dry Eye, which represents 86% of all Dry Eye cases. Evaporative Dry Eye results from a shortage of oil in your tears caused by a blockage in your eyelid (Meibomian) glands, leading to tears that evaporate faster than normal. Dry Eye can be caused by the natural aging process, medications, certain medical conditions like diabetes and thyroid issues, environmental factors, and more.

LipiFlow is a procedure designed to treat the root cause of Evaporative Dry Eye, blocked Meibomian glands. LipiFlow works by applying directed energy to the eyelid near the affected glands — precisely targeted warmth from the back of the eyelid, and slight pressure from the front. The LipiFlow treatment can unblock glands, interrupt physical deterioration and, in most cases, provide symptom relief.

Lipiflow is a drug-free procedure that improves your gland function. Over 86% of patients with a single Lipiflow procedure showed an improvement in meibomian gland function and dry eye symptoms. We use the LipiFlow System to treat patients right in our office with confidence and efficiency.

If you are suffering from dry, red, irritated eyes, talk to your optometrist about what treatment options would work best for you. To find out more about LipiFlow, check out our Videos page or the LipiFlow page.

Eyesight is Acuity and Vision

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Your eyesight is comprised of the performance of the all the components involved in your visual system. Acuity and vision are two important elements of your total eyesight, and each can have unique issues and challenges.

Acuity is the clearness of your vision and the most common measurement of your eyesight. Acuity is measured by the ability to identify symbols of varied sizes at a specific distance. You’ve probably had many eye exams to test the acuity of your eyes. The acuity of your eyesight is the smallest size that you can clearly identify. For example, an acuity of 20/20 generally means that from 20 feet away you can see as clearly as a person with normal eyesight would see from 20 feet away. An acuity of 20/40 means that from 20 feet away you can see the same as a person with normal eyesight would see from 40 feet away. The maximum acuity of the human eye is generally thought to be around 20/10, which means you can see with more acuity than is thought to be normal.

Vision, on the other hand, refers to a dynamic thought process that creates your comprehension of what you see using your senses to create perception of the world around you. While your acuity will help you read signs clearly at a distance when driving down the road, vision will help you perceive distances between those signs, judge the speed of the car you are passing, merge safely, and notice a pedestrian in the road suddenly.

Each attribute can have specific issues. For example, problems with your eyesight might be an astigmatism where an irregularly shaped cornea or lens makes it difficult for light to focus properly on the retina and vision becomes blurred at any distance. Myopia, or nearsightedness, is another common problem where you cannot see distant objects as clearly as objects that are near. Problems with your vision may include color blindness or amblyopia, where the vision in one eye suffers because the brain and eye are not working properly together.

At EyeCare Specialties, we have specialists that can help you to see your best no matter what element of your eyesight is challenging to you. From Vision Therapy to corrective lenses, we will help you see with your best eyesight possible.

Sources: National Eye Institute (NEI) and American Optometric Association

Protecting Your Vision

Dr. Tucker

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Protecting your vision and prioritizing healthy eyes has wide-reaching health benefits that can help you prevent disease and maintain quality eyesight throughout your life. Following these three tips will help you set yourself up for successful eye health in 2018 and beyond.

Schedule an appointment in 2018!
Schedule an appointment to see us for a comprehensive exam in 2018. Many common eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration can only be revealed through regular exams from your eye doctor. Catching these diseases in their early stages is the best way to protect yourself from vision loss. Even if no disease is detected, an eye exam can reveal common vision problems that many people don’t realize can be improved upon or even prevent further loss with glasses or contact lenses.

Use protective eyewear and sunglasses
Protecting your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays or eye injuries is one of best ways to protect your vision. Fortunately, it has never looked so good on you! Come visit our optical gallery and invest in a pair of sunglasses that block out both UV radiation or quality protective eyewear for sports and other activities.

Manage your health
Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight, and quit smoking as soon as possible. These three health tips will not only improve your overall health, but each of them can lower your risk of developing health conditions and diseases that lead to vision loss.

Sources: The National Eye Institute (NEI)

Myopia in the Modern Age

Dr. Pfeil

Myopia is the technical term for nearsightedness. It means that things at a distance are not clear and easy to see. Once myopia is discovered during a child’s eye exam, it typically increases in children until about the age of 21.

Between the 1970s and the early 2000s, the incidents of myopia in the US almost doubled to 42%. People are losing their distance vision at an alarming rate, and no one really knows why. The cause is debated amongst researchers who have studied everything from the effects of device use to bright sunlight and how eyes focus on far away objects. While the increase in children’s activities surrounding using devices and looking at books indoors might play a role, many studies have shown that spending time outdoors in early childhood reduces the onset of myopia. Some scientists believe it could be related to exposure to sunlight or the opportunity to allow eyes to focus on objects far away.

While the exact cause may not be clear, we can slow down myopia in children by using contact lenses that slow down the progression of nearsightedness so that the child does not develop as high of a degree of myopia. Not only does this mean that the child’s vision will clearer, but the health risks associated with myopia, such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, and cataracts, can also be slowed down to help the child live their life to the fullest.

For more information on correcting myopia, check out our video with Dr. Todd Pfeil.

 
Sources: National Eyes Institute, Wired Magazine

Winter and Your Eyes

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Winter sports, cozy fires, and bright white landscapes can all take their toll on your eyes over the coldest season of the year. Don’t let good vision go bad! Take a few precautions to ensure safe and healthy eyes this season.

The sun is out

Winter can be even more damaging for your eyes than the summer since the brightness of the snow can actually double ultraviolet (UV) ray damage to your eyes when the sun’s rays reflect from the snow. These UV rays can put you at greater risk for cataracts and other eye conditions, and UV rays reflected from the snow can actually burn your eyes.

Don’t forget to use sunglasses that block UV light, and consider a visor for extended activities on particularly bright days.

The heat is up

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but as temperatures drop the air holds less humidity. The hot air from a cozy fire can also both irritate and dry your eyes, especially if you suffer from Dry Eye Disease, a chronic condition that impacts the production of tears.

When enjoying a fire, or even a heater, take breaks from direct heat, sit further away, and use eye drops to keep our eyes moist.

Winter allergies and irritants

Unfortunately, irritants from pet dander to mold are amplified in the winter months when you’re shut indoors, especially in milder years before frosts and freezes kill off the pollen. Allergy sufferers can find themselves with dry, itchy eyes over the winter months.

Consider using dust free, artificial decorations or electric fires to avoid natural irritants. You may also use a humidifier/dehumidifier to keep the air inside your home between 30% – 50% humidity.

Wear goggles

Winter’s outdoor activities can expose you to slush, ice, and other debris. Sporting activities like skiing, snowboarding, and sledding expose your eyes to particles that can irritate and scratch your eyes, not to mention put you at risk for a crash with trees and branches that can damage your eyes. Use goggles with built in UV protection during winter sports for maximum protection.

If you are experiencing particularly uncomfortable, dry eyes this winter, contact your eye doctor about your symptoms. Seek treatment immediately if you feel as though your eyes have been damaged.

Source: WebMD

Healthy Eye Development in Infants

Dr. Tucker

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Vision is a skill, and babies need to learn to see just as they learn to walk, talk, and make friends. Over time, babies learn to focus their eyes on different objects and learn to use their eyes together to communicate with their brain. At about six to eight months, most babies can visually see the world with a developed clarity similar to adults, however the baby’s brain doesn’t process that visual information at nearly the same level. It takes a lot of work for baby to learn to see. This vision development timeline explains some of the stages along the way to clear vision.

Newborn

Newborn babies can see up to 12 inches away, which is usually just about to the face of anyone holding baby. Beyond that, a newborn can detect shapes, light, and movement. Babies are drawn to high contrast patterns and faces at this stage because nearly everything else is a blur. Many newborns struggle to use their eyes in tandem, so they may even appear crosseyed or to have a wandering eye at times.

One month
By this stage, babies have improved their ability to use both eyes together, somewhat. At the first month marker, many babies can now focus both eyes on a moving object to track it. A baby will likely still prefer high-contrast patterns at this stage, but is developing a more nuanced sense of color.

Two months
At two months, babies’ brains begin working to learn how to distinguish colors and they may now focus on bright, primary colors and more intricate designs. Babies also begin to develop more advanced abilities to track objects and distinguishing various tones in color.

Four months
A baby will begin distinguishing size and shapes of objects, as well as their position in the world. As your baby’s eyes and brain work together to solidify their sense of objects and their proximity, they will begin getting the message to grab ahold of objects in front of their faces. They may still lack to the motor development to truly coordinate this task, but a baby’s skills will improve very quickly with practice.

Six Months
Babies have begin developing object permanence at this stage, and their ability to track small objects is much improved. A baby can also distinguish between bold, primary colors at this point, and may begin developing a preference for lighter, pastel shades.

Eight Months
At this point, your baby has developed vision very similar to an adult in depth and clarity, but their brains need more time to learn how to process what it is they are actually seeing and their motor skills need lots of fine-tuning. At eight months, the color of a baby’s eyes have also liked reached their final color.

Healthy Vision for Infants

At each doctor’s visit, your doctor will check your baby’s eyes and vision to make sure they are developing correctly. Even if no eye or vision problems are apparent, at about age 6 months, you should take your baby to your doctor of optometry for his or her first thorough eye examination. An optometrist will test for eye movement ability, eye health problems, and test for excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. While these problems are not especially common in babies, it is important to identify children who have these issues as young as possible. Vision development and eye health problems are highly correctable when treatment begins early.

Sources: American Optometric Association, American Academy of Ophthalmology 

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