Blog & News

Optomap: The Bigger Picture

Dr. Sandman

Your retina is a light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of your eye. It converts light and images to signals which it then sends to the brain. When there is a problem with the retina, it can impede this messaging process resulting in impaired vision or blindness.

Early detection of any retinal health issues is imperative to treating the conditions. Because the retina has no nerve endings, it is possible to have damage or another health condition and not feel it. Only a comprehensive eye exam and retinal screening by your eye doctor would detect such an issue.

ECS_optomap_blog-01Some of the more common conditions that can affect your retina:

Diabetic retinopathy
Age-related macular degeneration
Retinal detachment
Ocular melanoma

The traditional method for viewing the retina is through dilation of the pupil. This allows your eye doctor to view your retina directly and notice if there are any abnormalities or issues that need to be further looked at. Traditional dilation allows your doctor to see approximately 15% of your retina at one time.

With the new optomap® technology, your doctor now can see 82% of your retina at one time. The optomap scans your retina with an ultra-widefield view, often with no dilation necessary, and presents a digital image of your retina to your doctor. The benefits to this are that your doctor now has an almost complete view of your retina and is able to notice any abnormalities. Also, there are now digital records of your retina, and your doctor is able to compare records to note any changes.

Optomap is available at all EyeCare Specialties locations. Your doctor will be able to recommend how often you should have an optomap image taken based on your lifestyle and family history.

Meet the Frame Expert: Ashley

Justin Hoatson
by Justin Hoatson

Ashley_LottHola, Ashley! Ashley loves working at EyeCare Specialties so much that she recently returned after spending a year in Spain teaching English. She enjoys taking what she learned in Europe and helping patients explore fashion and a new sense of style. Ashley has a way of helping people step out of their comfort zone and try something new.

She feels it’s important to get to know each frame line that ECS carries so she can give each patient as much information as they need to make the right decision.

Ashley looks forward to another great year with ECS, “I like working for a company that prides itself on taking care of its patients as well as its employees.” She’s also looking forward to being able to spend the holidays here with her family in Nebraska.

Myopia Control

Dr. Pfeil

What is Myopia?
Myopia is nearsightedness or difficulty seeing objects in the distance. It can also cause squinting, eyestrain, headaches and eye fatigue. Myopia currently affects approximately 1/3 of adults currently in the United States. Myopia usually starts in childhood and worsens over time.

myopia_control-01The issue lies within the shape of the eyeball in relation to the curvature of the cornea and the lens of the eye.

What causes Myopia?
No one is entirely sure. Studies show that heredity does play a part in whether or not someone develops myopia. If both parents wear glasses, there is a higher likelihood that their child will also need them. There are also some studies that suggest that reading may play a role in myopia development.

Our goal at ECS is to treat the myopic condition and to slow its progression.

There are several treatment options for myopia. Traditional glasses and contact lenses offer clear vision but do not slow the myopia. LASIK surgery can work for adults but is not recommended for children. Pharmaceutical intervention through medical eye drops can help control the progression of myopia for a while, but have negative side effects. Orthokeratology is the wearing of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that reshape your cornea while you sleep. This can help slow the progression of myopia, but does not offer a permanent solution.

Therapeutic Multifocal Lenses
In recent research, the use of contact lenses, in which a patient’s prescription is in the middle of the contact lens surrounded by plus power, has shown to reduce myopia progression by 40-50%. It is suggested that when using these contact lenses to slow the progression of myopia that the patient utilize this modality until their early twenties.The center optics of the contact lens will correct for the myopia and deliver focused light rays on to the macula at the back of the eye. The peripheral retina is what studies have shown to be the driving force for the elongation of the eye leading to an increase in myopia. With distance only correction, the macula will have a focused image delivered to it, but the rays being delivered to the peripheral retina will not be focused on the retina, rather behind it. By placing the plus power around the myopia prescription, the light rays in the peripheral retina are focused on or in front of the retina helping to reduce the tendency for the elongation of the eye.

Doctor Q&A: What is Myopia and How is it Treated?

Dr. Pfeil

In our latest Doctor Q&A, find out more about myopia and discover how a new treatment for children may be able to slow the progression of myopia which may help to prevent cataracts, glaucoma and other eye diseases later in life.


Meet the Vision Therapy Graduate: Eva

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Last year Eva suffered headaches after coming home from classes in 3rd grade. Her parents had her vision tested and discovered that Eva needed assistance tracking and switching her focal point in the classroom. She was referred to the Vision Therapy program at EyeCare Specialties.

Eva’s parents credit the enthusiasm of vision therapists Michelle Hoatson and Rose Walker as the motivation for her progress. After several weeks, Eva’s headaches stopped and she gained more confidence in reading.

“Sometimes it was easy. Sometimes it was hard,” confesses Eva in regards to staying committed to the Vision Therapy exercises. “Now my eyes have fixed all the problems and I have met all my goals!”

Congratulations, Eva! And best of luck to you in 4th grade.

CVD grad_Eva-2

Choosing Eyewear for Children

Mindy McCormick
by Mindy McCormick

Now that kids have been back in school, they may begin to notice vision problems they didn’t realize during the lazy days of summer. After bringing your child in for a comprehensive eye exam, you may face the decision of choosing your child’s first pair of eyewear. The tough part can be deciding what option to choose.

At the end of the day, if a child won’t wear his/her glasses, it’s money out the window. It’s important to choose eyewear that your child feels comfortable in, both the way they fit and the way they feel.

IMG_7512Things to consider when choosing eyewear for your child:

You want to consider your child’s prescription and the thickness of their lenses. The stronger the prescription, the smaller the frames should be to reduce peripheral distortion.

You’ll also want to consider proper bridge fit. How the frames sit on your child’s nose will impact whether or not they slide down or fit comfortably.

There are many temple styles to choose from with children’s frames. Toddlers and younger children may benefit from wrap-around styles that go around the head or styles that wrap around the ears, so the glasses don’t fall off.

Lifestyle is very important to consider when choosing eyewear. If your child plays sports, consider getting him/her a pair of prescription sports glasses. Regular street wear is not recommended for sports play, because the risk of injury is greater than if they weren’t wearing any eyewear. If your child spends a lot of time outside, consider going with photochromic (Transitions®) lenses or a secondary pair of prescription sunglasses.

At EyeCare Specialties, we offer a great children’s package. You can get a complete pair of children’s eyewear including the frames, lenses and any coatings for 50% off. Included in this offer is our Warranty Plus program; If your child breaks or loses their eyewear, you can replace them once for just 25% of the original cost.

The Frame Experts at EyeCare Specialties can help make sure that the eyewear you select fits properly and ensures the best vision for your child. Plus, our Frame Experts have some unique insight into what’s cool with the younger crowd.

Meet the Frame Expert: Emily

Justin Hoatson
by Justin Hoatson

Emily_BuschEmily’s engaging personality is apparent before she even says hello. She loves greeting patients as they walk in the door and gets excited about finding the perfect pair for each individual person and their lifestyle. Emily has a unique way of introducing color and fashion into flattering style ideas for patients they hadn’t thought to try before. She knows what can help make a patient look and feel confident, stylish and terrific.

As a new mom, she especially likes helping kids, “Being that person to help a two-year-old see their parents for the first time is an amazing feeling!”

Emily has been proud to work at EyeCare Specialties for almost three years and looks forward to continuing to learn even more about the best ways to help the patients. “I love both working for a great company that values their employees and having great people to work with!”

Meet Vision Therapy Graduate: Laura

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

In kindergarten, Laura would struggle in school. A visit to the eye doctor indicated that she needed glasses and vision therapy to help her with her reading.

Her parents tell us, “As a 1st grader, she made great improvements at school, and her self confidence also improved. All her hard work has paid off and now she is excited to read proudly to others and for her own enjoyment! Thank you!!”

Find out more about our Vision Therapy program:

CVD grads_Laura.

4 Must-Dos for Taking Care of Your Contacts

Stacy White

ECS_caring_for_your_contacts-01Whether you’re new to wearing contact lenses or you’ve been wearing them since the old hard lenses days, it’s important to make sure that you are following the correct cleaning and handling procedures as well as the wearing schedule recommended by your doctor. There are lots of different contact lenses out there, and your doctor has recommended the correct type of lens, solution and wearing schedule for your particular eyes and for your lifestyle. With that in mind, there are a few rules that all contact lens wearers should keep in mind.

1. Keep it clean. Specifically your hands. You should always make sure to wash your hands before handling your contact lenses. It’s equally important to make sure your hands are dry as well, using a lint-free towel to dry them off. If your hands have lotion or other creams on them, these chemicals can transfer to your contacts and then into your eyes allowing for irritation or infection.

2. Follow your schedule. Seriously. The schedule recommended by your doctor is not a mass conspiracy by manufacturers to get you to buy more contacts. The longer your wear your contacts means more protein build up and the higher likelihood of infection. Also, the lack of oxygen can disturb your eyes even further. Each type of contact lens is designed to be worn for specific time periods based on the materials it is made out of and the liquid content.

3. The Solution solution. We highly recommend that you use the contact lens solution that your doctor recommends. There are of course different types of solution; some solutions disinfect, some are good for storing and some do both. Some contact lens solutions are made specifically for people with sensitive or dry eyes. At EyeCare Specialties, we offer several different kinds of solution that will help keep your contacts as clean, fresh and bacteria-free as possible.

NEVER CLEAN OR STORE YOUR CONTACTS WITH SALIVA OR TAP WATER. Bacteria breeds in both and can cause infection and other problems easily. Also make sure to never reuse your solution. A good idea is to make sure you stock up or buy several bottles to store in different locations (one at home, one at work, maybe a travel size for the purse) so that you’ve always got one available.

4. Take the case. And clean it every once in a while. It’s a good idea to switch out your contact lens case every one to three months or so to make sure you have one that is free of contaminates. We recommend using the case that comes from your doctor, but if you do use a decorative one that you’ve picked up at the pharmacy or another retailer, make sure to thoroughly wash and dry it before you store your contacts.

Of course, the main objective with the proper care, handling and storage of your contacts is to make sure you have the healthiest eyes possible. If you have any questions at all, please contact your doctor or any of the EyeCare Specialties contact lens experts.

How Do 3D Movies Work?

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Is there anything better on a hot summer day than finding refuge at the movie theater? Summertime is when all of the big blockbusters come out to entertain us and keep us enthralled in air-conditioned comfort. However, very rarely do they make summer blockbusters anymore without the important box office component: 3D technology.

thumbnail-3But what exactly is 3D and how does it work?

Your brain and eyes work together in order to perceive things in three dimensions. Binocular vision or stereoscopy is how each eye observes the same object from a slightly different perspective. Each of those images is sent to your brain, and your brain gives the image depth, or 3D.

The way the movie is shown in combination with specific eyewear is what actually causes your brain to interpret what you are seeing in 3D. What is being presented on the screen are slightly different orientations of the same image. Your eyes just see one complete image because the lenses of your glasses allow a different image to each eye, and your brain puts it all together.

In old versions of 3D movies (all those monster movies from the 50s), images were captured with one version being blue and the other red. The cardboard glasses of the day featuring one red and one blue lens would filter out the same colored image letting each eye see a separate version of the image. Your brain would then put those two images together for the 3D. The problem with the old version of 3D was that it was impossible to do a color movie this way because the way the glasses would filter would be through color.

In newer 3D movies, polarized lenses in those cool Ray Ban-looking glasses you receive at the theater help each eye view the different orientation separately. Your eyes just see one complete image, because the polarized lenses of your glasses present a different image to each eye with your brain putting it all together.

There are some people who are unable to see movies in 3D. Conditions such as amblyopia or strabismus cause the eyes to perceive information differently enough that they are unable to feed the correct information to the brain for it to process the image in its intended three dimensions. People may not even realize that they suffer from a condition such as these because they have learned other visual cues to help them with depth perception. Our brains can fake us out of true binocular vision.

If you have problems viewing 3D movies or experience headaches or nausea while doing so, you may have an issue with your binocular vision. One of our optometrists would be able to refer you to our Center for Vision Development. They could recommend a treatment of Vision Therapy to start you on a path of your eyes and brain working together in order to enjoy the world around you as intended.

So save us a seat and enjoy the show!

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