Blog & News

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!

Eyewear Trends for Women – 2015

Mindy McCormick
by Mindy McCormick

One way to truly make a fashion statement every day is with a stylish pair of eyewear. With 2015 in full swing, we are here to let you in on the top trends in eyewear and what you will be seeing in the months ahead. These styles work for both everyday wear and sun wear and can be seen from coast to coast and on all different kinds of women. Every woman is different and will feel comfortable in different things.


Dramatic Squares


A frame shape that is really hot right now is dramatic squares. Any woman who doesn’t want to get too far out of their comfort zone and still wear something on-trend can pull them off. They create a neo-modern look and can make a dramatic statement while still looking sophisticated and elegant.


Exaggerated Cat Eyes


Something we are seeing a lot more of are the Exaggerated Cat Eye frames which can be very uplifting to the face and eye area. This eyewear trend harkens back to the late 50s and early 60s when actresses Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn scorched the silver screen in their cat eye frames.

While this look is a bit trendier than square frames, it is incredibly flattering on most face shapes. It’s a feminine look that works just as well in sun wear as it does with general eyewear.




They say every fashion trend will go full circle, and we are seeing the evidence of that today with hippy-inspired rounds. These are very flattering for women with a square shaped face or a great look for women looking for a youthful way to incorporate some playfulness into their wardrobe. Whether borrowing your rounds from the late 60s (think John Lennon) or bold frames from the early 70s, round frames are great for trendsetters and people who like to make an impression.




Aviators are a staple every year for sun wear. They never seem to go out of style for good reason. Aviator sunglasses look great on every face shape and can be worn for multiple occasions. A traditionally sporty look, this year’s take on the classic is slightly oversized and mirrored.

Of course these are just a few of the new trends in eyewear for the upcoming year. You can always stop in at any time and try out a new look at EyeCare Specialties. Our Frame Experts are always on hand to make suggestions and give you feedback on what looks the best and how it can work for your lifestyle.

Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun

Dr. Devine

With summer approaching quickly, we all need to think about protecting our eyes from the sun and its harmful rays. The sun emits several types of damaging light: Ultraviolet (UV) and High Energy Visible (HEV) light. UVA and UVB rays can not only harm our skin, but can be detrimental to the health of our eyes. HEV or blue light can be helpful in small amounts but the exposure from the sun combined with too much exposure from electronic devices can be damaging to our eyes.

ECS_sunglassesIn the short term, too much UV exposure can cause photokeratitis or a sunburn of the eye. Your eyes will become red, feel gritty and sore, and produce excessive tearing. In the long term, UV exposure can cause cataracts and retinal damage. HEV light has been shown to be a factor in age-related macular degeneration. Skin cancer around the eyes can also be linked to too much sun exposure.

It’s important to be especially aware of how much UV and HEV exposure your eyes receive if you spend a lot of time outdoors, if you are a welder, medical technologist or work in the graphic arts or if you take medications that can increase your sensitivity to UV light. While some studies show that people with blue or green eyes are more sensitive to damage, every eye color and ethnicity needs to be concerned about UV damage to the eyes.

The damage caused by both UV and HEV light is cumulative, so it’s best to start protecting yourself at an early age. Children are especially at risk because the lens of their eyes allows more UV light into the retina.

Wear sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat whenever you spend time outdoors. Look for sunglasses that screen out 99-100% of UV rays. Polarized lenses can help to reduce glare and brightness. Indoors, consider lenses designed to block 100% of blue light. There are also additional coatings available to help protect your eyes from computer and video screens.

Of course, if you have any questions at all about level of protection or what to look for when choosing sunglasses, our team at EyeCare Specialties would be more than happy to help you choose the right protection for your eyes and your lifestyle.

Meet the Frame Expert: Kemari

Justin Hoatson
by Justin Hoatson
Kemari webOne of our newest Frame Experts, Kemari loves to be surrounded by people. His many years of experience in the hospitality industry have prepared him for truly listening to people and taking care of their needs.

He loves communicating with patients and creating personal connections. He really enjoys learning about the latest frames and lens technology and then blending that knowledge with a patient’s lifestyle in order to help them find the perfect pair of eyewear.

Kemari says he’s happy to have found a place at EyeCare Specialties, “It makes me proud to know that I am helping people with finding another form of comfort in their lives.”

He is a huge Chicago sports fan and can talk Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks all day long. You can also find him at Memorial Stadium on football Saturdays cheering on the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Convergence Insufficiency and Reading

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

If your child struggles with reading and complains about double vision or headaches when doing homework, your child could be struggling with a vision disorder known as convergence insufficiency.

Studies show that at least one in 20 children experience convergence insufficiency, which translates to one to two students in every classroom.

Convergence insufficiency is an eye-teaming, near-vision problem. With convergence insufficiency the eyes have difficulty coming together in order to focus on objects close up. The problem lies not within the eyes themselves, but in the ability of the brain to coordinate the eyes together to see one clear image.

Symptoms of convergence insufficiency include loss of place while reading, loss of concentration, re-reading the same line over and over, reading slowly and having trouble remembering what was just read. Teachers and parents may notice a child covering one eye while reading or having trouble concentrating when tired. Recent studies have shown strong relationships between children diagnosed with convergence insufficiency and those diagnosed with ADHD. A student with convergence insufficiency might complain of fatigue, eye strain, headaches or might not even complain at all.

Many times children who have convergence insufficiency perform well on a standard eye chart that measures visual acuity. They may not realize their difficulty reading is due to a vision problem. A comprehensive vision exam from an optometrist is the best way to diagnose convergence insufficiency.

The most effective way to treat convergence insufficiency is with a course of vision therapy. At EyeCare Specialties’ Center for Vision Development, our vision therapists create a specific series of eye exercises and activities for each child to teach them how to better coordinate their eyes to work efficiently as a team with near work.

For more information about the Vision Therapy program at EyeCare Specialities, click here or request an appointment.


The Importance of Lens Quality

Dr. Reins

One piece to realizing your best possible vision is an accurate prescription, but another important piece is making sure that you have quality materials to correct your vision. The quality of your lenses is important and not all eyewear is the same.

ECS_lenses.pngEarly corrective eyewear was made from glass. Glass eyewear was heavy and breakable and offered no UV protection at all. People with strong prescriptions would tend to forgo eyewear altogether to avoid the “coke-bottle” glasses look.

Standard plastic lenses were introduced in the 1960s. These lenses are very low cost and offer good optical quality but can be very thick for people with higher prescriptions. They can also crack when drilled so standard plastic may not be a good choice for people who would like to go with a rimless design. They can also have a tendency to scratch easily.

Polycarbonate lenses were introduced in the 1980s and are impact resistant and light. They can be a good choice for people who play sports or could be rough on their glasses. Polycarbonate lenses also provide UV protection to help protect the eye from UVA and UVB rays.

Trivex lenses are the newest technology on the eyewear landscape. They do a great job of vision correction, offering very high optical quality and can still maintain a thin look.Trivex lenses are lighter than polycarbonate but still offer similar impact resistance and UV protection.

After you choose what material your lenses are made from, you’ll want to consider which additional coatings to aid your vision and to protect the life of your lenses. I always recommend a glare-free coating which will help people who work in an office setting or drive at night. A coating that blocks blue light is ideal for people who spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen. I also recommend that everyone should consider adding UV protection to their eyewear, whether the lens material offers 100% protection on its own or if an additional UV coating should be added.

I like to compare choosing eyewear to driving a car. While the technology from 60 years ago can still get you from point A to point B, current advances are designed to make sure you get there with increased safety and comfort. The newest technological advances in eyewear are designed to help you realize your best possible vision. Your EyeCare Specialties optometrist will be able to recommend the right lenses for you based on your lifestyle and your prescription.


UV Rays in Winter

Dr. Sandman

Even though you’re not lounging at the beach or taking in a baseball game in February, your eyes still need protection from the harsh rays of the sun. UVA and UVB rays are still a threat to your eye health. UV rays can come to us directly from the sun, scattered through the open sky, or they can be reflected off surrounding environments. Snow reflects 80% of UV rays back to our eyes.

imgoWhile most people know it is important to protect our eyes from UV rays, almost half of us don’t wear sunglasses because we simply forget. Sunglasses can help prevent wrinkles, age spots and medical issues. Too much UV exposure can put you at risk for macular degeneration, cataracts, retina damage and ocular cancer.

UV damage is cumulative. We start the damage early in our lives often as children, and it gets gradually worse over time. Damage can not be reversed, but starting to wear sunglasses now will help.

Sunglasses with 100% UV blocking can help prevent those issues as well as prevent wind damage and reduce bright glare. Snow-blindness (photokeratitis) is another condition that can occur when you spend too much time outside in winter. Conditions can include redness, puffiness around the eyes, burning, watering and sensitivity to light.

There are many options when it comes to protecting your eyes from the sun during the winter months: prescription sunglasses, clip-on lenses and photochromic (Transitions®) lenses that change color when you go from inside to outside. If you’d like to stick with clear lenses, Trivex lenses can help shield your eyes from UV rays. If you enjoy winter sports, your eye doctor might recommend wrap-around sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes.

Don’t forget eye protection for your kids. Because children’s eyes are extremely sensitive to UV rays, now is the perfect time to get them in the habit of wearing protective eyewear when they go outside every day.

Ask your doctor what is right for you. Your EyeCare Specialties optometrist will have some great suggestions and continually monitor your eyes to make sure they are as healthy as can be.

Taking Care of Your Eyewear

Justin Hoatson
by Justin Hoatson

Your eyewear is more than just an accessory; it is an investment in your vision and the ability to process the world around you. It is important to take care of your frames and lenses. Although any lens material will scratch over time depending on what it is exposed to and what accidents may occur, here are some cleaning tips that will help keep your lenses scratch-free as long as possible.

PrintClean your glasses daily and avoid wiping your lenses when they are dry. Begin by rinsing them in lukewarm water. This will remove the dirt and grit that sticks to your lenses and can scratch them when rubbed. Then, use dishwashing liquid or a lens cleaner to clean your lenses. Rinse and then wipe dry with a lint-free cotton towel or a microfiber cloth. 

Do not use kleenex, toilet paper or other paper products to dry or clean your glasses. These can scratch your lenses and even small scratches can impact your vision.

Always keep your eyewear in its case (if you have one) or if you don’t, rest your eyewear “lenses up” in order to avoid scratches.

Our ECS Frame Experts are always available to help you with additional maintenance of your eyewear. They can help you tighten screws, replace notepads and tweak your alignment at no cost to you when you purchase your eyewear from EyeCare Specialities.

With proper care and maintenance, your eyewear will last you for years to come and ensure your best possible vision.

Meet the Frame Expert: Amber

Justin Hoatson
by Justin Hoatson

amber_vodraskaAmber’s jovial personality is apparent when she works with patients. Her background in child development gives her a light-hearted attitude when helping both children and adults find the perfect frames. She loves knowing she’s done a great job helping someone find the right solution and looks forward to building ongoing relationships with patients for years to come.

She’s also proud of the “Share the Love” campaign from Taylor Madison frames and EyeCare Specialties; every time a pair of Taylor Madison frames are purchased another pair is donated to Shared Vision International to be distributed to those in need.

“I like how they donate a pair if you buy a pair,” Amber says. Knowing that she can be a part of making a difference in so many lives is important to Amber and one of the reasons she is proud to be a part of the ECS family.

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