Protecting Your Vision

Dr. Tucker


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)

Winter and Your Eyes



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

Night Driving

Dr. Tucker


As we head to the season of shorter days and longer nights, we have no option but to drive in dark conditions. Millions of Americans have problems driving at night. Although we may be able to see clearly at the doctor’s office or in our everyday lives, once the sun goes down and we hit the road, we can experience new problems. Glare, halos, and difficulty recognizing contrasts can make driving and traveling at an increased rate of speed difficult.

As we age, our pupils shrink and don’t maintain their elasticity as much as they used to. They have a tougher time opening and closing quickly to adapt to changes in light. Older people also have decreased rods in the retina which makes differentiating objects more difficult in low light conditions.

Cataracts can also be an issue as we age. They develop over time and cloud the lens of the eye making things glare at night. You can see halos around lights and can also experience blurred vision.

Retinal issues can also make driving at night more difficult. Diabetes and macular degeneration can create issues in the retina making vision blurry or creating blind spots. If you notice these at night, please let your doctor know.

Dry eye disease can cause difficulty driving at night. Having a poor quality tear film can make vision blurry and can cause problems with night vision. Dry eye disease tends to affect women over the age of 40 and create vision problems as well as issues with comfort.

If you frequently spend too much time in the sun during the day, it can take your eyes a while to adjust to the light at night. A big help will be to wear sunglasses when you are out during daylight so that the contrast is not as severe.

One way to combat the glare and excess distracting light is to wear eyewear with glare reducing coatings. There are many amber/yellow colored glasses out there marketed as night driving glasses, but there is no evidence that these work and they can actually make the glare problem worse.

Another important safety tip for driving at night is to make sure your headlights are not cloudy and functioning properly. A clean windshield and mirror, free of imperfections, are also important.

And of course, it’s a good idea to maintain regular, safe speeds. (That tip is for everyone.)

If it’s been longer than two years since your last comprehensive exam, we recommend having a dilated exam so that your eye doctor can examine your retina for issues that could affect your driving as well as your overall health. At the same time, your doctor can check for cataracts and any other issues that may make driving unsafe.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Mindy’s Story


10.3_Mindys-Story-FBMindy McCormick is not the kind of person that relishes attention. She’s kind, intuitive and hardworking. She’s a great leader because she knows that the strength of any organization is in the team and encourages all of her team members to do their best for the entire unit. One person is not above the group.

If it weren’t for the cancer, she wouldn’t want an article written about her.

Mindy McCormick is the Retail Coordinator and Frame Buyer for EyeCare Specialties. She has been helping patients find the perfect eyewear solution for 13 years. Mindy also trains and educates opticians to do the same.

It was a summer day at the beginning of June. Mindy had gone in for a routine mammogram. Because she had an aunt who had been recently diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, she knew the importance of having a thorough exam. She insisted on the 3D mammogram to make sure her doctor had the complete picture. The technicians requested more tests. They did an ultrasound and then brought Mindy back in for an ultrasound biopsy.

A few weeks later while she was at work, her doctors left a message, but Mindy was so busy taking care of her own patients that she didn’t get a chance to call them back until after hours. They returned her phone call right away. Mindy had tested positive for stage 1 breast cancer.

The next few days were a whirlwind. They were immediately scheduled to visit with  a surgeon who specializes in breast cancer and an oncologist. In a two-week span, Mindy had her appointments scheduled and started right away on chemotherapy.

According to Mindy, chemotherapy is a roller coaster. She is currently 2/3 of the way done with her six treatments. Her last session is scheduled for the end of October after which she will undergo surgery. She typically feels not too bad for the day or two after treatment, but then hits a wall. Because the type of chemo her doctor has prescribed is such an aggressive one, the treatment leaves Mindy feeling very weak, tired and achy.

Mindy’s family has been incredibly supportive throughout her entire experience. Her husband and children pitch in and do the cleaning and housework. Friends and neighbors have been offering meals and gift cards to area restaurants. Mindy says the outpouring of support has been overwhelming and gratefully appreciated.

At her first visit with her oncologist, Mindy found out that her particular type of breast cancer is the most common and can be easily treated when detected early. That was when the lightbulb went off over Mindy’s head. She knew it was her mission to promote early detection and spread the word to women how important it is to have regular screenings.

Even though she tends to shy from the spotlight, Mindy wants to become an advocate for women to stand up for their health and insist on proper screenings. She encourages everyone she knows that even if they have a hint of family history of breast cancer to get regular mammograms. Because her own cancer was only discovered through the 3D mammogram, she advocates for the most comprehensive technology for anyone who feels that they may be at risk.

Optimism can be hard to come by when fighting breast cancer. But Mindy sees hope every day. She finds hope in coming to work and being able to help EyeCare’s patients. She finds hope in interacting and proving to herself what she’s capable of. And she finds hope in being able to help other women and advocate for early detection.

This October, we are so proud of Mindy and the other women who fight for their health and for that optimism. EyeCare Specialties will once again be participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on October 23 and will be raising money in various forms to help the cause. If you’d like to support our team and raise money for the American Cancer Society, please click here.

Aging and Your Eyes

Steve Jacobsen
by Steve Jacobsen


It’s inevitable, as we age, so do our eyes. There are several age-related conditions that can happen no matter how healthy of lives we live or whether or not we’ve got a fantastic set of DNA handed down to us by our relatives.

Presbyopia. Presbyopia occurs typically after the age of 40. This can be noticed as blurred vision when doing up-close work. People start to notice it when they need to hold books, menus, etc. farther and farther away in order to see clearly. Presbyopia occurs because of a hardening of the natural lens inside your eye, and it is very common. Almost everyone will experience it in various forms. Optical treatment is usually the best remedy via reading glasses, progressive lenses or bifocals. There are also options for contact lens wearers as well.

Reduced pupil size. As we age, our pupil size starts to gradually become smaller and makes us less responsive to changes in lighting. Older individuals might find themselves needing more light to read and have difficulty moving in between light and dark environments quickly (from a dark theater to sunlight). This is also one of the causes for difficulty driving at night. Adjusting from darkness to bright oncoming traffic can make driving at night difficult. There are many optical products that can help this situation. A photochromic lens (like Transitions™) or anti-glare coatings on lenses can help older drivers adjust to differing light conditions more easily.

Dry Eyes. As we age, we may experience itchy, dry eyes. The condition affects many people, especially women after menopause. They may experience scratchy burning sensations in various conditions and may find that traditional over-the-counter eye drops don’t seem to remedy the problem. There are actually several different types of Dry Eye Disease, and your optometrist could help you determine which one you suffer from by examining the quality of your tears. Treatment for Dry Eye Disease can include prescription eye drops or in-office procedures like LipiFlow that can provide relief.

Loss of peripheral vision. On average, as you age your field of vision decreases by one to three percent every decade. Peripheral vision loss can also be a sign of glaucoma and serious ocular disease, so it important to have it checked out. This type of loss can make driving dangerous as it can be difficult to see objects not in your direct vision. Whether your peripheral vision loss is gradual or sudden, it is important to bring up your concerns with your eye doctor to see if there is a serious underlying medical issue.

Frames & Fashion Styling Tips

If you wear glasses, they are a constant piece of your daily look – but, rather than simply a constant, why not make them a flattering fashion accessory? In order to use your frames to your fashionable advantage, you want to ensure they pair well with your clothing to create an overall style. These top 3 styling tips will help you accentuate your look when choosing your next pair of frames…or three.
Tip #1
Sport a solid color style when pairing fun fashion frames. These patterned frames by Fendi are a perfect way to create a “classic meets fun” style that is great for anytime and anywhere.
Romper + Bag: Tsuru Boutique
Tip #2
From simple to fun frames, use bold accessories to accentuate your look. We love these Tommy Hilfiger frames that are simple, yet unique, to pair with a fun pop of accessory.
Dress + Bag: Tsuru Boutique
Tip #3
Basics don’t have to be so basic. The unbelievable softness of this chambray shirt makes it a perfect between-seasons piece over the striking simplicity of the black maxi. The long pendant necklace tells a story, and the round Tory Burch shades create a polished simplicity.

Focus & Go: Lincoln Marathon Recap


The Lincoln Marathon was Sunday, May 2, and our three Focus & Go athletes hit the road after months of training. We thought we’d check in with them after the race to get their thoughts about the event.



So how’d it go?

The race went well! I walked a whole lot less than I thought I’d have to! There’s something about the atmosphere and being surrounded by thousands of excited runners that makes up for a little lack of training. It only took two days of hobbling like a zombie before my legs were fully recovered. Huge win.

Was it what you were expecting?

I knew what to expect with the course. Although I’d been watching the weather for two weeks leading up to the race, I’d been hoping the forecast would miraculously change the day before or the morning of. I wasn’t expecting to run in the rain the entire time, but cool weather is better to run in than hot even if it did take an hour for my hands to thaw post-race.

What were some challenges?

The rain and the cold were challenges. In a perfect world it would have been sunny and just a few degrees warmer. But running is about the challenge. It isn’t about always having the perfect day to get in the miles. That’s part of what makes it fun. I was worried about overdressing/underdressing, and neither of those things happened. I felt cold, but prepared for it with my jacket, gloves, and hat to keep the rain out of my eyes. I brought my SMITH sunglasses along for the ride in case the sun decided to pop out, but unfortunately that never happened.

What was the best thing that happened to you?

The best thing that happened is that I walked far less than I expected to. I thought for sure I’d have to take a little walk break every mile, but I went six miles before even thinking about it. I walked though a couple of water stations (THANK YOU, VOLUNTEERS!), and then again a few times in mile 12. I’m thrilled at my body’s ability to do the race at 18 weeks pregnant with minimal training. Our bodies are so resilient!

Are you going to do it again?

Absolutely! It is one of my favorite races of all time. I’m going to run the Lincoln Half for as long as my body allows me to.



So how’d it go?

The race went very well! I ran it in 1:45 which was 15 minutes slower than I anticipated, however given the cold and wet rain I am happy with how I finished.

Was it what you were expecting?

I would say the race exceeded my expectations! I was surprised by the amount of community support being consistent throughout the race. I anticipated many spectators around the start/finish, but was pleasantly surprised to see them at every mile.

What were some challenges?

This being my first half, I faced a few challenges which, honestly, I had been warned about. The hill along the country club stretch really ate some time. I had also over dressed for the weather having too many layers on which weighed me down as they got wet. I suppose coffee and a Cliff Bar weren’t the best pre-race foods either.

What was the best thing that happened to you?

The best thing to happen was seeing so many familiar faces along the way cheering you on. Hearing your name among a crowd of people has a special way of making the pace more obtainable. My parents and friends managed to see me at 3 locations on the route which made for motivation to keep going. Miles 10-13 onset the mind games, so staying focused on my form and pace was a constant battle.

Are you going to do it again?

I am gladly going to run again. Knowing what to expect and how I felt mid-race, I will be making some changes to my workouts. I recommend it to anyone, even if walking; the experience is well worth it. I have already signed-up for the Good Life Halfsy on Nov. 5 and motivated a few friends to join me.



So how’d it go?

The conditions for the race were great. Nice and cool with a little moisture. Because of that, the run was less draining on my body as a whole. That said, since it was cool and wet out, there were fewer spectators out which made the second half of the race more difficult to power through. My run was going well through about 19 miles and then, my legs started getting pretty weak. I cramped up at about mile 23 but was grateful for different water stations that supplied orange slices to make it through to the end. Running into the stadium was an amazing experience. I was grateful for the hospitality throughout the race and especially at the end of the race.

Was it what you were expecting?

I was not expecting the weather to be as it was and I had hoped more spectators would have been around during the second half of the marathon. That said, I didn’t realize the extent of the beauty of Lincoln. I loved running along Sheridan and Normal Blvd and noticing the full bloom of Spring.

What were some challenges?

I cramped up around mile 23 which made it challenging to continue. Additionally, the hill going up to Holmes Lake was a bear to get through; my legs became heavy and my breathing was labored.

What was the best thing that happened to you?

I got to see my three kids at mile 4. I stopped and we took photos. My kids inspired me to finish strong. Also, I had a few friends and my wife praying and telling me Bible verses along the way.

Are you going to do it again?

My plan is to run the full again next year. Lincoln puts on a really good event.

Focus & Go – Lincoln Marathon Profiles: Garrett


Garrett Laughing Web

Garrett has been a clinic tech at EyeCare Specialties for the past three years. As a clinic tech, he assists the patient through all of the preoperative procedures and performs all diagnostic testing before the doctor sees the patient. He loves working with patients and helping them achieve a higher quality of life through enhanced vision.

1. How long have you been running?I was an active athlete back in high school, but never a runner. I started running in college to keep some pounds off and found a passion in stretching distance and time. I have now started running for pace and find pace to be a huge motivator.

2. Is this your first marathon?
Yes. I am running the half-marathon for the very first time. I found my motivation has encouraged me to register for my second later in the year.

3. What has your training been like?
I try to run 3-4 days a week, depending on the weather, getting my longer runs in during the nicer weather. On my short runs I’ve been running with a strong emphasis on time and intensity.  I’ve been training on my own, trusting and feeling where I’m at and where I need to be and knowing that race day will bring extra adrenaline.

Garrett Running

4. What do you run for? What motivates you?
Self-assurance; knowing I can set a goal and strive to reach it. This has been a true test to stay the course and complete what I have set out to reach.

5. Do you have a running mantra?
It’s my mantra for life, really:  “Focus and Go” No matter what you do in life, just put your mind to something and go for it. (*We we so inspired by Garrett’s mantra, we decided to use it as the title of this series.)

6. What gear is important to you when running a half-marathon?
Shoes. Shoes have been my greatest asset. My SMITH sunwear is important for keeping my eyes protected, and my smart watch has been so crucial for keeping pace.

7. Favorite running songs on your playlist?
1. Light it Up by Major Lazer
2. The Fire by The Roots
3. Any upbeat country

8. What are you excited about running this particular half-marathon?
Looking forward to the support crowd. I’ve heard Lincoln brings a great atmosphere, and knowing my parents and friends will be in the crowd motivates me that much more.

Focus & Go – Lincoln Marathon Profiles: Nikki



Nikki is a Lincoln radio personality and mother of a toddler with another on the way. She found out she was pregnant after registering for the Lincoln Half- Marathon but is determined not to let that stop her. She made some adjustments to her training and is looking forward to completing the challenge.

1. How long have you been running?
I started running when I was 16 and hated it. I started because I had a good friend in a small town who was in cross country so I offered to help her train because no one else was available. I finally discovered I loved it in college, because I found it a release instead of something I was forced to do. A mental and physical release. I could get out from studying, get out of work and be free for a while.

2. Is this your first half-marathon?
I am running the half-marathon this time. This is not my first half or full. My first half-marathon was the weekend I moved to Lincoln in 2010. I’ve tried to run in every Lincoln Marathon in some capacity, except for when I was pregnant the first time. I have also taken a turn as a pacer, helping other people maintain their paces which is something I really enjoy. One of my favorite things to do is help other people run.

3. What has training been like?
This time around training has been hard. Training had been going really well until Christmas and then a month after that I found out I was pregnant again. I decided that I was still going to run this half-marathon, but do it differently. I still plan on finishing but I won’t be working for a PR this time around, maybe a PG PR.

I am currently training with a group of mom runners, usually early mornings and weekends. I am also training in the gym since I’m not logging as many miles.












4. What motivates you?
The challenge motivates me. I like listening to my body and knowing what it can handle. And music, music always motivates me.

5. What are your favorite running songs on your playlist?
The Atari’s “Boys of Summer”
Breaking Benjamin “Diary of Jane”
Gossip’s “Heavy Cross”

6. What is your running mantra?
I actually have two. The first one: someone else wrote it, but it’s really “Run your own race.” I think it’s a great mantra for running and also for life. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Focus on what you’re doing and what you do well, and you’ll get along fine.

I also like Oiselle’s slogan, “Head up, wings out.” It makes me think about being light and flying.

7. What do you consider essential gear?
A good set of wireless headphones, a good armband, a hat or my SMITH sunglasses, and a good sports bra. And you know, decent shoes.

8. Why do you love the Lincoln Marathon?
I love the Lincoln atmosphere. There’s no shortage of spectators and encouragement. I love the people who get up early and endlessly cheer runners on, even when they don’t know you. Support from strangers is incredibly motivating especially when you’re at the point when you think you can’t reach your goal. Lincoln is amazing for the support. I can’t say enough.

Meet the Frame Expert: Jenefer

Justin Hoatson
by Justin Hoatson

Jenefer_Instagram-2An EyeCare Specialties team member for over six years, Jenefer’s background in the retail environment helped her discover a love of helping people find exactly what they need.

One of the most things she enjoys most about her job is interacting with people and helping them find that perfect pair of glasses. Suggesting the right pair includes considering the patient’s lifestyle and budget along with their prescription needs.

In her spare time, Jenefer likes to be on the go with her two kids – Kasyn, 4 and Kandace, 13. They like to hang out and spend time outdoors with family and friends. She looks forward to the next big season of NU football and NFL games.

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