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Elder woman on a blue background

More Older Americans Will Suffer From Low Vision

The number of older Americans with low vision is expected to double in the coming years, as more people live longer. Low vision describes poor vision that can’t be fixed or improved with glasses, contacts, or surgery. People with low vision have blind spots that can make it difficult or impossible to drive, read or see faces. But the tragedy isn’t that people have lost vision, it’s that most believe nothing can be done to improve their quality of life. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and Eyepic Eye Care are taking the opportunity of September’s Healthy Aging Month to let people know they can retain their independence and stay safe, despite declining vision.

Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of low vision. Other common contributors include diabetic eye disease, glaucoma and inherited retinal diseases. Whatever the cause, vision rehabilitation helps people make the most of the vision they have left so they can live as independently as possible.

The field of vision rehabilitation has advanced significantly over the years, offering more effective technologies and strategies. Today, ophthalmologists can offer solutions that range from a simple, portable video magnifier that can enlarge text and objects to high-tech glasses with cameras that allow people to read a text and see faces.

But there are many simple changes people can make on their own to help them live better:

  • Improve contrast. Put dark place mats under white place settings, buy rugs that are a contrasting color with the floor, and kitchen towels and cutting boards that contrast with the countertop. Use contrasting colored tape along the edges of rugs, stairsteps and lamp shades.
  • Improve lighting. Every year, about 3 million older Americans are treated for injuries from falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of these falls are caused by low vision. Add lighting to staircases and dark hallways. Remove rugs from hallways to prevent tripping. Task lighting in the kitchen can also make food preparation safer and easier.
  • Reduce clutter and organize. A cluttered house is more difficult to navigate and can contribute to falls and frustration. When each item has a specific place and is identified with a high-contrast label, it’s easier to locate items needed for everyday living.
  • Embrace technology. Books on tape and personal voice-activated assistants, like Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa, can be enormously helpful for people who can no longer see well enough to read, dial a phone or set a thermostat.

Most importantly, see an ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist can determine the full extent of vision loss and exact location of blind spots. Either the ophthalmologist or a low vision specialist can then determine the best techniques and devices that can help patients get around their individual challenges.

Unfortunately, many patients are referred outside of Eyepic Eye Care for vision rehabilitation as a last resort, once their disease has advanced to a late stage. But it’s most effective when introduced early in a patient’s visual loss, so they can involve themselves in the process as they learn how to move around in their new world.

“The prospect of being unable to drive, read or see loved one’s faces is frightening and can lead some people to withdraw from life,” said John D. Shepherd, M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “While there isn’t one strategy or tool that works for every person, vision rehabilitation offers hope. It can help people stay in their homes and keep doing the things they love to do.”

Woman taking off make up

Makeup Tips for Sensitive Eyes

Summer soirées are back and better than ever this year in New York City. To ensure to you are practicing proper makeup eye safety, we’ve put together a few tips for you to have the summer Megan intended you to have. Here are a few makeup tips for people with sensitive eyes:

Prevent makeup from coming into direct contact with your eye

This can be a challenge with eyeshadow particles flying around and flaky mascaras, but preventing direct contact can save you from eye irritation and dryness down the road. The issues can increase in severity if you wear contact lenses, as the particles can get trapped beneath the contact lens and your eye. Pro tip: don’t apply mascara to the roots of your lashes and don’t apply eyeliner on the inside of your lid. Frosting looks better on the outside of the cake, right?

Remove makeup with products that are sensitive-eye friendly

If you have sensitive eyes or are just looking for eye makeup remover, don’t over complicate things. Grab a cotton pad and some baby shampoo. This is a combination recommended by Ashley Brissette, a New York City-based assistant professor of ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medicine. Pro tip: keep baby shampoo on hand for gently swiping away your eye makeup and for cleaning your brushes. Clean eyes and clean brushes? Double win.

Fight bacteria by regularly cleaning your brushes and applicators

Keep bacteria out of your makeup routine by regularly cleaning your brushes and applicators. This simple practice can reduce sensitivity and prevent unnecessary eye infections. Pro tip: clean brushes and applicators with warm water and baby shampoo once a week.

Remember that makeup has an expiration date

All good things come to an end and your makeup products are no exception. If you’re not good with keeping track of product expirations, a good rule of thumb is to replace your products every three months. Pro tip (because we know makeup is not cheap): when you purchase a new product make an alarm in your phone to remind you of the expiration date so you will know when it’s time to buy a new mascara, eyeliner, etc. or write it on the packaging.

Girl smiling with eyewear

Get your Children’s Eyes Back on Track

COVID-19 impacted so many and continues to in ways that we are only starting to realize. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, ophthalmologists around the United States of America are noticing an increase in children’s vision problems.

recent study found that 60 percent of parents reported their children spent no more than three hours on devices in pre-pandemic times. In August 2020, 70 percent of parents estimated their kids spent at least four hours with screens, with the most time spent interacting with games and entertainment platforms such as Youtube and Netflix. Eyepic Eyecare has provided several suggestions for protecting children’s eyes from digital eye strain, which can be found here.

A combination of increased time spent in front of screens and the absence of resources and testing that schools oftentimes provide are likely culprits of the increase in vision problems that we see today in children.

“School provides children with much more than the obvious tools for learning and social and emotional development,” Dr. Hela Barhoush, a pediatrician at One Medical in New York City said. “Additionally, screening tests such as vision testing and scoliosis exams are typically performed on an annual basis by school nurses,” Barhoush added.

As children are getting in for their annual eye examination, there have been common eye problems reported that should be noted.

Reports suggest a possible increase in new cases of nearsightedness, or myopia. Myopia is a refractive condition where the light is focused in front of the retina because the eye is “too long” hence “long vision” is blurry, in short, the patient is nearsighted. Children who were previously nearsighted are now experiencing worsening vision at an unexpected and accelerated rate. Some studies suggest that children who spend long hours in work that requires reading or writing may be more prone to myopia. One factor that is considered to lower the risk of myopia, outside time, was limited by keeping kids indoors during the lockdowns.

Symptoms of myopia can include squinting, rubbing eyes frequently and complaining of blurry vision. Children may not verbalize symptoms, as it is common for kids to “normalize” their vision problems and adapt. It is up to you to keep a watchful eye out for these signs and symptoms. Preventing myopia and early diagnosis and treatment of myopia are important to preventing progression, as myopia can lead to serious eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma. If you notice any signs, make an appointment with your eye doctor right away.

Childhood is critical for vision development. We encourage all who skipped their annual eye exam to make an appointment and make regular vision screenings part of your new post-COVID routine. Request an appointment by choosing the Eyepic location nearest you. Find your location and request an appointment here.

Get your children’s eyes back on track!

Fireworks drawings

Prevent Eye Injury: Stay Safe this Fourth

Every Fourth of July, families, friends, and communities come together throughout the country to view firework displays. And every year, we encourage our communities to leave the fireworks to the professionals and go to a public display, like Macy’s 4th of July display, to avoid unnecessary eye injury risk. Fireworks sales have spiked as much as 400 percent during the last year, according to news reports. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is concerned that trips to the hospital for fireworks-related eye injuries will mirror this spike in fireworks sales.

We remind the public that consumer fireworks are dangerous both to those who set them off and to bystanders. Here are the facts:

  • The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 10,000 injuries and 12 firework-related deaths in 2019.
  • A 2017 study showed that 65 percent of people injured by fireworks are bystanders.
  • An April 2020 study in JAMA Ophthalmology, showed that an estimated 34,548 firework-related eye injuries occurred between 1999 and 2017, with approximately 65 percent occurring in children. The most common injuries were ocular burns, ocular foreign body, and conjunctival irritation. Most injuries occurred at home (75 percent) with consumer use of fireworks during the 4th of July. Although all types of consumer fireworks are dangerous, bottle rockets cause the most severe injuries, such as ruptured globes.

There is significant variability among state and county laws regarding the use of consumer fireworks. Setting off fireworks at home is illegal in New York. According to NYS Division of Homeland Security, “Consumer fireworks, including firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners and aerial devices, remain illegal statewide. Additionally, all consumer fireworks, including Sparkling Devices, remain fully prohibited in the City of New York.”

For those who set off fireworks and to ensure celebrations do not end with people in the ER, we encourage you to:

  • Not pick up duds and misfires: Fireworks nearly cost an Ohio firefighter his sight. He took all the right precautions for his backyard Fourth of July fireworks celebration. But a split-second decision to inspect a “dud” was almost fatal.
  • Supervise children closely: Sparklers seem like harmless fun for the kids, but they are responsible for about 1,400 eye injuries each year. Even those tiny poppers or snappers can pose dangers.
  • Wear protective eyewear: Ophthalmologists recommend American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved protective eyewear. Stop by any hardware store and pick up some safety glasses for the entire family.

If you suffer an eye injury from a firework:

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Do not rub, rinse or apply pressure to your eyes.
  • Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.

“We are thrilled the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks display will be back this year,” Eyepic Eyecare CEO Max Greenberg said. “So our local community can view fireworks without having to get hands on and potentially enter harms way.”

Woman smiling

The Only FDA Approved Procedure for Keratoconus – Now Available at Eyepic

Eyepic is proud to offer the only FDA-approved, cross-linking procedure for treating keratoconus, iLink™. Backed by 20 years of science, iLink™ is a proprietary, minimally invasive procedure that slows or sometimes even halts progressive keratoconus to help preserve vision. Why is this important? If left untreated, one in five people diagnosed with progressive keratoconus may require a corneal transplant. Untreated keratoconus can also lead to higher risk of vision loss and a less than ideal vision quality of life. It is important to also note that more than half of the people who undergo a corneal transplant may need multiple transplants within 20 years thereafter.

The good news is this FDA-approved, cross-linking procedure works to keep that from being your future. Over 400,000 cross-linking procedures have been performed worldwide with the iLink™ equipment, and we hope to help those with progressive keratoconus by adding to that number. As with offering any new service, we expect you to have some questions. We hope these will help, and if you have a question not listed below, feel free to give us a call.

Who backs the iLink™ procedure?

Not only is iLink™ the only FDA-approved, therapeutic treatment for this ocular disease, both the American Academy of Ophthalmology as well as the Cornea Society recommend cross-linking for the treatment of progressive keratoconus, making it the new standard of care.

What’s so special about this procedure?

First, it can reduce or delay the need for more invasive procedures down the road. Second, it can offer you peace of mind knowing this one-time procedure is widely covered by commercial medical insurance (to see if it is covered under your insurance, we recommend you reach out to verify). Third, keratoconus is serious and can lead to vision loss, which is commonly associated with anxiety, depression, and ability to remain independent. iLink™’s goal is to prevent that from happening.

We’re here to be there every step of the way on your keratoconus journey. Schedule an appointment to discuss your options today, by clicking here.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Ulcerative keratitis can occur. Patients should be monitored for resolution of epithelial defects. The most common ocular adverse reaction was corneal opacity (haze). Other ocular side effects include punctate keratitis, corneal striae, dry eye, corneal epithelium defect, eye pain, light sensitivity, reduced visual acuity, and blurred vision. These are not all of the side effects of the corneal collagen cross-linking treatment. For more information, go to http://www.livingwithkeratoconus.com to obtain the FDA-approved product labeling. You are encouraged to report all side effects to the FDA. Visit http://www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Man smiling with glasses

Cataracts Awareness Month: Everything You Need to Know

Dubbed Cataracts Awareness Month by the Academy of Ophthalmology, we are going to break down everything you need to know about cataracts, how to slow progression, and more.

What are cataracts?

A cataract clouds the normally clear lens within your eyes. For people with cataracts, seeing through a clouded lens is a bit like looking through a frosted or fogged-up window.

What causes cataracts?

Cataracts are very common and part of the natural aging process, and typically starts happening at age 40 when the proteins in your lens start to break down. At around age 60, people can start to have visible clouding of the lens. This is also when symptoms can increase in severity, but may not happen until years later. There are other risk factors for developing cataracts, such as:

  • It is in your DNA (having family members with cataracts)
  • Certain medical problems, for example, if you have diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Previous eye injuries, eye surgeries, or radiation treatments on the upper body area
  • Spending excessive time in the sun, subjecting your eyes to harmful UV rays without proper eye protection
  • Certain medications such as corticosteroids

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Cataracts can change your vision. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may have cataracts:

  • Blurry vision
  • Seeing double
  • Extra light sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing well at night
  • Need additional light when you read
  • Seeing bright colors as faded or having more of a yellow tone

If you notice any of these cataract symptoms, notify your ophthalmologist.

Cataracts can cause distortion or ghost vision.

Cataracts can cause blurry and/or dim vision.

Cataracts can cause dull or yellow vision.

Can I slow down the development of cataracts?

Studies have shown that you can slow the development of cataracts by simply protecting your eyes from the sun. You can do this by wearing sunglasses that block out ultraviolet (UV) rays. You can talk to your eye doctor, but you may also wear glasses that have a clear coating that blocks UV.

I was diagnosed with cataracts. What do I do now?

If you have been diagnosed with cataracts, we are here to help you each step of the way. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you are older than 65, you should schedule an eye exam every year
  • Block UV rays and block out harmful rays by wearing protective sunglasses and a hat (there are sunglasses that block at least 99 percent UV)
  • Quit smoking, if you are a smoker. Smoking is a known risk factor for cataracts
  • Use bright lights if you read
  • Get a magnifying glass (which can be ordered on Amazon or found at your local CVS or Walgreens)
  • If night vision, halos, or glare impact your vision, limit driving at night
  • Get eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • If it gets difficult to continue in your regular/day-to-day activities, consider cataract surgery
  • Get informed about cataract surgery. Talk to your ophthalmologist about:
    • the surgery
    • preparing for the surgery
    • recovering after the surgery
    • benefits of the surgery and all possible complications of the surgery
    • other questions you have

If you have any questions about cataracts, symptoms, surgery, or anything else, let us know! Ready to schedule an appointment? You request an eye care appointment by clicking here.

FAQ

Eye Care Frequently Asked Questions

We get asked a lot of questions about eye care, eye appointments, vision issues, and, naturally, everything that relates to your eyes and vision. See below for our top frequently asked questions. We hope this helps if you are wondering the same thing(s) as so many others who come in, call, DM, or email. If you have a question that is not listed here, let us know. We are here for you and are more than happy to try and get all of your eye and vision questions answered!

How often do I need an eye exam?

The frequency of your eye exams depends on your eye health and varies from patient to patient. In addition to ensuring healthy vision, a comprehensive eye exam can detect other health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. We recommend patients who wear corrective lenses or who are over the age of 60 visits us annually. Frequent eye exams or checkups could be needed for patients with certain health conditions (such as diabetes) or certain eye diseases.

How much does an eye exam cost?

During an eye exam, your optometrist can run a variety of tests depending on your symptoms, medical history, and what your eye doctor recommends. Eye exam costs depend on the tests and your insurance coverage. At Eyepic Slope Eye Care, we accept both health insurances and vision plans. We would be happy to give you an estimate before your eye exam.

What are the things that sometimes float across my eyes?

Sometimes, things that look like spots, threads, squiggly lines, or even little cobwebs can come into your line of vision. Chances are they are floaters, which are protein fibers that can clump together and cause the things that look like they are “floating” across your eyes. One or two occasional floaters are nothing to worry about; however, there are times when eye floaters can signal a more serious condition. You should call your eye doctor immediately if you notice a lot of new floaters, a shadow appears in your peripheral, side, vision, and/or a gray curtain covers part of your vision, as these are symptoms of a torn or detached retina.

What is the difference between ophthalmology, optometry, and optical?

Ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians all play important roles in providing eye care to patients, but not everyone knows what each function does. Let us break it down for you.

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are licensed to practice medicine and surgery. Advanced training in ophthalmology allows ophthalmologists to diagnose and treat a wider range of conditions compared to an optometrist. An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats all ocular conditions and performs surgeries.

An optometrist is a doctor who has earned the Doctor of Optometry degree (OD). Optometrists are primary health care specialists, trained to examine defects in vision, ocular injuries, ocular diseases, and problems with general health that may affect the eyes like diabetes and hypertension. Optometrists offer clinical advice and can prescribe for glasses and contacts.

An optician is trained to check and fit optical frames and lenses.  They use the prescriptions written by either the optometrists and ophthalmologists but do not perform the examinations or write prescriptions. At Eyepic, our opticians are highly trained on the most up-to-date innovations in lens technology and eyewear trends to ensure superior vision is achieved.

What other eye care services do you provide?

From comprehensive medical eye exams to specialty eye care such as myopia control, dry eye management, cataracts surgery, and glaucoma treatment, our optometrists and ophthalmologists are always a step ahead to provide our patients with the most complete eye care possible. You can find our services here:  https://www.eyepiceyecare.com/services/.

What insurances do you accept?

Eyepic Eye Care strives to serve our patients with the best eye care experience possible. For this reason, we try to accept as many insurance and vision plans as we can. You can find a list of the current insurance plans we accept here: https://www.eyepiceyecare.com/insurances/

What are my insurance benefits?

Your insurance provider can give you all your insurance coverage. We will review with you your benefits at the time of your visit to make sure you do not leave with an unexpected bill.

What do I need to bring for my appointment?

You should bring a valid government ID such as driver license as well as any medical and/or vision coverage cards you may have. You should also bring anything related to your eye health such as sunglasses, glasses, contact lens box if you have any.

Man and woman

Battle of the Sexes: Who has Better Vision?

Although many people would agree that men and women view the world differently, not everyone knows that men and women see the world differently because of their actual vision.

A study from Brooklyn College conducted by psychology Professor Israel Abramov found that men and women tend to attribute different shades of colors to the same objects. Researchers have an answer for this; “Across most of the visible spectrum, males require a slightly longer wavelength than do females in order to experience the same hue,” source: Biology of Sex Differences.

Because longer wavelengths are associated with warmer colors, a yellow may appear more orange, or an orange may appear redder to men than to women. For women’s eyes, colder objects such as leaves almost always appear greener to women than men.

It also appears that men are less skilled at distinguishing shades in colors from the center of the spectrum such as (blue, yellow, and greens).

According to National Geographic, vision findings can be attributed to the hunter-gatherer hypothesis. This hypothesis argues that men and women evolved with distinct psychological abilities to fit their prehistoric roles, i.e. because men were hunters and women were gatherers, their vision adapted accordingly.

It was noted that men had “significantly greater sensitivity for fine detail and for rapidly moving stimuli,” researchers wrote. Prehistoric hunters “would have to detect possible predators or prey from afar and also identify and categorize these objects more easily.”

Also noted was that the women, gatherers, were more likely to adapt to recognize close-at-hand, static objects such as wild berries, which could be the reason women have an advantage when it comes to color vision.

The next time you see a couple arguing about paint swatches, try not to judge. They might not see the same color. Men are actually more likely to have red-green colorblindness, according to the National Eye Institute. This is because red-green color blindness is passed down on the X chromosome.

Men have 1 X chromosome, which is from their mother. If the X chromosome has the gene for red-green color blindness, the son will have red-green color blindness.

Women have 2 X chromosomes, one being from their mother and the other being from their father. In order for women to have red-green color blindness, both X chromosomes would need to have the gene, which is less common.

Woman smiling with eyewear

How do I Schedule an Eye Exam Near me?

Scheduling an eye exam near me

Finding an eye doctor has never been easier. A quick Google Search “eye exam near me” and you can find eye care practices listed in your area, see their contact information, location, and request directions to their office.

Most of the time, practices will have their office information available on Google as follow:

You will be able to see their name, photos of their office, have access to their exact location, their hours of operation, appointment scheduling system, links to their website, request directions, save their information, or call them directly. Most importantly, you will be able to see reviews from their current patients.

Because practices have entered their information online, Google gives you the nearest results to your location when you are searching for an “eye exam near me”.

Schedule with trust

Having access to patients’ reviews is one thing, another thing you should check before scheduling is the office’s photos. Some eye care and healthcare professionals will not take the time to show you the inside of their practice and this is because it might have outdated medical technology, be dirty, or messy. Whatever the reason is, you should be careful.

Practices with outdated technology will have a harder time identifying early stages of eye conditions, which can result in eye conditions left undetected and untreated. Sight-threatening eye conditions have often no symptoms in the early stages, which makes them hard to detect without adequate technology. Advanced eye care technology is costly for practices, but without it an eye doctor cannot be proactive, check patients’ eye health in detail, and provide superior vision care.

Another thing you should consider when looking for an “eye exam near me” on Google is the list of services offered by the practice. You can normally find them on their website. The best is to look for integrated eye care practices – offering optometry and ophthalmology under one roof. This, plus the technology the practice uses will ensure that you receive the best eye care possible. From comprehensive eye exams to eye surgeries, optometrists and ophthalmologists working together with the best available technology will be able to identify, diagnose, and treat a wide variety of eye conditions. Practices offering only optometry may have to refer patients to other practices specialized in ophthalmology. In this process, you will most likely have to re-do the auxiliary tests/examinations with the ophthalmologist that you already did with the optometrist. By going to an integrated eye care practice, you can rest assured that all your eye concerns will be addressed, saving you time, reducing referral stress, and avoiding mistakes throughout the eye care process.

Conclusion

It can be easy to schedule an eye exam from a quick “eye exam near me” search on Google, but there are some boxes to check before you choose your eye care provider. The top things to look at are:

1-      Services they provide. The best is to choose integrated eye care practices with Optometry, Ophthalmology, and Opticianry all together to ensure that all your eye care needs are met now or in the future.

2-      Technology they use. Look for photos of high-tech machines from brands such as Optos, Zeiss, Topcon, etc. They give practitioners the ability to meticulously check patients’ eyes health.

3-      Reviews from patients. Does the practice have a lot of reviews? Are the reviews fair/reasonable?

4-      Inside of the eye care practice: Does it look clean and safe? If a practice is unable to keep high standards, how can this practice take care of your eyes?

With all these tips, you can look for an “eye exam near me” safely and choose your eye care provider wisely.