A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

How to Find the Right Contact Lenses

by dwasylow 16 January 2014 05:47 AM

There are basically two non-surgical options for correcting your vision. Either, wear glasses or try contacts. Even with thousands of choices in designer eyeglass frames, some people still prefer the look and benefits of wearing contacts.

Benefits of Contacts

  • Less likely to be obstructed by accumulated debris or smudges since they rest directly on your eyes and are cleared each time you blink
  • Greater field of view
  • Less likely to interfere with performance during sports and games
  • Resist fogging up due to extreme temperature changes

What do you need to do in order to wear contacts?

First, you need to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor for a routine eye exam and contact lens fitting. If you haven’t had your routine eye exam yet, we recommend you do so soon. It’s one of the first things most people should have on their lists for the New Year.

Since contacts lie directly on the eye, your eye doctor must measure your eye in order to prescribe the correct contact lenses. This is a quick and painless procedure.

Following these exams, the doctor will sit down with you and go over the basics of wearing and cleaning your contact lenses. This is important. If you neglect proper cleaning or otherwise fail to take care of your contacts, you could end up with complications.

There are different methods for putting in your contacts; it all depends on your muscle reactions and how well you can keep your eye open when inserting contact lenses. This fun video below gives a general guide on how to put in and take out your contacts:


It’s important to use a good contact solution to clean your contacts. Your eye doctor can recommend a solution that matches the type of contacts you wear.

The doctor will give you a pair of trial contact lenses to test out over the course of a week so you can get a feel for them. After that week, you’ll come back and he’ll check your eyes for any irritation or damage. If he finds no complications and you’re comfortable wearing contacts; he will ask you if you want one-day, weekly, monthly or continuous wear contacts.

The most comfortable contacts are often the one-day disposables, since you have a fresh pair each day, but they also tend to be more expensive. Ask your eye doctor what he recommends and you’re sure to enjoy a clearer outlook on the world.



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20/20 Vision is a Requirement for Some Careers

by dwasylow 13 January 2014 06:33 AM

If your eyesight isn’t up to snuff, it’s likely you have some form of corrective lenses. However, for some careers, contact lenses or glasses may not be practical or even acceptable. Photographers, for example, find glasses to be intrusive as they are unable to hold the camera right up to their eye. But, these high danger and high-risk jobs actually require 20/20 vision in order to get the position.


Fire fighters need great vision
Photo Credit: Brett Arthur Donar via Compfight cc

Firefighters need to be able to spot victims in burning buildings instantly, as well as spot dangers from fire damage when arriving at the scene of a fire, making fantastic eyesight a must. In addition, you must be able to quickly scan fire codes on buildings or structures in order to understand what method should be used to resolve the situation.

The exposure to smoke and other debris can make contact lenses dangerous, and rule them out as options.

Police Officers

Police need great eye sight
Photo Credit: Viewminder via Compfight cc

Having bad eye sight as a police officer is going to do more harm than good in the long run. If the officer is unable to identify a criminal within a crowd or properly judge a situation quickly due to vision that isn’t up to par, he may be putting himself and others at risk. Ideally, officers should have 20/20 vision in order to help them in the event of danger, to aid in criminal investigations or to be a witness in court.

Life Guards

Sunglasses a valuable tool for lifeguards
Photo Credit: CAHairyBear via Compfight cc

Often seen at the local pool or at the beach, lifeguards can be found seated on high tower chairs or in high tower posts overlooking the area. As they are inherently far away from any situation, it is imperative they have 20/20 vision so they can spot people who are in danger and can react as quickly as possible.

First Responders / Paramedics

Paramedics rely on outstanding vision
Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces via Compfight cc

First responders only have moments to assess a situation. If they don’t notice everything within a few seconds of arriving on the scene, the life of the person they came to rescue could be at risk. Needless to say, 20/20 eyesight is a must for paramedics to quickly respond, identify injuries or read medical alert bracelets.

If you find yourself with subpar vision and traveling down one of these career paths, you may need to consider laser eye surgery. And while 20/20 eyesight is a must for these careers, it remains important to have healthy vision for everyone else. Our eyes are windows to our world; if you can’t see clearly, you’ll miss out on the little things. If you haven’t already, it’s best to schedule your yearly eye exam as soon as possible.



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Choosing the Best Sunglasses for Your Outdoor Activity

by dwasylow 10 January 2014 07:12 AM

Spending time outdoors on a beautiful and sunny Gainesville day can be enjoyable, but without sunglasses it can be dangerous to your eye health. The right sunglasses can protect your eyes, and help reduce glare and brightness, both of which can cause discomfort. 

While most sunglasses are strong enough to protect your eyes, there are many options and people sometimes have a hard time picking the right ones. Here are some tips to help you choose the right pair of sunglasses for your favorite outdoor activity.

If you enjoy fishing, you want to make sure to protect your eyes from hooks and sinkers. Fishing sunglasses should be wraparound if possible and the lenses made of sturdy polycarbonate or trivex.

Fishing is the most common outdoor activity that relates to eye injuries. About 38% of fishing eye injuries involve getting a hook caught in the eye – 44% come from getting hit in the eye by a sinker or lure.

Regular sunglasses do not provide enough protection. Instead, try to find a pair of sunglasses specifically designed for fishing. These lenses usually have a brown tint and provide better coverage for your eyes.

If you are cycling, kayaking or hiking, protecting your eyes from glare and ultraviolet rays is the most important thing you’ll want to take into consideration.

Always choose sunglasses with 100% UV protection. While a pair of glasses may look fashionable, it’s likely that they do little protect to your eyes from the sun. So it may be best to choose function over fashion.

Lens colors make a difference

Gray or green colored lenses are a good choice for runners, cyclists and golfers. These lenses help your eyes see true color, and allow you to better appreciate your surroundings, the way they were meant to be seen.

Amber or brown lenses are great for cloudy days. Both colors enhance the contrast in your vision. Brown lenses are wonderful for boating, fishing and skiing. Amber lenses, though they distort colors, reduce eye strain, and are thus better suited for pilots, hunters, skiers and others engaged in all-day outdoor activities.

Yellow lenses are effective in low-light environments, especially on those partly cloudy days, when the sun isn't strong but the day is still bright. Yellow lenses are also a great choice for skiing.

Use sunglasses with red lenses if you need an optimal contrast between objects and green or blue backgrounds. Red lenses are useful when sailing, boating, hiking and hunting.

Should I consider polarization?

Most people may not be familiar with polarization. It allows sunglass lenses to absorb light from angles, and is optimal for blocking glare. Definitely pay attention to the availability of a polarized filter when purchasing the right pair of sunglasses.

Try them on before you buy

Choose a pair of glasses that sit high on your nose. This will allow you to easily keep the lenses close to your eyes, and block light from the sides.

The sunglasses should fit your face well. If they have a nose pad, make sure the pad fits your nose properly. If they don’t have one, the sunglasses should fit the bridge of your nose snugly, but not tightly.

The most important thing is comfort, so keep trying them on until you find the pair that is just right.

If you are unsure which sunglasses may be right for you, come on in! Our optical department will be able to assist you and find the pair that suits all of your needs.



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Start the New Year off Right with Your Yearly Eye Exam

by dwasylow 19 December 2013 08:11 AM

With January 1st fast approaching, many of us think about New Year’s resolutions. Typical ones like resolving to lose five-to-10 pounds, read more or travel the country are all great additions to your resolutions list. This year, however, we have another resolution you should consider…making an appointment for your annual eye exam.

Your eyes are important and fragile parts of your body. If you don’t take good care of them, you’ll have a harder time seeing the world. It’s important to have a comprehensive eye exam every year to keep your eyes in good health. In addition, this is a chance for your eye doctor to see if you’re at risk for developing any eye diseases or vision degradation. It’s best to maintain and prevent any diseases; if found, before they get out of hand. Routine yearly eye exams help achieve this and it should be a part of everyone’s New Year’s resolution.

What Is the Doctor Examining?                       

Your eye doctor will do an initial sight measurement to determine your overall visual health. This primarily looks at “refractive error” which is classified into three vision impairments:

  • Myopic or nearsightedness – difficulty seeing objects in the distance.
  • Hyperopia or farsightedness – difficult seeing objects up close.
  • Astigmatism – Blurred vision due to irregular formation of your eye’s lens or cornea.

Usually, these 3 vision impairments are corrected by prescription glasses or contacts. While having those items will give you a clear picture, it’s recommended to maintain your yearly exams to ensure your vision isn’t getting worse.

Added to the sight measurement, eye physicians test if you’re at risk for certain eye diseases. Most of the time, catching these diseases early and treating them right away will alleviate any risk of vision loss.

Don’t put of this exam until it’s too late. It only takes a few minutes and you’ll be out the door happy you got your eyes examined.



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The Value of Seeing a Licensed Optician

by dwasylow 16 December 2013 12:05 PM

At Gainesville Eye Physicians and Optical we are committed to delivering the highest quality of healthcare. That’s why we hire licensed opticians to treat patients in our optical department. Not every optical shop can claim that. In fact, most retail eyeglass outlets don’t employ licensed opticians. So, why is that important for your eye health?

Let’s begin with a definition. An optician is someone who interprets the prescriptions created by ophthalmologists or optometrists to produce contact lenses or eyeglasses. They often use a series of tests and technologies to determine how a patient can best benefit from the lenses and frames they select. These evaluations take into consideration both vision needs and lifestyle preferences.

Accurately translating the physician’s prescription into a set of lenses that address your vision needs is, of course, a critical step. It’s not uncommon for a patient to complain that an eye doctor inaccurately diagnosed their condition, when the breakdown actually occurred in the creation of the lenses.

Becoming a licensed optician requires a great deal of education, apprenticeship and testing. The State of Florida requires an optician to apprentice for 6250 hours before they can take the necessary tests to be licensed, some of these hours can be accounted for through a formal post-secondary educational program. Following this training, they take multiple board examinations to ensure their expertise.

Many retail optical shops put responsibility for your lenses in the hands of lesser-trained individuals. In fact, they may have no formal training beyond the company’s in-house instruction. This can result in glasses that fail to correct your vision problems and may even make them worse.

Gainesville Eye Physicians and Optical is blessed to have two of the best trained and best liked opticians in all of Florida, Mindy Tillman and Fagan Arouh, and they are both licensed. That means their education and skills surpass many others in our area.

When selecting someone to fill your eyeglass or contact lens prescription, remember to ask if he or she is a licensed optician. At Gainesville Eye Physicians and Optical, the answer will be yes.



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Best Practices for Eye Safety in the Workplace:

by dwasylow 26 November 2013 10:26 AM

It’s an unfortunate fact: work-related eye injuries happen. Can these injuries be avoided? Safety experts and eye doctors around the country say, yes. In fact, they believe 90 percent of eye injuries in the workplace could have been prevented with proper protection and safety habits.

It’s not surprising that many injuries come from industrial environments. On the job, our eyes are vulnerable to various hazards - projectiles, open chemicals and radiation in the form of UV and infrared light, just to name a few. High-risk jobs include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Carpentry
  • Electrical work
  • Auto repair
  • Plumbing
  • Welding
  • Maintenance
  • Mining

If you find yourself in one of these careers you’ll want to ask your employer to assess the work environment for eye safety. The employer can remove or reduce eye hazards where possible, and provide appropriate safety eyewear as well as require workers to use it.

You need to make sure you are using proper glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets specifically designed for your task. It’s the easiest and most effective way to keep your eyes safe.

If needed, your ophthalmologist or eyecare provider can assist your employer in determining potential eye hazards and evaluating the need for eye protection.

Do you work in an office job, and believe your eyes are pretty safe from hazards? Not so fast.

Office jobs where at least six hours per day is spent looking at some form of digital screen put eyes at risk as well. We subject ourselves to what is called digital eye strain.

We’re all familiar with the symptoms of digital eye strain:

  • Eye redness or irritation
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • General fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches

Fortunately these too can be avoided, or at least lessened. Increasing the font size on your screen, setting up an “eye-gonomically” friendly work station or even using computer eyewear can all dramatically reduce the effects of digital eye strain.

A report from The Vision Council provides tips for preventing digital eye strain by adjusting both internal and external factors while at the workplace.

External Factors:

  • Reduce glare – Adjust the brightness of your screen to match the appropriate light level. Wiping down your screen with a clean cloth every so often can also help reduce glare.
  • Make sure lights around you are dim – If your screen isn’t competing for brightness with overhead or surrounding lights, your eyes will be less strained. 
  • Distance is healthy – Keep enough space between your eyes and the screen. For best practice, you should be far enough away where you can extend your arm and comfortably high-five the screen with your palm; if you can’t fully extend your arm, you’re too close to the monitor.

Internal Factors:

  • Blink, blink, blink – In addition to keeping your eyes moist throughout the day – staring at a screen can really dry them out – blinking helps your eyes refocus every so often.
  • 20-20-20 – It’s recommended you take a 20 second break every 20 minutes, and during that break look at something 20 feet away. This will give your eyes a nice rest every so often. 
  • Consider special eyewear – First and foremost, check to see if your prescription is up to date for corrective lenses. This can help alleviate a lot of strain. There are also glasses specifically designed to reduce glare from digital screens – to achieve this special tints and coatings are applied directly to the lenses. They’re available in both prescription and non-prescription lenses.

No matter where we work, eye safety should be in the back of our minds. Eyes are windows to our world, and we should do everything we can to protect and keep them healthy.



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Warning Signs of Cataracts

by dwasylow 12 November 2013 04:00 AM

Like so many diseases, few people know the warning signs of cataracts, or what to do about them. Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye. They prevent light from passing through the lens (or lenses if both eyes are affected) and, as they become progressively worse, can make the patient’s vision similar to looking through frosted glass.

Below are symptoms that may indicate you are developing cataracts.

Cloudy or blurred vision

Cataracts start off small, so only a minimal area of your vision is initially impacted. You may occasionally look a specific direction and notice a blurred spot. It’s fairly common for patients to brush off these early signs. That clouded area will eventually grow, however, and overtake your full vision.

Lens discoloration

Cataracts cause a discoloration of the lens that result in patients beginning to notice that colors aren’t as bright as they once were. It’s like looking at life through a yellow or brownish film. Blues and purples are especially hard for the patient to distinguish as cataracts progress.

Light sensitivity, glare and halos

Cataracts can cause sunlight and lamps to seem uncomfortably bright. They can also cause patients to see glare around these light sources. When driving at night, a person developing cataracts will often see halos around the headlights of oncoming traffic.

Double vision

Double vision in one eye is common in cataract patients. Oddly enough, this may improve as the cataract grows larger and covers a larger portion of the lens’s surface. This is a dangerous symptom because it can throw off a person’s balance, so it should be checked out immediately.

Temporarily improved near vision

As strange as it may sound, some farsighted patients experience short-term vision improvement due to the impact cataracts have on the shape of the lens. They may even be able to read without the assistance of glasses for a short time. The improvement is only temporary, however.

Changes in vision

As pointed out above, cataracts can dramatically change your vision as they progress. As a result, patients developing cataracts frequently need changes to their eyewear prescriptions. A trained optometrist or ophthalmologist should be able to quickly recognize this issue in a patient.          

Presence of the symptoms above – individually or in combination – does not necessarily mean a patient has cataracts. Some symptoms can result from other eye diseases. Contact Gainesville Eye Physicians and Optical for a comprehensive exam, diagnosis and treatment plan.



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Halloween Hazard: Colored Contact Lens Dangers

by Stephanie 19 October 2013 04:10 AM
Halloween is a popular time for people to use colored contact lenses to enhance their costumes.  From crimson vampire eyes to glow-in-the-dark lenses, costume contact lenses can add a spooky touch to your Halloween attire.  However, few people know the risks associated with these lenses.  Most people believe that decorative contact lenses do not require the same level of care or consideration as a standard contact lens because they can be purchased over the counter or online.  This assumption is far from the truth.

It is, in fact, illegal to sell colored contacts without a prescription in the United States.  All contact lenses are medical devices that require a prescription and proper fitting by an eyecare professional.  Retailers that sell contacts without a prescription are breaking the law, and could be fined up to $11,000 per violation.

Never buy contact lenses, costume or otherwise, from a retailer that does not ask for a prescription.  There is no such thing as a "one-size-fits-all" contact lens, and the lenses offered online or in novelty shops are most likely not approved by the FDA.  Lens that are not properly fit to your eye may scratch the cornea or cause other damage, even if worn only a few hours.  

To safely wear costume contact lenses for Halloween or any time of year, follow these guidelines:
  • Get an eye exam from a licensed eyecare professional who will measure each eye and instruct you regarding proper contact lens care.
  • Obtain a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and expiration date.
  • Purchase the colored contacts from an eye product retailer who asks for a prescription.
  • Never share contacts with another person.
  • Get follow up exams with your eyecare provider.
If you notice redness, swelling, discharge, pain or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses immediately and seek medical attention from your eyecare provider.



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Computers and Your Eyes

by Stephanie 12 October 2013 05:01 AM
Staring at your computer screen, smartphone, video game, or other digital devices for long periods won't cause permanent eye damage, but may cause your eyes to feel dry and tired.  Normally, humans blink about 18 times per  minute, but studies show we blink half that often while using computers and other digital screen devices.  Here are some tips to reduce eyestrain from computer use:
  • Sit about 25 inches from the computer screen and position the screen so your eye gaze is slightly downward.
  • Reduce glare from the screen by lighting the area properly; use a screen filter if necessary.
  • Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds (the 20-20-20 rule).
  • Use artificial tears intermittently to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
  • Take regular breaks from computer work, and try to get enough sleep at night.  

If you have to be at your computer for an extended period of time, take regular rest breaks if possible.  If your eyes begin to feel irritated and tired, apply a washcloth soaked in warm water to your closed eyelids for a few minutes.  If you are a contact lens wearer, give your eyes a break and switch to glasses during a "marathon" computer session.



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Connection Between Glaucoma and Sleep Apnea?

by Stephanie 28 September 2013 03:41 AM
Over the years, studies have demonstrated an increased rate of glaucoma among people with sleep apnea, but these studies only proved that the sleep disorder was a marker for poor health in general.  However, new research from Taipai Medical University shows that sleep apnea itself is an independent risk factor for open-angle glaucoma.

The retrospective study took information from data collected across the population and found that those who had been diagnosed with sleep apnea were 1.67 times more likely to have open-angle glaucoma in the five years after diagnosis  than those without the sleep condition.

Glaucoma affects nearly 60 million people worldwide and is the second-leading cause of blindness.  If not treated, glaucoma reduces peripheral vision and eventually may cause blindness by damaging the optic nerve.  Half of the people who suffer from glaucoma are unaware of it, because the disease is painless and vision loss is typically gradual.

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that blocks breathing during sleep for more than 100 million people worldwide.  In obstructive sleep apnea, the airway becomes blocked, causing breathing to stop for up to two minutes.  Symptoms include loud snoring, choking or gasping while sleeping, morning headaches and persistent sleepiness during the day.

The researchers hope the study will encourage doctors to mention the increased risk of glaucoma to patients with obstructive sleep apnea and recommend treatment for those who need it.  While the association between the two conditions is clear, the reasons for this connection is not yet understood.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends all adults get a baseline eye exam from an ophthalmologist by age 40, when early signs of disease and vision changes may start to occur.



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