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Helpful Articles

Sports Vision

Sports vision is a growing niche in the eyecare industry, helping athletes improve their performance skills through the enhancement of visual skills. While regular eye exams are important for checking the health of your eyes and your visual acuity (how clearly you can see a still object at different distances), sports vision testing is recommended for anyone who takes their athletic performance seriously. 
 

Visual skills needed for sports performance

There are several key visual skills that are enhanced through sports vision programs for athletes that aim to achieve their optimal sports performance, these include:


Dynamic visual acuity: this refers to the patient’s ability to see objects clearly while in motion. This is exceptionally important as hand-eye coordination and reflex reactions are essential for success in most sporting activities.


Contrast sensitivity: good contrast sensitivity is needed to determine the difference between an object and its surroundings. Contrast sensitivity is particularly important in situations where there may be low light, fog or glare that could diminish the natural contrast between objects and backgrounds. 


Eye tracking: this refers to the ability to follow a fast-moving object, such as a ball or puck.


Switching eye focus: athletes need to be able to change their focus quickly and accurately from one distance to another. 


Binocular vision skills: also known as eye teaming skills, these skills determine how well your eyes work with one another to produce a single, clear image.


Processing speed: visual processing speed is defined as the amount of time it takes to make a correct judgement about a visual stimulus – for example, how fast a ball is travelling towards them. 


Peripheral awareness: athletes also need to be able to be aware of what is happening at the edges of their vision while also concentrating on a fixed object in front of them.



Sports vision testing can enable your eye doctor to spot any weaknesses that you may have in any of these key visual skills. By identifying them, it is possible for you to undergo treatment to overcome theses issues and meet your specific goals that will ultimately enhance your overall athletic performance. This is known as sports vision training.
 

What’s involved in sports vision training?

Sports vision training refers to a personalized treatment plan that is designed to train the brain to achieve maximum efficiency in the way that it receives, processes, and responds to visual input. Exactly what is involved in your sports vision training will depend on your athletic activity and the visual skills that your eye doctor identifies for improvement after comprehensive sports vision testing. Your treatment program will use a variety of tools, techniques, and exercises. You may also be asked to complete some exercises at home to further enhance your progress. With sports vision training, the ultimiate goal is for athletes to continue to see faster and clearer, giving them a distinct competitive edge. 


For more information about sports vision and how it can benefit amateur and professional athletes, please contact our team.


How Exercise Benefits the Eye

It is common knowledge that exercise plays a critical role in healthy living. Exercise can help improve energy levels, lower blood pressure, aid in weight loss, helps to build muscle and so much more. But one benefit of exercise that is not as well known is the profound impact on your eyesight. 

Based on recent research, eye conditions are usually a direct result of a health issue such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol level, etc. While some of these diseases are unavoidable, exercising regularly can definitely help in the prevention of these diseases and in doing so, help keep the eyes healthy. In addition to physical exercise, there are even some eye exercises that can be done to keep your vision healthy. Some examples are focusing on certain points, rolling your eyes in different directions, writing with the eyes, etc.
 

Cataracts and Exercise

According to a study in 2003 and another in 2006, a relationship was discovered between an increase in exercise and a decrease in cataract. It emphasized that there is a greater chance for cataract if there is an absence of physical activity. This implies that taking a light walk or jog around your house or on a field track consistently can contribute to the fight against cataracts.
 

Macular Degeneration and Exercise

According to one study, exercising three times or more on a weekly basis reduces ones’ chances of developing exudative macular degeneration. Exudative macular degeneration occurs when blood vessels grow beneath the retina that are not needed and then leak fluid and blood into the eyes.
 

Glaucoma and Exercise

One major cause in the development of glaucoma is an increase in ocular perfusion pressure. Very light exercises like jogging or walking at least three times weekly helps to reduce the intraocular pressure and improves the flow of blood to the optic nerve and retina.
 

The benefit of eye exercises

  • Protects against dry eyes. Eye exercises help maintain and improve the fluid level in the eyes, thus eliminating the probability of dry eyes because as the eyes are being exercised say by rotation, there is the tendency that fluid is produced.

  • Reduces eye strain and tension. Exercising the eyes daily helps in reducing the strain and tension that has been placed on the muscle. Exercises like rolling the eyes and writing with the eyes help in the contracting and relaxing of the eye muscles. Long hours of study or use of a computer can cause blurry vision, but through exercise, clarity can be achieved by eliminating tension and unnecessary pressure.

  • Make the eye muscles flexible. Exercises like shifting and swinging the muscles of the eyes help promote flexibility in the muscles of the eyes. Just like exercise helps the body muscles, the same thing applies to eye exercises.
     


Pediatric eye exams

Regular eye exams are important for children since their eyes can change significantly in as little as a year as the muscles and tissue develop. Good eyesight is critical for a child’s life and achievements since success in school is closely tied to eye health. School demands intense visual involvement, including reading, writing, using computers, and blackboard/smartboard work. Even physical activities and sports require strong vision. If their eyes aren’t up to the task, a child may feel tired, have trouble concentrating, have problems in school or have difficulty playing their favorite games which may affect their overall quality of life.
 

When to Perform a Pediatric Eye Exam?

According to research, a child should have an initial screening between 6 and 12 months of age. After that, routine eye health and vision screenings throughout childhood should be performed in order to help detect any abnormalities as their eyes develop. Then, unless otherwise recommended, every two years thereafter until the age of 18.

For a newborn, an optometrist should examine the baby’s eyes and perform a test called “red reflex test” which is a basic indicator that the eyes are normal. In a case that the baby is premature or at high risk for medical problems for other reasons, has signs of abnormalities, or has a family history of serious vision disorders in childhood, the optometrist should perform a comprehensive exam.

A second eye health examination should be done to infants between six months and the first birthday. This examination includes tests of pupil responses to evaluate whether the pupil opens and closes properly in the presence or absence of light, a fixate and follow test to determine whether the baby can fixate on an object such as a light and follow it as it moves, and a preferential looking test which uses cards that are blank on one side with stripes on the other side to attract the gaze of an infant to the stripes and thus vision capabilities can be assessed. Infants should be able to perform this task well by the time they are 3 months old.

For a Preschooler, between the ages of 3 and 3½, a child’s visual acuity and eye alignment should be assessed. If the child is diagnosed with misaligned eyes (strabismus), "lazy eye” (amblyopia), refractive errors (astigmatism, myopia, hyperopia) or any other focusing problems, it’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible to ensure successful vision correction and life-long benefits.

At School age or upon entering school, the child’s eyes should be screened for visual acuity and alignment. In this age group, nearsightedness (myopia) is the most common refractive error and can be corrected with eyeglasses.


Keratoconus and Your Treatment Options

Keratoconus is a terrifying diagnosis to those that have experienced it. To compound issues, many patients complain that they had poor initial treatment due to a lack of understanding about the disease. If proper treatment is not achieved, individuals may experience a rapid deterioration in their ability to see. This leads to a reduced quality of life. You can reduce the stress related to a keratoconus diagnosis and increase the benefits of treatment by understanding your treatment options.
 

Understanding Keratoconus

Keratoconus is an eye disease that causes the cornea to thin and bulge. This bulge generally takes on the appearance of a cone. As light enters the eye, it becomes distorted by the cone causing vision abnormalities.

Modern research is connecting keratoconus with an enzyme imbalance in the cornea. This imbalance leaves the eye susceptible to oxidative free radicals. Keratoconus has also been linked to UV damage, excessive eye rubbing, poorly fitting contacts, and chronic eye irritation.
 

Treatment Options

While your eye professional will have the best understanding of what treatment option is right for you, we have compiled ten of the most common treatments here.

  • Corneal Cross-linking (CXL) – There are two different types of this procedure, but they both introduce riboflavin to the cornea in order to strengthen the corneal tissue and stop the bulging from progressing.

  • Custom Soft Contact Lenses – Soft contacts are generally more comfortable to wear than gas permeable lenses. Recently, some contact companies have been able to create a contact specifically to correct the issues related to mild and moderate cases of keratoconus.

  • Gas Permeable Contact Lenses – Gas permeable lenses are a hard contact lens that physically forces the eye to adhere to the lens shape. This allows for the correction of keratoconus. The fit is often time-consuming and may take several different lenses to achieve the proper fit.

  • Piggybacking Contact Lenses – This method is used for individuals who require a gas permeable lens but cannot tolerate wearing rigid contacts. Piggybacking utilizes a soft lens placed on the eye first, and then a gas permeable lens is placed over the top. This offers the comfort of soft contacts with the rigidity and clarity of the gas permeable lenses.

  • Hybrid Contact Lenses – Hybrid contact lenses were designed specifically for keratoconus. This technology blends a rigid contact lens center with a softer edge, or skirt, of the contact
 
  • Scleral and Semi-Scleral lenses – These lenses are gas permeable lenses but cover a larger area of the eye than a standard rigid lens. These lenses don’t put pressure onto the cone shape of the eye. The reduced pressure results in a more comfortable fit for patients.
 
  • Prosthetic Lenses – This lens is used specifically for patients that have very advanced keratoconus and have ruled out other options. The advanced scleral lens also doubles as a protective prosthetic shell. There are special requirements to qualify for this lens though, so check with your eye care professional if this is an option for you.


Considering Your Face Shape When Choosing Eye Glass Frames

When it’s time to select a new pair of eyeglasses, it can be challenging to find the frame that feels the best for you. Eyeglass makers have become increasingly aware of their clients’ desire to customize frames as well as offer a variety of colors, designs, and frame shapes. Understanding more about your face shape and the types of frames that would look best on you can help to reduce the amount of time you spend trying on frames that don’t complement your face shape. Here are a few useful tips to help you find glasses best suited for your face shape.
 

Face Types

While there are thousands of different frame shapes, there are only seven different face shapes.
 

Round

This face type is as wide is it is long. There are no specific or well-defined angles to this face type. Most people with this facial type look for frames that will elongate their face in order to draw out their natural features as well as give their face a thinner appearance. A good choice is often to select a frame that is angular and narrow.


Heart

If you can imagine the shape of a traditional heart, this face shape is easy to identify. The top 1/3 of the face is wider while the rest of the face tapers to a narrow chin. Individuals with this face shape will often seek frames that are wider at the bottom of the lens. This helps to balance the face and give the appearance of a narrower face at the top. Another great fit for this face type would be rimless frames.
 

Base Down Triangle

This face type contains a wide jaw and cheekbones but is narrow at the forehead. Cat-eye type frames are great for this face type, as are frames that are heavier near the eyebrow to provide more balance.
 

Diamond

This face type is the rarest. The diamond face is like the base-down triangle but differs because it has a narrow chin, thus appearing like a diamond. When selecting eyeglasses, look for oval-shaped frames, or frames that have more detail along the brow line.
 

Oblong

This face type looks like an oval, but these individuals have a straight cheek line. This face is fuller than it is long. Frame types that add some depth are ideal for this face. This can be done by finding frames that have decorative pieces along the temples or that have more depth with a reduced width.
 

Oval

Oval faces are the most common face type. They are considered to have balanced proportions so that most frame types will work well. An oval face is longer than it is wide and includes plump cheekbones. Walnut shaped eyeglasses are an ideal choice, but frames that are as wide or wider than the broadest part of your face would work as well.
 

Square

These individuals have a broad forehead and jaw that gives the appearance of the face having equal and straight sides. These face types usually do well with narrow or oval-shaped frames which will help to soften their features.
 

Additional Tips

Your hair color may play a role in the best frame color for you. Individuals with warm hair colors (brown or black hair) do best to choose a lighter colored frame to add contrast. People that have hair on the lighter end of the spectrum can pick just about any frame color that they would like and may look to other features like eye color or skin tone to help make their decision.

Skin tone has the opposite effect from hair color on the best choices for the frame color. Those with lighter skin hues do best with similar frame colors, and those with warmer skin tones can pick and choose options that they enjoy the most.

Above all else, you should pick a frame that you like best. There may be additional factors to consider when choosing the right frame for you, but perhaps the most important factor is your overall happiness and comfort.


Understanding Computer Vision Syndrome

Just a few decades ago, computer vision syndrome (CVS) was not known or understood. However, with an increase in the role of computers in our lives, it has become an increasingly common issue. Researchers believe that 50-90% of people who use computers in their daily lives have experienced CVS to some degree. The amount of time that many people stare into a computer screen is increasing, which puts significant strain on our eyes.

CVS is not considered a single specific problem, but a suite of issues. And with the increased use of school computers, tablets and smartphones, children are also becoming more susceptible to CVS.

This syndrome is similar to many other repetitive motion type conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Problems can start because as we are reading text on a screen, our eyes move in a repetitive motion throughout the day. Once the issue has started, continuing the same behavior can worsen any symptoms. While reading alone uses the same motion, digital screens add flicker, contrast, glare, and light that all put additional strain on our eyes.

Issues may also be accelerated if you should be wearing some type of corrective lens, but don't, and are therefore putting additional strain on your eyes.

Aging can also speed up the progress of these issues. Around the time that people turn 40, the lenses of the eyes begin to harden due to a disease called presbyopia, which affects your ability to see closer objects.
 

What Happens if I have CVS?

There is currently no proof that CVS causes long-term vision impairment or blindness. Continuing to use a computer or any other type of screen can continue to be an annoyance or reduce your ability to see properly. Some of the warning signs of CVS are:

  • Blurred vision

  • Double vision

  • Red or dry eyes

  • Headaches

  • Neck pain

  • Back pain

  • Eye Irritation


If you don’t properly treat CVS when these symptoms occur, you may begin to notice that you suffer from a decrease in overall quality of life or job performance.
 


Vision Therapy

Vision therapy is a treatment plan that is intended to develop and improve a patient’s visual skills and abilities, with the goal of making their day to day life easier. You may also hear Vision Therapy referred to as VT. Although most commonly associated with children, whose visual skills are still naturally developing, adults can also benefit from vision therapy.
 

Any patient who does not have the necessary visual skills could find themselves suffering from a range of unpleasant symptoms, including headaches, eye fatigue, stiff neck and double vision. Fortunately, vision therapy is a simple, painless technique to help patients to enhance their visual skills and overcome any issues that they may have been experiencing.
 

Skills that can be developed and improved through vision therapy

Vision therapy has been shown to be an effective way of developing and improving the following visual skills, all of which are important for day to day life. 
 

Tracking: this refers to the ability to follow a moving object smoothly and accurately with both eyes – such as moving traffic or a ball coming towards you.
 

Depth perception: this is the ability to judge relative distances of objects and and move accurately in a 3D space – for example, being able to walk down a flight of stairs.
 

Peripheral vision: this refers to the edges of your vision and your ability to be assess what’s happening in your peripheral vision while paying attention to something directly in front of you.
 

Acuity at different distances: this is the ability to see clearly enough to identify and understand objects at both near and far distances. 
 

Fixation: enabling patients to quickly and accurately look at, identify and understand stationery objects one after the other, for example, reading word to word. 
 

Binocular vision: the ability for both eyes to work together in perfect synchronization.
 

Shifting focus: patients with this skill can look quickly at different distances without momentary blur. 
 

Visualization: a valuable visual skill that enables patients to form and retain images in their head. 
 

What to expect from a vision therapy appointment?

Vision therapy is generally conducted as an in-office treatment, under the close supervision of your eye doctor. Each vision therapy treatment plan is personalized; tailored to the specific individual needs of each patient. Most patients can expect to schedule hour appointments once or twice a week. You may also be given specific exercises to complete at home, which will support the progress that you are making during your in-office appointments. The components of Vision Therapy Treatment are non-invasive and drug-free, making VT suitable for the vast majority of patients, regardless of their age, health and history. For many people, vision therapy is a safe alternative to conventional eye surgeries.
 

There are various techniques that can be involved in vision therapy. These include, but aren’t limited to:
 

  • Prisms
  • Patches
  • Occluders
  • Therapeutic lenses
  • Exercises
  • The use of tools designed specifically for use in vision therapy exercises


By attending regular vision therapy appointments, patients can see an improvement in their vision, visual comfort and experience an overall improvement with the ease in which they use their eyes for daily activites.


Diabetic Related Eye Exams

You have almost certainly heard of diabetes, which is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United States with an estimated 100 million adults currently living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. This metabolic disorder occurs when the body is no longer able to regulate its own blood sugar levels and requires intervention to keep them stable. Most people are aware that diabetes can have serious consequences for our health. However, you may be surprised to learn that it can also influence our vision. This is because patients who are diabetic can go on to develop a complication that is known as diabetic retinopathy. Without prompt treatment, diabetic retinopathy can cause permanent vision loss. It is for this reason that patients who suffer from diabetes are asked to attend regular diabetic-related eye exams. 
 

What is diabetic retinopathy?

For us to be able to see clearly, our eyes need to be healthy and functioning perfectly. The most important component of our eyes are the retina. Found at the very back of the eye, the retina is a patch of light-sensitive cells that have the job of converting the light that passes into the eye into messages that are passed up the optic nerve and into our brain. Our brain then receives them and tells us what we can see and how clearly we can see it. 


The retina relies on a continuous supply of blood, which is delivered using a network of tiny blood vessels. Over time, having continuously high blood vessels can damage these blood vessels causing a leak of blood and other fluids onto the retina. If this happens, scarring may occur which could compromise the quality of your vision. 
 

Am I at risk of diabetic retinopathy?

Technically, anyone who suffers from diabetes, whether it be Type 1 or Type 2, could be at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. However, the condition is more likely in certain situations. These include if:

  • your blood sugar levels are uncontrolled or poorly controlled
  • you have a long history of diabetes
  • you have high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • you suffer from high cholesterol 
  • you are pregnant


Regular diabetic-related eye exams will enable your eye doctor to monitor your condition and ensure that any signs of diabetic retinopathy are detected and acted upon immediately. 
 

What to expect from diabetic-related eye exams?

The process of a diabetic eye exam is very simple and straightforward. In fact, in most instances, it is included within the other elements of comprehensive eye exam and you may not even realize that you have had a specific test to check for diabetes-related complications. 


Diabetic eye screening is non-invasive. You will be given eyedrops which will blur your vision. These may sting a little when they are administered, but this will pass within just a few moments. Once your vision is blurred, you will be asked to rest your head onto a device and stare down a lens. This leads to a camera which will take images of the backs of your eyes so that your eye doctor can assess the structures, which include the retina, for any abnormalities. You will see a flash when each image is taken, but at no point should you be in any pain. 


In addition to the images of the back of your eye being taken, you will also be given a visual acuity test. This is where you will be asked to read letters off a chart a short distance away, as well as reading from a card held in front of you. 


The information that your eye doctor will obtain from your examination will be able to tell them if you are experiencing any of the signs of diabetic retinopathy. If so, they will discuss the best way to get your condition under control. This could involve a combination of elements, including controlling your diabetes more effectively, taking medications or more invasive treatment to preserve your vision. Your eye doctor will give you more specific information based on your individual circumstances. 


If you have further questions about diabetic-related eye exams, please contact our knowledgeable eye care team. 


Comprehensive Eye Exam

If you’ve had a vision screening recently, you might say, “My vision is fine! I don’t need a comprehensive eye exam.”

But a vision screening provides a limited perspective on the overall health of your eyes. It’s a bit like getting your blood pressure checked and not getting the rest of your annual physical. You’ll have useful information, but it’s not the whole picture.
 

What are the Limitations of a Vision Screening?

Vision screenings only test your ability to see clearly in the distance. This is called visual acuity and is just one factor in your overall vision. Others include color vision, peripheral vision, and depth perception. The screening also doesn’t evaluate how well the eyes focus up close or work together. Most importantly, it doesn’t give any information about the health of the eyes.
 

Vision screenings are conducted by individuals untrained in eye health.

Vision screenings are offered in many places – schools, health fairs, as part of a work physical or for a driver’s license. Even if your physician conducts the screening, he/she is a generalist and only has access to a certain amount of eye health training. Most individuals don’t have the tools or knowledge to give you a complete assessment of your vision or eye health.

Vision screenings use inadequate testing equipment.
In some cases, a vision screening is limited to an eye chart across the room. Even when conducted in a physician's office, they won’t have the extensive testing equipment of an eye doctor. They also won’t be aware of nuances such as room lighting and testing distances all of which are factors that can affect test results.
 

What are the Benefits of a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

Comprehensive eye exams evaluate all aspects of your vision and eye health.
The comprehensive eye exam looks at your eye externally and internally for any signs of eye disease, then tests your vision in a variety of ways.


Best Foods for Eye Health

Generally, despite knowing how important the role of our eyes is in our day to day functioning, we tend to neglect the day to day care necessary to maintain optimal eye health. Just close your eyes for a minute or you put a non-transparent cloth across your eyes and try to walk around your home or workspace. It is quite difficult, right? That is how indispensable the eyes are.

While it is common knowledge that eye issues are a result of eyestrain or aging, most people are ignorant of the fact that an unbalanced diet, as well as deficiency in certain nutrients, can also facilitate eye issues. This implies that eating healthy means that there are certain nutrients that can help reduce the risk of eye issues. Some of these nutrients include omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, copper, zeaxanthin, zinc, vitamin E, A, C, and beta-carotene. For healthy eyes, there are foods that should be part of your diet daily. They include:

1. Fish- Fish is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially oily fish which have oil inside their body tissue and guts. They are regarded as the major source of omega-3 fatty acids which help in improving the immune system and brain function. More so, it helps in the development of the eye and retina and in keeping the eyes from dryness. It is therefore important to incorporate fish into your diet about 3 times a week. Incorporating fish rich with this needed nutrient such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, herring, mackerel, and anchovies about 3 times a week is important in helping to maintain optimal eye health.

2. Eggs- The yolk of an egg contains a combination of the nutrients vitamin A, zeaxanthin, and lutein which help to safeguard the cornea, reducing the chances of suffering from cataracts and macular degeneration and zinc which keeps the retina healthy and aids night vision. Eggs are very complimentary food as it can go with other foods and can also take various forms based on your taste.

3. Carrots- This is the most common food for eye health. It contains beta-carotene and vitamin A which protect the surface of the eyes and help to prevent infections. Vitamin A is a form of protein known as rhodopsin and it is tasked with the responsibility of aiding the eyes in absorbing light. A lack of vitamin A is the reason why there are about 500 thousand blind children every year.  Carrots are easy to get and very affordable. They can serve as snacks or be sliced or diced into salads. 

4. Nuts and Legumes- Legumes and nuts provide a lot of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids which guard the eyes against age-related disorders. Brazilian nuts, peanuts, walnuts, lentils, and cashews are perfect examples of legumes and nuts and can be eaten as a form of dessert or taken as snacks based on your choice.

5. Citrus Fruits- Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, an essential nutrient for healthy eyes. Vitamin C helps in keeping the blood vessels in the eyes healthy. It also stands against cataracts, and with other nutrients, it helps against macular degeneration. Citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. The good thing about this food is that they can be consumed on their own or turned into a juice.


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