Patient Education

The Eye Associates is a place where patients can come for comprehensive eyecare as well as education on eye conditions and treatments.

For more interesting information, check out our YouTube videos, Educational Animations, Archived TV Shows and Blog below. And of course, feel free to contact The Eye Associates with any additional questions you may have.

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See below for some Frequently Asked Questions on a range of topics.

Have your child’s vision screened regularly. Common childhood problems such as strabismus (crossed eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye) must be detected and treated at a young age to prevent vision loss. Screenings are recommended for children starting at age three.

Wear sunglasses and hats. These help protect your eyes from UV light, which can promote the development of cataracts and retinal disease as well as protect your skin. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. These foods contain antioxidants, which have been proven to prevent the progression of some eye diseases.

Wear eye protection at work and play. Playing sports and exposure to chemicals and yard debris are among the most common sources of eye injury. Someone in The Optical Gallery can recommend the appropriate protective eyewear for your activity.

Treat contact lenses with respect. Contacts that aren’t cleaned properly, or that are worn too long, can cause eye injury, infection, and even blindness. Have a yearly eye exam to have them checked for wear and tear. Even if you don’t wear glasses, a routine eye exam can detect many general health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

In addition, serious and sight-threatening eye diseases may not present symptoms, but can be diagnosed during a preventative exam and often treated before damage occurs. Everyday activities and even your safety depend on good vision, so please make regular eye exams a part of your yearly schedule.

Digital devices are making our lives easier, but they also make our eyes work a lot harder. While all this technology is great for our productivity and the way we connect with others, it has a downside that most people don’t think about – they create visual demands that our eyes were not designed for. The constant refocusing required to go back and forth from digital screens to the world around us takes its toll on our eyes, and our bodies in general.  We spend hours daily staring at screens, leaning in to see them better, and taking in the blue light that they emit.  All this leads to vision problems, so much so that there is now a term applied to the effects – Digital Eye Strain.

More than 92% of Americans own a digital device, and 70% of those experience some of the following symptoms: tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches, itchy eyes, dry eyes, and sometimes even neck & shoulder pain.

What is the answer? Zeiss has the answer. ZEISS, a leader in precision optics for over 165 years, has created a portfolio of eyeglass lenses and coatings to meet the increased visual demands of today’s digital lifestyle.

The Zeiss Office lens Book is for reading whereby the Office lens Desk is for a workstation environment. Another option is the Gunnar computer/gaming glasses, also by Zeiss. Even the Individual Freeform Progressive lens can be customized for your visual needs; offering  increased productivity and relief from these everyday symptoms.

Another new concern is the amount of exposure to harmful blue light from LED lights, digital devices, TV screens, and computers. For your protection, ZEISS has developed DuraVision BlueProtect that offers protection from this harmful blue light. Blue light concerns range from the disruption of sleep patterns to retinal damage. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation warns that evidence suggests that long-term exposure to blue light may contribute to photochemical damage of the retina (known as “blue light hazard”). So your eyeglasses can do more than just help you to see. These new products can actually help with the health of your eyes.

You can find Zeiss Lenses at The Optical Gallery at The Eye Associates. Come in for a FREE eyeglass consultation with one of our board certified optical technicians.

(Information courtesy of Carl Zeiss Vision)

As we age, so do our eyes. Starting at age 40, many of us come to the shocking realization that the print on the menus seems smaller than it used to be, and the numbers on your caller ID are almost impossible to read now. You can’t escape the fact that you have become presbyopic. Presbyopia is a natural progressive condition that makes reading and doing close work more difficult. Even people that have had perfect eyesight their entire lives find they can no longer read printed materials at normal distances. The good news is that glasses, contact lenses and even surgical procedures such as the NEW Raindrop Near Vision Inlay, can help people see better.

Starting at age 40, we recommend yearly eye examinations. Of course, we want to make sure we correct your presbyopia but we also want to make sure that we keep your eyes healthy. Remember early detection and treatment can slow or prevent vision loss.

Your eyesight is one of your most precious senses, and protecting it should be a top priority. It is estimated that one person becomes blind every 11 minutes due to injury, aging, or disease. A proactive approach of early detection and treatment can prevent the occurrence of half of these tragedies. Many eye diseases develop slowly without symptoms, so a regular yearly eye exam is the most crucial step to ensure that problems are caught early. You should also remember to wear safety eyewear during work and sports, and to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays with a pair of good quality sunglasses. And of course, we recommend yearly eye examination.  Remember early detection and treatment can slow or prevent vision loss.

Many of our patients like to store their drops in the refrigerator, because feeling the coolness of the drops in the eye provides assurance that they have been put in correctly. Some people find cool drops more soothing as well. But it is very important to always store them in their own special location, separate from any other bottles that look similar. There has been an increase in patients reaching for what they think are artificial tears, but instead placing a drop of ear wax remover, super glue or even worse substances into their eyes.

If you do inadvertently put the wrong liquid into your eyes, immediately rinse it with lots of plain water or saline solution. Also remember, The Eye Associates always have a doctor on call 24/7 who can advise you if immediate attention is needed. Call us at 1-866-865-2020. If something more toxic, such as drain cleaner, battery acid, ammonia based cleaning products, dry wall or concrete dust gets into your eyes, you should immediately rinse and then go to the emergency room nearest to you.

Fellowship Trained means that a physician has completed a residency-training program in ophthalmology but also has been selected for a highly prestigious faculty level program at an accredited University to continue training in a specific area of the eye for a minimum of 1 year. During that year of training, the surgeon performs many surgical procedures, often including the most difficult and complicated referral cases. With this advanced experience, the fellowship trained physician has gained excellent technical skills and also understands how to manage complications. It also enables him/her to determine whether a patient is a good surgical candidate in the first place. The following physicians at The Eye Associates are fellowship trained:

  • Richard Hector, MD – Fellowship Trained in Corneal and External Disease
  • Robert Friedman, MD – Fellowship Trained in Glaucoma
  • Brian Foster, MD – Fellowship Trained in Corneal and External Disease
  • Joshua Mali, MD – Fellowship Trained in Retinal Diseases
  • Todd Berger, MD – Fellowship Trained in Retinal Diseases
  • Jeffrey Kasper, MD – Fellowship Trained in Retinal Diseases
  • Charles Anthony II, MD – Fellowship Trained in Oculofacial Surgery

Glare is a serious danger in relation to driving, during both the day and night, but especially when driving directly into the sun. Glare can temporarily blind the driver so that curves, other cars, or even people are not seen, sometimes resulting in tragedies that could have been avoided. Most accidents from glare happen in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is at eye level.

There are two ways to find relief from glare. The first is by wearing polarized sunglasses during the day. Polarized lenses not only offer 100 percent UV protection for the health of the eye, but they also dramatically reduce glare caused by reflected light. People who wear polarized sunglasses for the first time are amazed at how much better they see, as well as how rested their eyes feel at the end of the day.

You can significantly improve your vision after dark by adding an anti-reflective coating to your regular glasses. Reflections decrease vision and safety, so by adding an anti-reflective coating to the lenses of your glasses, you can reduce glare, annoying reflections, and the halos often seen around lights. You will find this to be especially helpful when driving during rainstorms. Drivewear Sunglasses by Transition as well as PrescripSun Lenses by Carl Zeiss Vision are great choices to keep you safer. Call 941-792-2020 or toll free 1-866-865-2020 to set up a FREE optical consult at The Optical Gallery and learn what type of glasses would be best for your driving needs.

Diabetes affects your entire body, including your eyes. According to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetics are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those without this disease. The most common complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, and the longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is that you’ll develop diabetic retinopathy.

High blood sugar levels, as associated with diabetes, often affect blood vessels in the retina of the eye, causing diabetic retinopathy. There are 2 stages of classifications of diabetic retinopathy: non-proliferative or proliferative.

In the early and most treatable stages of diabetic retinopathy, there are usually no visual symptoms or pain. In fact, many times the disease can even progress to an advanced stage without your noticing the gradual change in your vision.

Some symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may include:

  •     Abnormal patterns in the field of vision
  •     Dark streaks in your vision
  •     Sudden onset of decreased vision
  •     Distorted central vision
  •     Floaters
  •     Red film that blocks vision
  •     Blind spots
  •     Poor night vision
  •     Items may have a blue-yellow color tone, interfering with color perception

We strongly recommend that all diabetics have yearly comprehensive medical eye exams. Your eye doctor will dilate your eyes and check your retina, blood vessels and optic nerves for changes. We may also order a fluorescein angiogram to track and photograph dye as it flows through the retina to look for leaking blood vessels.

The most important tool for treating diabetic retinopathy is good management of the underlying diabetic condition. Nevertheless, once diabetic retinopathy has presented itself, there are several methods of treatment. Lasers are the mainstay; often used to treat the early stages of diabetic retinopathy by sealing leaking blood vessels. More advanced cases may require a vitrectomy, a surgical procedure needed when the vitreous, the gel in the eye, contains a great amount of blood.

The optimal time for treatment is before the patient experiences visual symptoms so early detection and treatment is the best protection against significant vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy can progress into its advanced stages with no pain and no recognizable vision loss. That’s the reason it is so important for all diabetics to get a yearly comprehensive medical eye examination.

Please take time to educate yourself, and any loved ones with diabetes, on how to preserve their vision.

No doctors appointment should be a one-way conversation. We encourage you to take notes and ask the following questions to help you get the most out of your time with the physician:

-What do you check for in an eye exam besides my eyeglass prescription?

-Did you find any abnormalities that I should be concerned about?

-If there are, what can I do to keep my vision safe?

-What symptoms should I look out for?

-Is there anything I can do to monitor my own vision at home? Should I be using an Amsler Grid?

-What eyeglass lenses are best for my visual needs and hobbies?

-Do I need computer eyeglasses or will one pair of glasses meet all of my vision needs?

To help ensure that you receive the best possible care, at your next eye exam you should let your doctor know about:

-Chronic health conditions that affect you and/or your family such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and allergies
-Eye health problems that run in your family, such as macular degeneration,  cataracts, and glaucoma
-The prescription and non-prescription medications that you take
-Work-related factors that may affect your eyes, such as computer use, work  outdoors, and lighting
-How you use your eyes at play in the pursuit of hobbies, sports, and other  activities
-Eye symptoms and difficulties that you are experiencing such as headaches, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light

Call toll-free 1-866-865-2020 or click here to schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Physicians.

You can monitor your own vision for changes by using an Amsler Grid. Stop by one of our offices to pick up a FREE Amsler Grid or click here to print out an Amsler Grid.

Use the Amsler Grid every day. Often people will mount the Grid on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror as a remind to do it daily.

Hold it 12 inches from your face, cover one eye, and look at the lines. If you notice any distortion, that is a signal to call your eye doctor right away. Then repeat with the other eye. It is important to test each eye separately and wear your glasses.

Did you know that 80 percent of a child’s learning comes through the eyes? That’s why it’s so important to look for the four warning signs that your child may have a vision problem:

-Excessive blinking or rubbing of eyes
-Complaints of headaches
-Tilting or turning of head to one side and squinting
-Placing head too close to a book or losing place often

One in four school-age children has a vision problem that affects his or her ability to learn. It is recommended that all children be screened for vision problems at birth and then again at six months. A full eye exam should be performed by the time a child is three years old and then before the child starts school at age five.

More and more people are talking about nutrition and antioxidants, and the role they play in reducing the risks of certain diseases. Research shows that people who consume optimal levels of antioxidants have a better chance of neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals that threaten eye health as well as general body health. Free radicals are by-products your body creates in the daily process of converting food to energy. Pollutants in the air and even ultraviolet rays increase the number of free radicals that can cause cell damage. Some scientists think that free radicals ultimately may contribute to the onset of cataracts and macular degeneration. Fortunately, antioxidants have been shown to counteract these harmful effects. Antioxidants and nutrients that are beneficial for your eyes include: Vitamin A (cod liver oil, liver, sweet potatoes, butternut squash) Vitamin C (sweet peppers, strawberries, broccoli, oranges) Vitamin E (sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts) Lutein and zeaxanthin: (spinach, kale, collard greens) Fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, trout). Before beginning a vitamin therapy program, be sure to consult with your eye doctor and your general physician. Sometimes there can be a dangerous interaction between prescription medications and over-the-counter vitamins. Your doctors can help determine which supplements are beneficial, and safe, for you to take. Stop by one of our offices to check out the supplements that we endorse and sell.

Get their eyes checked EVERY year! Good diabetes management includes regular eye exams. A condition called diabetic retinopathy can develop which may diminish or even destroy a patient’s vision by injuring delicate blood vessels in the eye’s retina. This can happen before you notice any impairment, but will be revealed by a comprehensive eye exam.

Monitor your own vision between exams. Pay close attention to any changes in your vision and report any problems to your eye doctor immediately. Get treatment early. The best protection against any significant vision loss is always early detection and treatment. Laser surgery can often be helpful in treating the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. Call 1-866-865-2020 to make a diabetic eye examination appointment with one of our board certified eye physicians.

Memory loss is difficult, and when one’s world is blurry, it can greatly add to the confusion. Studies show that a lack of visual sensory input can even cause changes in the brain. People with low vision stop participating in stimulating activities, become depressed and withdraw from family and friends. This makes maintaining good vision especially important for those with memory impairment. Since lost eyeglasses are an expensive recurring problem for those with memory conditions, surgical options may be a better solution. If you want to make sure your loved one is enjoying as much life as they can and are safer, make sure that they are seeing well. The Eye Associates specializes in CustomEyes Vision, and our doctors’ caring manner and expertise will help you understand the choices for your loved one’s eyes.

Poor vision can have many adverse effects, such as depression, car accidents, and medication errors, but none of these are more concerning than a fall. Falls are among the leading cause of death for people age 65+, and people with low vision are at even greater risk. Reduced contrast, decreased depth perception and a reduced field of vision can inhibit balance and the ability to detect obstacles. Increased safety is one of the most compelling reasons to have an annual eye exam. Call 1-866-865-2020 to make an eye examination appointment with one of our award winning physicians.