Calling all Diabetics

It is very important for diabetics to have a yearly eye exam, and in some cases, even more frequently than that. When you are first diagnosed with diabetes, we want to establish a baseline so we can better track any changes in your eyes over time. That may include retinal photography; something that may not have been included in past eye exams.

Vision deteriorates when a diabetic’s blood glucose, often called blood sugar, gets high. If it is controlled quickly, then the vision will usually return. If the glucose stays high, it can damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye. Also new, weak blood vessels may begin to grow and bleed, therefore decreasing vision.

One of the most common complications of diabetes is an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. In the early stage…and most treatable stage…symptoms are mild and sometimes even imperceptible. That is why we always dilate eyes so that we can take a good look at the retina and diagnose and treat problems early.

We also ask that diabetic patients monitor their own vision and report back any unusual symptoms such as flashing lights and/or missing vision. This could be a sign of diabetic-related vision problems.

Besides yearly eye exams, we also encourage our diabetics to maintain healthy sugar levels as well as weight. Other things to keep an eye on…..Keep your blood pressure under control, and of course, quit smoking, if you smoke.

With early detection and treatment, most diabetics can maintain good vision for life. If you need a diabetic exam, just click here or call 1-866-865-2020.

COVID – 19 Face Covering Do’s and Don’ts

Cloth Face Covering

Do’s and Don’ts

The CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to  cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms.

Here are some FAQ to help you understand the why, the what and the how.

When do I need to wear a cloth face covering?

A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people are in a community setting, including at the grocery store and the pharmacy. These face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing.

Do I still need to stay at least 6 feet away from people if wearing a cloth face covering?

Yes. Wearing cloth face coverings is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The CDC still recommends that you stay at least 6 feet away from other people, frequent hand cleaning and stay at home as much as possible.

 What type of cloth face covering should be worn?

Cloth face coverings can be purchased or made at home from common materials at a low cost.

Who should not wear cloth face coverings?

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children younger than 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance. They should not be worn if you are driving by yourself in the car.

Why is CDC recommending cloth face coverings instead of medical grade facemasks?

Surgical masks and N95 respirators are in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers or other medical first responders. Hopefully you will be properly following the social distancing guideline and won’t need one.

Stay safe and wear those face coverings anytime you go out. Let’s stop the curve. 

Contact Lenses and COVID-19

The American Academy of Optometry (AAO) believes that contact lenses can still be safely worn during this pandemic as long as people follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance on handwashing as well as following their doctor’s strict contact lens hygiene protocols.

The research literature is clear on how to prevent contact lens infections of all kinds, such as bacteria, viral and fungal diseases. The American Academy of Optometry has the following recommendations for contact lens wearers.

Contact lens wearers must:

  1. Wash hands thoroughly, at least 20 seconds with soap and water, and dry hands completely with a CLEAN cloth or paper towel.
  2. Use daily disposable contact lenses, if possible.
  3. If solutions are required, use them appropriately. Specifically, do not top-up or re-use solutions.
  4. Replace cases monthly or more frequently. Rinse wipe and air-dry contact lens cases every day.
  5. Do not wear contact lenses when you are ill.
  6. Do not sleep in your contact lenses, unless it is medically necessary.


Finding Help For Your Dry Eye Disease

 It is estimated that 33 million Americans have some form of Dry Eye Disease.

Tears are more than a means of expressing sadness and joy. They are an essential part of maintaining healthy eyes and good vision. When tears are functioning well, we don’t even think about them. But when they aren’t, we begin to notice the following symptoms:

  • Stinging and itching
  • Burning sensation
  • Inflammation, redness
  • Sandy, gritty feeling
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Excessive tearing

Excessive tearing? How can this be a symptom of Dry Eye Disease (DED)? Because healthy tears are made up of a specific formula containing three components: an outer layer of oil, a middle layer of water, and an inner layer of mucus. If this composition is out of balance, your eyes will not be lubricated sufficiently. And, when the cornea becomes too dry, tear glands will overcompensate and stimulate too much of the watery component. Odd as it seems, your eyes can be overflowing with tears and still be “dry”.

Why Do We Get Dry Eyes?

There are many reasons for this to happen. Aging is one of the most common causes. Environment can play a role too. Hot, dry and windy weather as well as heaters and/or air conditioners may be a problem. Ceiling fans that blow directly on you at night could be another reason you wake up with that scratchy, sandy feeling. Computer and all digital use are also a big issue because users have a way of staring at the screen for long periods of time and forgetting to blink. In younger people, this non-blinking behavior is a marked cause of dry eyes, as is long term use of contact lenses. Even problems with your eyelids can cause dry eyes. Sometimes the lids will turn outward (ectropion) or inward (entropion); conditions which can be addressed surgically. Inflamed eyelids (blepharitis) are often another cause. This can be related to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Certain types of medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, eczema, and Sjogren’s syndrome, to name just a few, can cause dryness. Some medications, like antihistamines or diuretics, also produce dry eye symptoms.

Are There Treatments to Help?

If you have any of the symptoms above, come in to confirm a diagnosis. The Eye Associates is an Accredited Dry Eye Center of Excellence and can perform an osmolarity test, (saltiness of your tears) which analyzes the quality of your tears and determine if you have dry eye disease.

Dry Eye Disease is generally a condition that is not cured (depending on the cause), but it can be managed. Treatment options usually fall in four categories: increasing the amount of tears kept in the eyes, decreasing tear evaporation, treating inflammation, addressing eyelid function and meibomian gland dysfunction.

Keep in mind that DED is frustrating and requires patience. It is a complex medical problem that has no quick fixes, and one that may need several therapies before finding a treatment that works for you. And treating dry eyes in the early stages is important. If meibomian gland dysfunction is the cause, waiting too long to treat may allow the glands to atrophy. Once that happens, there is no way to restore gland function. If the quality of your tears is poor, the long term effect is that the ocular surface cells can become damaged.

Click here or call 941-792-2020 today to make an appointment with one of our dry eye specialists.

Are you over 40 and been told that LASIK is not the best procedure for you?

Clear Lens Replacement, known as CLR, has become the rage for people over 40 that want to be less dependent on glasses. The new high tech lens implants help with distance, intermediate and near, unlike LASIK that only offers distance vision correction. And the best news is that they will never get a cataract or have to have cataract surgery! How cool is that! Come in for a FREE CLR screening with Dr. McCabe or Dr. Foster to find out if you are a candidate.

Remember the ABCDEs of Melanoma!

Melanoma Diagram

(A)Asymmetry: One half of the area does not match the other half.
(B)Border: The edges are uneven or ragged.
(C)Color: The color is not the same all over and may have more than one shade or color present.
(D)Diameter: The size is larger than a pencil eraser (6 millimeters).
(E)Evolving: Changing


Important New UV Protection For Your Eyes

Protect your eyes from UV exposure.

Because of the vast research on UV and its harmful effects of skin cancer, we are hyper-sensitive about protecting our skin. But are you taking those same precautions with your eyes?

Studies show that only 1 out of 4 people consistently wear sunglasses with UV 400 protection.

No matter what weather conditions are, cloudy or sunny, the invisible ultraviolet rays (UV) are always present. We know that exposure to UVA & UVB radiation is known to contribute to Cataracts, Macular Degeneration, Pterygiums, and Photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea), to name a few.

What can you do?

Zeiss is setting a new standard of care when it comes to UV protection by introducing ZEISS UVProtect Technology as part of ALL of their clear lenses. This is the first time that ‘sunglass-level UV 400 protection’ will be available in all clear lenses. Other lens manufacturers only offer protection up to UV 380, and this gap in protection can account for consumers being exposed to as much as 40% of the most harmful UV rays, UV 400. Even though there are some UV coatings that can be added to clear lenses, there is no guarantee that the coating is applied consistently. This new lens will have the ZEISS UVProtect Technology embedded in the lens material, and it will not alter the clear lens effect at all nor will it deteriorate.

Children and UV

We think this new ZEISS lens is especially important for children since most wear clear lenses. Studies show that less than 10% of parents are aware that kids are exposed to 3 times the UV radiation as adults, and 50% of the eye damage from UV occurs before the age of 18.

ZEISS feels so strongly that this is an important step in eye protection that they have announced that they will not patent-protect this UVProtect Technology. They want it to become the standard of care for all lenses.

The Eye Associates is the area’s exclusive provider of ZEISS eyeglass lenses. We, in association with ZEISS, have an ongoing commitment to optical innovations in order to protect our patients’ vision and help them see their best. We are pleased and excited to offer ZEISS UVProtect Technology to our patients at the Optical Gallery in our Venice office. Summer is coming, so be sure your eyes have the protection they need.

The Eye Associates is proud to be the area’s exclusive ZEISS Certified Eyecare Center.


6 Warning Signs of a Serious Eye Problem

Do you know when an eye problem requires prompt attention? Some eye issues can be scary, so if you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms, I urge you to act quickly. Saving your vision might be at stake.

eyechart over eye


1) A sudden decrease in vision in one eye…

Retinal problems, including a macular hole, a retinal

detachment, or an abnormality in the optic nerve are the most common cause. Women are at higher risk than men, and risk increases with age.

2) A gradual loss of central vision or distortions when looking at straight lines…

Central vision loss is a common symptom of Macular Degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. I recommend that seniors monitor their eyes for changes daily with an Amsler Grid. Pick up your FREE Amsler Grid at any of The Eye Associates locations.

 3) Flashes, a shower of floaters in the eye, or a dark curtain across your field of vision…

Most floaters are benign, but if you experience a sudden onset, it could indicate a retinal problem. A retinal tear or detachment needs to be treated immediately. If left untreated, permanent vision loss could occur.

4) Loss of peripheral vision….

Loss of peripheral vision happens so slowly that it often goes unnoticed, but it could indicate that you have glaucoma. Because there are usually no glaring symptoms signaling the presence of glaucoma, I advise everyone to have a yearly comprehensive eye exam in order to catch it in the early stages. Any vision loss from glaucoma cannot be regained, but with medication and/or surgery, it is possible to halt further loss.

 5) A sudden onset of eye pain, halos around lights, nausea, vomiting, and redness…

This may signal an acute attack of Narrow Angle Glaucoma. If you do not receive immediate treatment, this condition can permanently damage your optic nerve, causing loss of vision. I sometimes suggest a preventive laser treatment for patients with ‘narrow’ angles to prevent them from suffering one of these painful attacks.

6) Double vision or ‘ghost like’ images…

Double vision can be caused by a variety of eye and general health conditions, including giant-cell arteritis (or temporal arteritis), cataracts, migraine headaches, brain tumors, strokes or aneurysms. Get help promptly so the underlying cause can be determined and treated.

 Sometimes, it’s not an emergency…

Cloudy vision, or feeling like a film is over your eyes….

I would suspect cataracts. During a comprehensive eye exam, I can determine whether cataracts are causing these vision problems. Luckily cataract surgery is quite commonplace these days and we can return good vision to you quickly and safely.

Saving sight is The Eye Associates’ most important mission. Please call 1-866-865-2020 if you or someone you know needs immediate care. Even after business hours, The Eye Associates has a doctor on-call to take care of emergencies.

Some Important Considerations Before Having LASIK

Some important considerations when about having LASIK:

  • Make sure you are examined by your surgeon BEFORE LASIK surgery. It’s important for you to get all your questions answered by the person that is going to be performing your surgery.
  • Ask the surgeon about his/her enhancement rate. It is important to know the skill level of your
  • surgeon and how often a second procedure is needed.
  • Ask what other refractive procedures that your LASIK surgeon performs. Today there are
  • many types of vision correction procedures. You want to know that your surgeon is qualified to
  • perform them all and will choose the best procedure for your eyes.
  • Ask about your surgeon’s qualifications and how many procedures she/he had performed.
  • Do your research BEFORE scheduling LASIK surgery. Price advertising is not always what it
  • seems. Make sure that the pricing includes the latest technology, your level of prescription, and all the visits that you will need to complete your care.

LASIK is a wonderful procedure and one that can easily change one’s life for the better. You only have one set of precious eyes. Only trust yours to the best!

The Eye Associates – Come in for a FREE LASIK screening with Dr. Foster to find out if you are a candidate.

What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia, often called ‘lazy eye’ and occurs when the eyes are turned or when one eye has a much different prescription than the other. The brain will “shut off” the image from the turned in or blurry eye. When left untreated, amblyopia can stunt the visual development of the affected eye, resulting in permanent vision impairment. It often occurs during early childhood so detecting the condition early increases the chance of successful treatment, especially if detected before the age of five. The earlier the underlying cause is corrected with spectacles, patching and/or surgery, the more successful the treatment in equalizing vision between the two eyes.