Alamo Optometry Blog

January 22, 2013

Why Are They Printing Things So Small These Days?

Filed under: Uncategorized — gkblog @ 9:58 pm

(As appeared in Alamo Today, January 2013)

As much as we would all like to believe that the print is just getting smaller, deep down we know it is all about having more birthdays.  For those of you who don’t buy the conspiracy theory that print is made smaller on purpose by your younger colleagues, you can direct your anger at your lens.  The lens changes shape when acted upon the muscles within the eye, and that allows the eye to focus at different objects at different distances.  Since the lens continues to grow throughout life, it becomes thicker, denser, and less flexible as time goes on.  Therefore, focusing ability is best when you are born and gradually declines from that point on.  Presbyopia usually shows itself in your early 40’s when it comes to the point where patients at least start to notice things up close aren’t quite as easy as they used to be. 

            Now for the good news…there are many options to help with the “short arm syndrome”.  Depending on your distance and reading prescription, reading and computer requirements, and personality, we can attempt to tailor a solution to this problem.

            For glasses wearers, progressive lenses are usually the choice.  These lenses allow for clear vision in the distance, intermediate, and reading areas.  The newer digital designs are allowing for wider corridors of usable vision, thereby making initial adaptation mush easier.  Computer progressives are also great task-specific lenses that allow for vision at the computer and at near while reducing the need to search for the “sweet spot” for the intermediate area on the lenses for the computer. 

For those who are not interested or have been unable to get used to progressives, line bifocals or separate near and distance glasses are your option.  Line bifocals give clear vision in the distance and near, but might be a little difficult for some at computer distances.  However, they take care of a large portion of your daily vision tasks.  The advantage of having separate glasses is that there are no lines and no distortion in the periphery of the lenses as in progressive lenses.  The drawback is that you always need to have both pairs handy as they are not interchangeable. 

In contrast, there are many contact lens wearers who believe that once presbyopia kicks in that they will no longer be able to wear contacts.  While that might be an option for some, it definitely does not have to be.  Recent advances in multifocal contact lenses allow for vision at all distances.  However, they are not used in the same way as progressive glasses.  Since glasses are stationary, you can lower or raise your eyes to utilize a different portion of the lens depending on what you are viewing.  With contacts that is not possible as the lens always moves with you, so you are always looking through the same part of the lens.  Therefore, you are presented with both distance and near vision and you just pay attention to the clearer image.  Sounds difficult, but generally it is easier to get used to than monovision, in which one distance contact is on one eye and one reading lens on the other.  Depending on the prescription and the person, this modality works for a lot of people, but it does require an initial adaptation period. 

            Obviously this discussion was not all inclusive, as there are other options available including some that are a combination of the above.  I enjoy working with patients to explore all available options to come up with the best solution to fit each person’s needs.

Happy Holidays

Filed under: Uncategorized — gkblog @ 9:56 pm

(As appeared in Alamo Today, December 2012)

It is hard to believe that 2012 is almost in the rearview mirror.  It is funny that I am noticing the older I get the quicker time seems to fly by.  All joking aside, during this time of the year we take a look back and the year and take stock of the progress and changes that were made in the last 12 months.

Our office has grown this year thanks to our patients.  You continually support us and go above and beyond by recommending us to your friends and family.  As the years go by, we are meeting more and more local people while in the community at local establishments and at the office.  We believe in provding quality service and care and this is what our patients deserve and have come to expect from us.

We have brought in two new frame lines, Banana Republic and Dutz.  Both lines are unisex, but appeal to different personalities.  Banana Republic has frames that have a sophisticated, clean look for all age groups.  Dutz are from Europe and are for those of you that want something a little different in shape and color.  The unique designs and color combinations are something new for the office.  Right now they only have metal frames, but plastic ones are coming early next year.

For those of you who wear contacts, there have been some additions and subtractions in the market.  There are new daily disposable toric lenses for those of you with astigmatism and want the comfort, convenience, and vision that a daily disposable  can offer.  We had to say goodbye to the Acuvue Advance and O2 Optix lenses.  However, there are so many different products to try that these patients have all found new lenses and new modalities that have made their contact lens wearing experience even better.

In looking frward to the holiday season, we are constantly being asked during this time of year about flexible spending accounts (FSA) and how to use them at the office. 

            The government has a wide range of specified expenses that qualify as a medical expense.  These include any office co-pays, any necessary or elective surgical procedures (including LASIK), and many medical devices.  Included in that list is any vision correction device (glasses, computer glasses, contact lenses, sports goggles, etc.) and sunglasses.  As long as your purchase is made by the end of the year, it will count on your 2012 account balance. 

In addition to these tax-friendly accounts, do not forget to utilize your vision insurance.  At our office, we are providers for Vision Service Plan (VSP), Eyemed (which can include vision coverage for Anthem Blue Cross and Aetna if the plan has a eye care provision), and Medical Eye Servies (MES).  All plans have an exam benefit and have variable material allowances towards glasses or contact lenses.  Some plans recycle on the change of the new year, so this is an optimal time to use your benefits.  Between your vision coverage and your FSA, most if not all of your charges will be covered.

Finally, in this holiday season and all year round, it is important to think about those who could use our help.  We always collect old frames and sunglasses and donate them to a local charity in January.  They are distributed to people who cannot afford quality glasses.  As long as the glasses are wearable, the condition does not matter.  Regardless of appearance, they will definitely assist a person in need to help them see better.  We wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the years to come.

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