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Take this quiz to see if you might have eye allergies.

Take this quiz to see if you might have eye allergies. Always consult your doctor if you suspect you have an eye condition needing care.

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  • Do allergies run in your family?
  • Do your eyes often itch, particularly during spring pollen season?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with “pink eye” (conjunctivitis)?
  • Are you allergic to certain animals, such as cats?
  • Do you often need antihistamines and/or decongestants to control sneezing, coughing, and congestion?
  • When pollen is in the air, are your eyes less red and itchy when you stay indoors under an air conditioner?
  • Do your eyes begin tearing when you wear certain cosmetics or lotions, or when you’re around certain strong perfumes?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then you may have eye allergies. Make an appointment with an optometrist to determine the best course of action.

Source: https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/allergies.htm

How To Get Relief From Itchy, Watery Eyes

How To Get Relief From Itchy, Watery Eyes

Eye allergies — red, itchy, watery eyes that are bothered by the same irritants that cause sneezing and a runny nose among seasonal allergy sufferers — are very common.

ladycryingThe American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that 50 million people in the United States have seasonal allergies, and its prevalence is increasing — affecting up to 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children. In addition to having symptoms of sneezing, congestion and a runny nose, most of these allergy sufferers also experience itchy eyes, watery eyes, red eyes and swollen eyelids.

And in some cases, eye allergies can play a role in conjunctivitis (pink eye) and other eye infections.

If you think you have eye allergies, here are a few things you should know — including helpful tips on how to get relief from your red, itchy, watery eyes.

What Causes Eye Allergies

Normally harmless substances that cause problems for individuals who are predisposed to allergic reactions are called allergens. The most common airborne allergens that cause eye allergies are pollen, mold, dust and pet dander.

Eye allergies also can be caused by reactions to certain cosmetics or eye drops, including artificial tears used for treating dry eyes that contain preservatives.

Food allergies and allergic reactions to bee stings or other insect bites typically do not affect the eyes as severely as airborne allergens do.

Eye Allergy Relief

To get relief from your eye allergies and itchy, watery eyes, you can take a few approaches:

Avoiding allergens. As the old saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (By the way, Benjamin Franklin said that — the same guy who invented bifocals!) The best approach to controlling your eye allergy symptoms is to do everything you can to limit your exposure to common allergens you are sensitive to.

For example, on days when the pollen count is high, stay indoors as much as possible, with the air conditioner running to filter the air. Use high quality furnace filters that can trap common allergens and replace the filters frequently. When you do go outdoors during allergy season, wear wraparound sunglasses to help shield your eyes from pollen, ragweed, etc., and drive with your windows closed.

Removing your contacts. Because the surface of contact lenses can attract and accumulate airborne allergens, consider wearing only eyeglasses during allergy season. Or consider switching to daily disposable contacts that you discard after a single use to avoid the buildup of allergens and other debris on your lenses.

Over-the counter eye drops. Because eye allergies are so common, there are a number of brands of non-prescription eye drops available that are formulated to relieve itchiness, redness and watery eyes caused by allergies.

If your eye allergy symptoms are relatively mild, over-the-counter eye drops for allergy relief may work very well for you and may be less expensive than prescription eye drops or other medication. Ask your eye doctor to recommend a brand to try.

8 Tips For Eye Allergy Sufferers

  1. Get an early start. See your eye doctor before allergy season begins to learn how to reduce your sensitivity to allergens.
  2. Try to avoid or limit your exposure to the primary causes of your eye allergies. In the spring and summer, pollen from trees and grasses are the usual suspects. Ragweed pollen is the biggest culprit in late summer and fall. Mold, dust mites and pet dander are common indoor allergens during winter.
  3. Protect your eyes from airborne allergens outdoors by wearing wraparound-style sunglasses.
  4. Don’t rub your eyes if they itch! Eye rubbing releases more histamine and makes your allergy symptoms worse.
  5. Use plenty of artificial tears to wash airborne allergens from your eyes. Ask your eye doctor which brands are best for you.
  6. Cut down your contact lens wear or switch to daily disposable lenses to reduce the buildup of allergens on your lenses.
  7. Shower before bedtime and gently clean your eyelids to remove any pollen that could cause irritation while you sleep.
  8. Consider purchasing an air purifier for your home, and purchase an allergen-trapping filter for your heating/cooling system.

Prescription medications. If your allergy symptoms are relatively severe or over-the-counter eye drops are ineffective at providing relief, you may need to see your eye doctor to prescribe a stronger medication.

 

Source: https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/allergies.htm

 

Top 5 Risk Factors for AMD

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February is recognized as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) month. AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss among Americans ages 65 and over.

Reduce your chance for vision loss from macular degeneration by:

Wet AMD is the most severe form of the disease. It can lead to permanent loss of central vision. Your central vision is essential for driving, reading, and recognizing faces.

“The past few years have been marked by significant improvement in understanding the causes and the treatment of AMD,” says George Williams, MD, an AMD expert. “New research and clinical advances are helping us to better treat both the ‘dry’ AMD and ‘wet’ forms of AMD. One strong risk factor that people may not be aware of is family history. It’s important to find out whether your relatives have had AMD, and to tell your ophthalmologist if you have a history of AMD in your family. Knowing your risks can save your sight.”

Know Your Risks and Save Your Sight

Here are the top 5 risk factors for AMD:

People with two of these risk factors should schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Your ophthalmologist may recommend steps to reduce your risk of vision loss.

People who are at risk should know the symptoms of wet AMD, the form most likely to cause rapid and serious vision loss. Symptoms include:

  • sudden, noticeable loss of vision, or
  • sudden distortion of vision, such as seeing “wavy” lines.

See an eye care professional right away if these symptoms occur. Treatments for wet AMD provide an excellent chance of stopping vision loss. They may actually restore some vision when macular degeneration develops. Earlier diagnosis of wet AMD gives a better chance of successful treatment.

You can control some AMD risk factors, such as smoking and diet, to reduce the risk of vision loss. One way to reduce AMD risk is to quit smoking or never start. You can’t control all your risks, however. For example, you can’t do anything about your genetics. Knowing family medical history and sharing it with your ophthalmologist is an important step to protect your vision.

For patients at high risk for developing late-stage wet AMD, taking a specific, AMD dietary supplement lowers that risk by 25 percent. Patients should check with their optometrist before starting any dietary supplement.

 

Source: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/top-5-risk-factors-amd

What is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)?

Eye Health in today’s electronic age – What is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)?

In the modern world, our eyes are constantly bombarded with information from displays. Whether it be from a laptop, smartphone, or some other device, many of us spend a significant portion of our day staring at some kind of display. As such, it is paramount that we should understand the strain placed on our vision and some steps we can take to improve and protect the health of our eyes.

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Our vision is perhaps the most valuable tool at our disposal. While we learn about the world through its various sounds, smells, tastes, and textures, it is our sight that feeds the most information to our brains. Because of this, protecting our vision is one of the most important things we can do for our overall health. That’s easier said than done in the modern world.

Our eyes are constantly fed information through screens. Most of us have jobs that require us to look at a computer display of some kind for several hours a day. After work, we head home and stare at screens throughout the evening and well into the night. It’s no wonder, then, that many people complain of eye strain, blurred vision, or headaches after a long day of work. These symptoms and others, collectively known as computer vision syndrome (CVS), may affect as many as 90% of people who use a computer monitor, tablet, or other electronic display during the workday.

So what can we do about CVS? There’s no escaping the fact that many jobs require computers and, thus, require staring at a screen. In this article, we will discuss a few things you can do to reduce eye strain and alleviate some symptoms of CVS. We will also offer a list of laptop features that may adversely affect our eyes and what facets of notebooks may lighten the ocular load. Finally, we will offer a short list of some recommended laptops with high-quality screens that have some of these vision-saving features.

Steps you can take to alleviate CVS

Our pupils are constantly dilating and contracting. By periodically refocusing, we can relax the muscles that control our pupils and give our eyes a break.

The good news is that there are several steps you can take to minimize or outright prevent symptoms of CVS. Our eyes work like biological cameras; they are constantly focusing on an image, taking in light, and transmitting visual data to our brain for interpretation. By understanding how our eyes look at electronic displays, we can better control the stress placed upon them. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but these tips should help you if you consistently suffer from headaches, blurry vision, eye strain, or other common problems associated with CVS. Best of all, these are simple solutions that shouldn’t require you to buy new equipment or change your working situation.

  1. Refocus your eyes periodically. Perhaps the best way to protect your vision is to give your eyes a break. If you spend an extended period of time in front of a computer monitor or other display, look away from the screen every 20-30 minutes. Pick out a distant object or spot on a faraway wall and focus on it for about 30 seconds. This refocusing removes the immediate strain placed on your eyes, and focusing on a distant object will help relax the muscles that control your eye.
  2. Blink often. Blinking coats our eyes with tears and helps clear out any dust or particles that have found their way past our eyelashes. While blinking is an automatic reflex, some studies show that blinking rate is significantly reduced when we actively process information, such as when we are working at a computer monitor. This can lead to our eyes feeling dried out and may damage them over time. Like above, take a break every 20-30 minutes and intentionally blink your eyes very slowly 10 or more times. This will spread new tears over your eyes. You may also want to purchase lubricating eye drops if you suffer from very dry eyes.
  3. Adjust your lighting. Some lighting situations can actively damage our eyes, particularly bright environments. There’s a reason why we squint when we step outdoors on a sunny day; our pupils contract, which requires some muscles in our eyes to stay flexed. If you can, turn down the lights in your office and partially block any ambient light coming in from outdoors. Turning off overhead lights or fluorescent bulbs can also help. Incandescent and halogen bulbs are easier on our eyes, and placing them lower down to offer indirect light can help reduce strain.
  4. Adjust your display’s settings. Most modern LCD monitors and laptop displays allow the user to edit some settings. Lowering the brightness of your computer’s display will reduce ocular stress, similar to turning down ambient lighting. There is a threshold, though; if the computer screen is too dim, it can actually cause worse eye strain. Find a good sweet spot by incrementally stepping down the display’s brightness until your eyes aren’t squinting or straining too much to read text or view images. You can also download software to filter out blue light. Blue light has a shorter wavelength than red light and thus can cause greater eye strain, particularly if viewed at night. Blue-light filtering software shifts the color gradient of your computer’s display toward the red end of the light spectrum, increasing the wavelength of emitted light and reducing stress. A good app for this is f.lux, which can be set to automatically shift your display throughout the day.

Source: https://www.notebookcheck.net/Eye-health-in-the-electronic-age.373741.0.html

Cold Weather Woes: 6 Ways Winter Can Affect Your Eyes

Winter brings some of the most popular holidays of the year, but the season also comes with extreme temperatures and precipitation. Whether you love the season for its festivities or hate the season for its weather, you have to take steps to protect yourself from the potential hazards of winter conditions.

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While you probably remember to drive more carefully and bundle up before going outside, you may overlook the seasonal threats to your eye health. These hazards often seem less obvious than an icy road or freezing morning, but eye health issues can be just as dangerous.

  1. DRYNESS

Cold outdoor air and heated indoor air often have less moisture in them than other environments. In the winter, you may experience dry skin, chapped lips, and dry eyes due to this low humidity. Cold winter winds may also dry your eyes out. To minimize the drying ability of winter air, keep yourself hydrated and increase your intake of omega-3s. You may also want to run a humidifier in your home to improve the quality of your indoor air.

  1. EXCESS TEARING

While some people experience a lack of tears in the winter, others have the opposite problem. Excess tearing and runny eyes can occur due to cold air, biting winds, or seasonal allergies. Pay attention to when your eyes tear up to determine the cause.

If your eyes start to water when you step outside or when the wind blows your way, wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes. If you experience excess tearing while indoors, try an allergy medication and appropriate eye drops to reduce the effect of seasonal allergies. If you cannot determine the cause of your watery eyes or if over-the-counter treatments have no effect, especially if the wateriness alters your vision, see an optometrist.

  1. LIGHT SENSITIVITY

Winter skies can seem dark and gloomy, but snowfall and ice create many reflective surfaces that can dramatically increase the amount of light. If you have sensitive eyes, you may experience even more blinking, discomfort, and other symptoms in bright winter light.

Some individuals develop new light sensitivity during winter due to a condition known as “snow blindness,” which we’ll discuss in more detail in section five. Always protect your eyes when going outdoors for long periods of time, including when walking, shoveling snow, or performing other routine activities.

  1. REDNESS

Harsh winter conditions can cause redness, tenderness, and inflammation in the eye area. You may have swollen eyelids or discoloration of your eye itself. You may also notice eyelid spasms or involuntary tics if your eyes become particularly irritated.

This redness could result from dry eye, seasonal allergies, or snow blindness. To reduce the discomfort of inflamed eyes, apply a cool compress like a damp washcloth and take an over-the-counter pain killer. If your symptoms persist, see an eye doctor to determine the cause of the irritation.

  1. SUNBURN

When you picture a sunburn, you likely imagine redness and blisters on the skin, but long periods of light exposure can damage your eyes too. Eye sunburn and snow blindness often occur simultaneously. If you notice an increase in your light sensitivity, your eyes may have sustained UV damage, especially if you also experience itchiness or pain.

You are most vulnerable to UV damage when participating in outdoor activities at high elevations. If you enjoy winter sports like skiing and sledding, always wear eye protection. If you experience the symptoms of eye sunburn, see your optometrist. Treatment can decrease your acute discomfort and decrease the risk of long-term complications, including vision loss and macular degeneration.

  1. VISION CHANGES

While many winter eye health problems result from increased light or decreased moisture, you can also experience eye conditions caused by the cold temperature. Extremely low temperatures cause the blood vessels in and around the eyes to constrict, and this constriction can cause immediate vision changes, such as blurriness and double vision. These changes are most likely to occur when you stay outside for long periods of time in temperatures that are well below freezing.

If you notice vision changes while out in the cold, move to a warm area as soon as possible. If your normal vision doesn’t return after 30 minutes or so, seek medical attention. An optometrist may use medicated eye drops to help the blood vessels in your eye dilate back to their normal size.

If you experience any of the seasonal problems listed above, consult with an eye doctor. While some eye health issues will clear up as the temperatures rise, others may become more uncomfortable and potentially dangerous without medical attention.

 

Source: https://allabouteyes.com/blog/cold-weather-woes-6-ways-winter-can-affect-eyes/

National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

People With Diabetes Can Prevent Vision Loss. You can’t feel it. You can’t see it—until it’s too late.

Diabetic retinopathy, the most common form of diabetic eye disease, is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20–74. It occurs when diabetes damages blood vessels in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy affects 7.7 million Americans, and that number is projected to increase to more than 14.6 million people by 2030. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk for diabetic eye disease. Once vision is lost, it often cannot be restored. People with diabetes should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year to help protect their sight. Keeping diabetes in control is key to slowing the progression of vision complications like diabetic retinopathy.

There are important steps people with diabetes can take to keep their health on TRACK:

Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.

Reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Add physical activity to your daily routine.

Control your ABC’s—A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Kick the smoking habit.

Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care can reduce a person’s risk for severe vision loss from diabetic eye disease by 95 percent. Dr. Paul Sieving, director of the National Eye Institute (NEI), says, “Only about half of all people with diabetes get an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam, which is essential for detecting diabetic eye disease early, when it is most treatable. Newer and better treatments are available for the first time in decades, making early detection even more important.”

With no early symptoms, diabetic eye disease—a group of conditions including cataract, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy—can affect anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Hispanics/Latinos are at higher risk for losing vision or going blind from diabetes. “More than ever, it’s important for people with diabetes to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. New treatments are being developed all the time, and we are learning that different treatments may work best for different patients. What hasn’t changed is that early treatment is always better,” says Dr. Suber Huang, chair of the Diabetic Eye Disease Subcommittee for NEI’s National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) and member of the NEI-funded Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net). “There has never been a more hopeful time in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy,” he adds. Remember, if you have diabetes, make annual comprehensive dilated eye exams part of your self-management routine. Living with diabetes can be challenging, but you don’t have to lose your vision or go blind because of it.

To help friends and loved ones reduce their risk, please share this article.

Reference: https://nei.nih.gov/nehep/programs/diabeticeyedisease/learn-about

 

Halloween Contact Lenses Can Be Scary–for Your Eyes

Nothing quite completes a Halloween costume like a pair of theatrical contact lenses. But whether you’re going for bright green witch eyes or glow-in-the-dark cat eyes, never purchase costume lenses without a prescription and proper fitting by an eye doctor. Not seeing an eye doctor can set you up for serious eye problems, infections, or even permanent vision loss.

Risk of Infection

One study in France revealed that costume contact lenses were 12 times more likely to cause an eye infection than those who wore conventional contact lenses. Many of these types of lenses claim to be “one size fits all” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” but these are false advertising claims. Lenses that are not properly fitted can cause serious eye issues.

Illegally sold

Many of the lenses found online or in novelty shops are not FDA-approved and are being sold illegally. Since 2005, the FDA has classified all contact lenses as medical devices that can only be sold by licensed eye care professionals. In fact, retailers that sell contacts without a prescription may be fined $11,000 per violation.

Accessible to young people

According to a study published in the journal Cornea, many of the patients suffering from complications from colored contacts are young people with an average age of 19 years. Many of the young people who wear these lenses have never worn contacts and have never talked to an eye doctor about proper care and hygiene.

Avoid circle lenses entirely

Circle lenses are decorative lenses that cover a bigger area of the eye past the iris creating a look similar of Anime cartoon characters. These lenses have been illegal in the United States since 2005. Since the industry is unregulated, the lenses may not have been disinfected properly before sale making them even more of a risk to your eyes.

 

CooperVision (2013, Oct 31). Retrieved October 3, 2018, from https://coopervision.com/blog/halloween-contact-lenses-can-be-scary-for-your-eyes

Back to School Vision Special, helping kids See better!

It is that time of year again…in order to prepare your children for back to school, you may incur several expenses. They may want a new outfit for the first day, they need school supplies, new bus with kidsshoes, etc. Before school starts is a great time to have their annual eye exam to set them up for success for their next school year. Then if they do need glasses, we have put together two different packages to help save you money.

Back to School Package #1

Choose a retail cost frame up to $99.95 and receive all for $139.95

(average savings range from $128 – $194)*

Back to School Package #2

Choose a retail cost frame up to $169.95 and receive all for $179.95

(average savings range from $158 – $224)*

 

What do those packages include?? Both include:

– a complete eye exam performed by Dr. Jancaro

– any singe prescription lens in impact resistant polycarbonate or plastic with scratch resistant coating

– a One year warranty

– 100% satisfaction guarantee

 

*amount of the savings depends on the frame or lens material type chosen and whether the patient is a new or an established patient.

 

This offer expires on 9/21/2018 and is not valid with other discounts or insurance plans.

Call our office at (412) 788 – 4664 to schedule an appointment. See you soon!

4th of July Eye Safety

Happy 4th of JulyThousands of people, many of them children suffer eye injuries from fireworks each year in the United States. Additionally, those injured by fireworks are not necessarily handling the fireworks themselves. Nearly half of those injured by fireworks are bystanders!

Please use these tips to safely enjoy fireworks and protect your eyes this 4th of July:

  • Respect barriers at fireworks shows and view fireworks from at least 500 feet away
  • Do not touch unexploded fireworks, instead, immediately contact your local fire or police department for help
  • Never let young children play with fireworks, even sparklers.
  • People handling fireworks should wear protective eyewear that meets ANSI standards and ensure that all bystanders wear protective eyewear as well

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is at a professional display!

Please have a festive and safe 4th of July!

Ultraviolet Light and your Eyes

If you want strong, healthy eyes and clear vision for life, a major step you can take is to protect your eyes from UV radiation.  Wearing proper eye protection from the sun reduces the risk of a number of eye diseases and other conditions that are caused or worsened by UV exposure.  

Eye Diseases Linked to UV Exposure

UV exposure has been linked to a number of serious eye diseases including macular degeneration and cataracts. 

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a condition in which the macula of the eye breaks down, leading to a loss of central vision and is a leading cause of age-related vision loss.  Macular degeneration develops over time so a lifetime of exposure to UV can contribute it’s likelihood.  

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the natural lens of the eye becomes clouded, resulting in blurred vision and eventually blindness. The len is responsible for focusing the light that comes into the eye, allowing clear vision. Cataracts can be treated by a simple surgery to replace the clouded lens with an artificial lens.  UV light contributes to certain types of cataracts, which account for about 10% of all cases. 

Skin Cancer

Another serious disease that can affect the eyes is skin cancer which can appear on the eyelids or the area around the eyes.  Skin cancer is known to be linked to extended exposure to UV and your eyes can be a difficult area to protect with sun block as you don’t want it to get too close to the eyes. 

Other Eye Conditions Linked to UV Exposure

Photokeratitis or Corneal Sunburn

Photokeratitis or a corneal sunburn in layman’s terms can occur with intense exposure to the sun without proper eye protection. It is commonly experienced after a day skiing or snowboarding at a high altitude or at the beach. Corneal sunburns can be extremely painful and can sometimes cause a temporary loss of vision. 

Pterygium 

Pterygium, also known as “surfer’s eye” is a growth that forms on the conjunctiva which is a layer over the sclera or the white part of your eye. Sometimes they grow onto the cornea as well. Often pterygia are harmless but if they grow too large they may begin to impact your vision. In this case, surgery may be necessary. Pterygia are commonly found in individuals who spend a significant amount of time outside in the sun or wind. 

How to Properly Protect Your Eyes From UV

The more time you spend outside, the greater the risk for your eyes, however you can easily minimize this risk with proper protection. Here are a few tips to ensure you are doing what you can to safeguard your eyes:

Proper Sunglasses

Fully protective sunglasses should block out 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B rays. You can achieve this through purchasing a pair of sunglasses, applying a UV blocking coating to your glasses or opting for photochromic lenses which are eyeglass lenses which turn dark when exposed to sunlight. Most contact lenses will also have UV protection but this is just for the area of the eye covered by the lens. 

Since UV exposure can enter from the air, the ground or from the sides, wrap-around and large lensed frames can provide added protection.

Add a Wide Brimmed Hat

A wide brimmed hat or visor will stop about half of the UV rays from even reaching your eyes as well as reduce the exposure coming in from the top or sides of your sunglass frames. 

Know Your Environmental Risk Factors

UV exposure is largely dependent upon your location and your surroundings. If you are located at a high altitude you will likely be exposed to more UV than at lower altitudes.  UV also reflects off of snow, sand, water and even asphalt so be aware that you are getting increased exposure under these conditions.   

Know Your Additional Risk Factors

There are a number of other factors that can increase your exposure or risk of eye damage from UV.  For example, certain medications increase the sensitivity of your eyes and skin to sunlight (speak to your doctor about any medications you are on). Previous eye surgery or eye diseases can also increase your risk factors for UV eye damage. Additionally if you work in certain fields such as welding or medical scans or radiation or use tanning beds, you can be exposed to additional UV radiation. If there is nothing you can do to change your exposure, make sure you are properly protecting your eyes with goggles or glasses and a hat. 

Regular Eye Exams

Make sure you schedule a comprehensive eye exam on a regular basis to ensure your eyes are healthy.  If you are over 50 or have increased risk factors for eye disease, you should schedule exams at least on a yearly basis or according to your eye doctor’s recommendations. 

 

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COVID-19 Update: Patients are required to wear a mask when coming for an exam, pick-up or adjustment. Patients only in the office for exams unless physical assistance is needed.