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Archive for the ‘Eyeglasses’ Category

Special Vision Needs for Internet and Cellular Use

We live in a digital world where the demands placed upon our eyes are growing exponentially. These demands now start at a very young age and continue throughout every stage of our life. We depend upon a TV, computer or smart phone at school, at work and to socialize with family and friends.  The importance of seeing clearly and comfortably at a range of approximately 1-3 feet is critical to everyday life.  This significance will only grow in the future as more and more of life’s tasks, functions and pleasures are conducted electronically.

Beyond Reading Glasses

Extended periods of time watching videos on YouTube, posting on facebook, searching on Google, tweeting on Twitter, networking on Linkedin, texting a friend or chatting with a family member commonly lead to health problems such as tired eyes, headaches and neck pain. To address these conditions, computer hardware and software manufactures as well as cell phone and smart phone manufactures are constantly developing new features, screen displays and fonts that are more eye-friendly.  However, more specialized eyeglass lenses beyond the capabilities and features of traditional reading glasses may be required to properly and effectively utilize technology and prevent chronic health conditions. Bifocals and Progressive lenses are not designed for computer and smart phone use. They may cause eye strain as well as neck and back pain as you adjust your body in the quest to find a position where your vision is clear and focused through your lenses.

Visual Fatigue Syndrome

Visual Fatigue Syndrome or VFS is typically caused by focusing on objects in the 1-3 feet vision range for extended periods of time. Symptoms of Visual Fatigue Syndrome may include Tired Eyes, Eyestrain, Blurred Vision, Dry Eyes, Burning Eyes, Headaches, Neck Pain and Back Pain.  More and more people are suffering from VFS due to the demands of their digital world. VFS can reduce your productivity and your ability to concentrate which often times leads to increased stress.

Talk to Your Eye Doctor

A candid conversation with your eye doctor can help you immensely with the demands of today’s technology as well as avoiding or reducing the effects of Visual Fatigue Syndrome.  It’s important to discuss your career and lifestyle demands with your eye doctor, especially as it relates to your use of technology equipment. What specific equipment you utilize on daily basis and the duration of use can be particularly helpful. For example, tell your eye doctor that you spend 6 hours a day working at a computer with a 15” monitor or you spend the majority of your day using an iPad.  Armed with this type of information, your eye doctor can offer valuable guidance on preparing your environment for optimal vision such as proper lighting and how to position your equipment.  In addition, your eye care professional can also recommend and prescribe special lenses that match the demands of your digital lifestyle.

Eyeglass Lenses Designed for the Computer and Visual Fatigue

To keep up with the modern world and its visual demands, eyeglass lens manufacturers are continually developing new specialty lenses.  Computer lenses provide a wide “near” area in order to see the entire computer screen clearly and comfortably with a small “distance” area so you can see across the room.  Anti-fatigue lenses are specialized lenses targeted at improving the “near” vision needed to operate a laptop, tablet computer or smart phone  and relieving the symptoms of visual fatigue such as burning eyes,  blurry vision, headaches and watery eyes.

Technology greatly improves our productivity and ability to communicate with others.  Make sure you are equipping yourself with the proper eyewear to keep up with the demands of your digital life and promote maximized eye health.

To learn more about quality eye care and eye wear, please visit http://www.shawneeoptical.com.

Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses, What’s Your Best Choice?

The Vision Council of America estimates there are 174 million corrective lens wearers in the United States. Whether these people choose eyeglasses or contact lenses, the basic process is the same. These lenses bend rays of light so that they come to a clear focus on the retina. There are also several notable differences in how these lenses function, answering these questions and understanding differences can help you choose which one is best for you and your lifestyle.

Do You Want Consistent Correction or Can You Live With Moments of Blur? 
Eyeglass lenses, being a solid chunk of plastic, bend light rays in the exact same way every minute of every day. Therefore, your vision correction is consistent and dependable. Contact lenses, by contrast, are paper thin and as bendable as a piece of cellophane. The natural flexing of contacts and their interaction with the eyes’ tear film can cause small variations in vision throughout the day. If you are adverse to the occasional “blurry moment” then contacts may not be your best bet.

Do You Want Clarity at All Angles?
Both eyeglasses and contacts deliver a crisp, clear image when you look straight ahead. However, with eyeglasses, as your eye moves out towards the periphery of the lens, you encounter more and more “prismatic” distortion. The stronger the prescription is, the more distortion occurs. Theoretically, the same is true with contact lenses, but due to the thinness of the material and the fact that contacts move with your eye, the distortion is greatly reduced. That is one reason why people with high prescriptions tend to prefer contacts.

Do You Depend on Your Peripheral Vision?
Sitting away from your face, eyeglasses have a built-in problem with peripheral vision. To see well to the right side, you must turn your head to the right. If you just glance sideways you’ll encounter blur as you go outside of the glasses’ field of vision. Contacts, moving with your eyes, deliver far greater peripheral vision. This is a key point for sports enthusiasts.

How Much Discomfort Can You Tolerate?
Contact lenses work in tandem with your eyes’ tear layer, so any change in your tears can impact lens comfort. Allergies, air conditioning, wind, and many other factors can make your eyes a little more or less watery, and that can greatly affect contact lens comfort and performance. Eyeglasses free you of these concerns, but as any eyeglass wearer can tell you, walking into a warm room on a cold day or watching a football game in the rain can carry a whole different set of comfort issues.

Are Fashion and Appearance Primary Considerations? 
While most people focus on finding an eyeglass frame thats fashionable, the larger cosmetic issue may be their lenses. A person who is nearsighted will have lenses that are thick at the edge and thin in the middle. This makes their eyes appear smaller than they really are. Conversely, those who are farsighted have lenses that are thicker in the middle and their eyes will appear larger than they really are. These considerations disappear for contact lens wearers.

How Much of a Health Risk and How Much Time Are You Willing to Invest?
Because contact lenses sit right on your eye, they pose a potential health risk. A lens that fits too tight or too loose can damage the cornea and poor hygiene and lens handling can lead to dangerous infection. That is why most eye doctors insist on regular yearly eye exams for their contact lens patients. Contact lens wearers should plan on investing more time on their eye care than their eyeglass wearing counterparts: more time at the doctor’s office and more time cleaning and caring for their lenses.

What’s Your Budget?
While a pair of designer eyeglasses can be fairly expensive, over time contact lens wear will generally prove to be more costly. Frequency of eye exams, frequency of lens replacement and the added expense of cleaning solutions drive up the total cost of contacts. You must also keep in mind that most eye doctors will strongly recommend that contact wearers also have a pair of eyeglasses to fall back on when needed.


To learn more about eyeglasses, eyeglass lenses, proper eye care, eye wear and Shawnee Optical, please visit our website at www.shawneeoptical.com.

How The Lenses of Eyeglasses Are Made

The function of an eyeglass lens is to bend rays of light so that when they enter the eye they focus perfectly on the eye’s retina. This idea of using lenses to improve faulty vision goes back many centuries. While the technology, equipment and precision used in the process of making lenses have changed exponentially in recent years, the basic steps in creating a prescription lens have remained largely the same for the past 50 years. Here’s how eyeglass lenses are made: 

Start with Lens Blanks
The process of creating a prescription eyeglass lens begins with large buttons of lens material that look like clear hockey pucks. These lens blanks are typically injection molded and mass produced using a variety of plastic resins. The front side of these lens blanks have set curvatures that define the nature of the lens. Single-vision lenses, bifocals, trifocals and the myriad of progressive addition lenses each have a unique front surface. Lens manufacturers often put millions of dollars into engineering the precise front curvatures of their progressive addition lenses (just in case you were wondering why your eyeglasses cost so much).

Step 1 – Surfacing
Once the technician selects the proper lens blank, he mounts it to a carrier block made of wax or lead alloy and inserts it into a lens lathe. Using computer settings dictated by your eye doctor’s prescription, the lathe shaves layers of material off the back side to create very precise curvatures and the desired thickness. It is the combination of the front side curvatures and the back side curvatures that determines how the lens will bend the light rays to correct various degrees of myopiaor near sightedness, hyperopia, or far sightedness, presbyopia, or reading vision, and astigmatism.

Step 2 – Fining
When the lens comes out of the lathe, the back side is somewhat rough. This gives it a frosted appearance. The technician now puts the lens on a fining machine, which uses a precisely tooled polishing block, called a lap, to polish the back side of the lens. The convex side of the lap is covered with a pad that is impregnated with a fine grit and is then mechanically agitated against the concave surface of the lens until the lens is totally clear. To picture this, make a fist with one hand, and then drape your other hand over the top of it and rotate your palm. That’s the fining process.

Step 3 – Edging
Now that the prescription has been ground in and polished, the lens is much thinner than when it started, but it is still the diameter of a hockey puck. The next step is to cut the lens down to size. In most labs today this is done with a computerized lens edger. The newly surfaced lens goes into the edger along with the frame you have selected. The edger uses a digital tracer to capture an exact three-dimensional image of the frame and then, using the fitting measurements provided by your optician, the edger passes the lens over a diamond cutting wheel until it is reduced to the proper size and shape.

Step 4 – Coatings 
Now the lens is ready for finishing touches. For example, lenses can be specially coated to resist scratching, to block ultraviolet light or to reduce reflections. Anti-reflective coatings are a rapidly growing segment. In dust-free coating equipment, the lens typically receives up to 16 ultrathin layers of metal oxide coating. These various layers combine to dampen glare, repel water and sometimes repel oil.

The Future of Eyeglass Lenses is Getting Clearer
While the vast majority of eyeglass lenses made today follow the procedures above, new technology is entering the market. Knowledge developed in the refinement of LASIK eye surgery is rapidly making its way to lens laboratories. The same concepts that doctors use to custom “carve” a patients cornea during LASIK surgery can be applied to plastic lenses. This emerging science, known as wavefront technology, will ultimately make lens blanks a thing of the past. New wavefront lens lathes will custom carve the front and back surfaces of lenses, resulting in greatly reduced visual distortion and improved lens clarity.

To learn more about eyeglasses, eyeglass lenses, proper eye care, eye wear and Shawnee Optical, please visit our website at www.shawneeoptical.com.   

The Unavoidable Facts About Bifocals, Part 2

Treating Presbyopia (Eye condition which necessitates bifocals) with Contact Lenses: 

For years contact lens wearers considered the onset of presbyopia to be the time to make the forced switch fromcontacts to eyeglasses. Many are finding that this need not be the case. While contact lens manufacturers scramble to be the first to perfect and market a functional bifocal contact lens, the public has not embraced them in huge numbers. Meanwhile, more and more contact lens wearers are finding that they can treat their presbyopia with Monovision contacts.

Monovision doesn’t denote any special type of contact lens, but rather a special type of contact lens fitting. With monovision, the doctor fits you with a contact lens to correct one eye for distance vision while fitting your other eye with a contact lens for near vision. While this arrangement may sound unorthodox, monovision has been proven to be effective. Erie, Pennsylvania Optometrist James Piersol estimates, “Over eighty percent of my presbyopic patients who try monovision are ultimately successful with it. It normally takes one or two fittings to get the power balanced  properly, but once you do, the patient rarely can tell that each eye is performing a separate function.” Monovision is actually not as far-fetched as it sounds. Dr. Piersol explains, “The brain is always receiving two separate images from your eyes. It normally takes the two similar images and fuses them into one three-dimensional image. With monovision, the brain receives two very different images, one clear only at distance the other clear only at near. Since it can not fuse them into one picture the brain simply chooses between the two images based on the immediate task at hand, much like a director choosing between two camera angles”.

Skeptical? Try this experiment. Take a paper towel tube and with both eyes open look at your television screen. Now alternately close your right eye and then your left. The image from your dominant eye (the right for most people) will hardly move at all while the image from your non-dominant eye will jump noticeably. This is because as you sit there watching TV your brain is “choosing” the image from the dominant eye. If you were being fit for monovision the dominant eye would be fit for distance and the non-dominant eye would be fit for reading.

While monovision contacts do offer a proven and cost effective treatment for presbyopia, they also have a down side. Since your brain would be receiving only one image for distance and only one image for near, there is a resulting reduction in depth perception. This can be a critical problem for some people’s occupational requirements.

Treating Presbyopia with Surgery:

One reason for the growth in monovision contact lens fits is the rising interest in corrective eye surgery. While the public continues to warm to the idea of LASIK and other surgical procedures to correct distance vision, a medical correction is now emerging for near vision. It is called conductive keratoplasty, or CK. CK is a non-invasive procedure where radio waves are used to reshape the cornea in order to improve focus at near. The procedure is quick, relatively painless and a bit pricey. Because CK is done on only one eye the final result is very much like monovision without the contact lenses. That being the case, most people prefer to test their tolerance for monovision with contact lenses before moving on to the permanence and expense of CK.  Since presbyopia advances with age anyone considering CK needs to understand that additional procedures may be required every 3 to 5 years to keep up with their increasing presbyopia.

In the first 200 years after Ben Franklin invented the bifocal there were virtually no changes. Your father’s bifocals were very much like your great-great grandfather’s bifocals. By contrast, in the past 5 years over 176 differentProgressive Addition Lenses (PALs) have hit the market.  Each one is somehow superior to those that came before. The technology is improving exponentially.  Before too many years pass we’ll see doctors inject soft polymer plastic into the eye’s lens sac and thereby restore the lens’s flexibility. At that point it will be bye-bye bifocals.

To learn more about proper eye care, eye wear and Shawnee Optical, please visit our website at  www.shawneeoptical.com.  

The Unavoidable Facts About Bifocals, Part 1

On the list of unavoidable suffering, well behind death but only slightly ahead of  taxes, you’ll find bifocals.  For most of us, bifocals serve as a warning shot that middle age is hot on our heels. It’s a rite of passage that 95% of Americans over the age of 45 have experienced and in the next few years nearly 78 million baby boomers will join the Bifocal Club.

The eye condition is called presbyopia. The word is Greek for “old man’s eyes” but the roots of the condition actually start much earlier than the name implies. As teens, our eyes stop growing, but the lens in the eye continues to generate new cells. As a result, the lens gets progressively denser as time goes by. This increased density results in a stiffening of the lens. By the time we reach our mid forties the lens is so stiff that it can no longer make the transition from distance vision to near. Many of us will try to put off the inevitable by holding the newspaper further away or pushing the computer screen a little further back. Eventually, however, we find ourselves at the eye doctor’s office holding our first bifocal prescription.

Treating Presbyopia with Eyeglasses

Like our grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers and mothers, most of us will fight their emerging presbyopia with eyeglasses. Unlike our parents and grandparents however, many of us want nothing to do with unattractive bifocal lines. This cosmetic concern has made no-line bifocals, more accurately known as progressive addition lenses (PALs), the new clear-cut lenses of choice, but there’s more to PALs than just a pretty face.

“What consumers want,” notes Carol Norbeck, spokeswoman for the Vision Council of America, “is to see as if they never got old. That’s a tall order but progressive lenses are coming closer and closer to that goal”. Our parents’ traditional lined bifocals had two distinct prescription zones. You were either looking through the distance portion or through the reading segment, and when you passed from one zone to the other the image would suddenly change in size.  This is called image “pop”.  Functional? Yes, but it didn’t feel anything like normal vision. Today’s progressive lenses, by contrast, offer a gradual transition from distance to near prescription. The lens provides clear vision at  distance, near and points in-between with no image pop.

    In  PALs introduced in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the trade-off for the lineless design was a pair of  bothersome blur zones on either side of the transition corridor. Today, these older designs are called “hard progressives”. More recent lens designs, called “soft progressives” utilize advanced mathematical formulas and computer graphing to create a much more subtle visual transition from distance prescription to reading prescription. The blur zones have been greatly reduced and pushed to the periphery of the lens where they are safely out of the normal field of vision. The result is vision that feels very natural.

Shawnee Optical Consumer TipIn today’s optical marketplace hard PALs often sell along side the newer soft designs at surprisingly similar prices. Make sure you are being fit with a soft progressive lens. If your optician doesn’t know the difference find another optician.

To learn more about proper eye care, eye wear and Shawnee Optical, please visit our website at www.shawneeoptical.com.

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