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Eye Health from Brookside Optometric

Eye health tips and information about glasses, contact lenses, Lasik, and more from the doctors of Brookside Optometric Group.

2018 Highlights from Brookside Optometric Doctors

Brookside Optometric Group doctors and partners share their most meaningful and memorable patient stories from the year!

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Dr. Linda Hsu: Helping Patients See Their Best

I have been in practice at Brookside for more than 30 years, along with my husband and partner Dr. Kurt Skinner. The most meaningful part of my work are the relationships I have developed with my patients throughout my practice.

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Making a Difference in Pakistan

I had the opportunity to travel to the country of Pakistan in October. My Rotary District had set up a trip for us to go on to help immunize children for polio in this country. In 1985, Rotary International made the commitment to eradicate polio worldwide by immunizing every child in the world against this disease. At that time, more than 375,000 children a year were becoming more paralyzed by the disease every year. Since 1985, rotarians have traveled the world and now only two countries in the world still present with new cases of polio: Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye condition whereby the corneas (the central clear part of the front surface of the eye) become curved in an irregular manner. The first signs of this syndrome usually can be detected around the age of puberty and the progression of this curving effect to the cornea keeps advancing into the patient’s 30’s.

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Lucky Number 7 for Diabetics - Part I

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and a perfect time to discuss why a diabetic’s lucky number is always #7.

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Dr. Rosie Melrose: Cultivating Strong Relationships

I am most excited by the variety of general practice, never knowing who will walk through the door to my exam room next. It's so interesting to work with people of different ages, occupations, ethnicities, and interests—I learn new things from my patients every single day! On one of my favorite mornings, I examined a 93-year-old patient followed by a 3-year-old patient, both ends of the spectrum of life!

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Dr. Richard Vanover: Committed to Comprehensive Eye Care

I really enjoy working with children and their parents, and the opportunity to help them understand what their child’s vision is like and what the future can hold for them. It’s important for me to get the parents to realize the visual process and why it’s important to have the child wear their glasses or follow my instructions for the best long-term outcome (and what the possible outcomes can be if they don’t!).

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Meet the Staff: Lizbeth Hernandez

As an optician in Brookside Optometric Group’s optical department, Lizbeth works with patients to help them select frames or lenses ideal for their prescription and lifestyle. Once the frames are selected and the order is placed, she sends the frames off to the lab.

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Dr. Camille Weissenberg: Committed to Family Eye Health

The most rewarding part of my practice is helping people who are new to glasses. I’m passionate about primary eye care, and it is exciting to see people get their first pair of glasses and see clearly for the first time, or see clearly for the first time in years.

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Hypertension and Your Eyes

According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure in the United States.1 With this systemic disease, there are huge consequences for our bodies, including the eyes.

Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls as it circulates through your body as defined by the CDC.1 Although our body’s blood pressure naturally rises and falls throughout the day, long term elevated blood pressure can cause damage to the artery walls. This long term damage to arteries can lead to stroke, heart attack or other vasculopathic disorders. Listed below are the guidelines for blood pressure by the American Heart Association.

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Rocky Lombardi Memorial Fundraiser

Lions Eye Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving sight by providing no cost eye surgery, eye medication, and other medical eye care to low income people without medical insurance living in Northern California and Nevada. All services are provided in San Francisco at the Lions Eye Clinic/Sutter CPMC Department of Ophthalmology. Hotel lodging is also provided for those patients who need an overnight stay in San Francisco.

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2018 Summerfest

Our 7th annual Summerfest Fundraiser will be held on Saturday September 15th from 4-8 PM. The event will be held on Lake Lincoln at 3814 Merrimac Court in Stockton.

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Meet the Staff: Julie Ohta

As part of the Brookside Optometric Group family for 33 years, Julie plays an important role as the frame inventory control specialist and manages our extensive frame inventory. During a typical day, she orders frames for patients and the frame room, receives and tags frames, and meets with frame sales reps to select the latest styles for the practice.

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Contact Lens Health: Caring for Your Lenses and Your Eyes

The Third Week of August marks the 5th Annual observance of Contact Lens Health Week. Since Soft Contact Lenses were first invented in 1961, and introduced to the USA by Bausch and Lomb in 1971, the “uniqueness” of the experience has faded a bit and people have often become somewhat lax in their care of these medical devices we are inserting into our bodies. Summer is the perfect time to review some of the practical steps we can take to ensure a safe and comfortable relationship with your contact lenses.

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Meet the Staff: Cherise Manning

As an optician at Brookside Optometric Group, Cherise fits glasses and contact lenses to ensure that each patient has optimal vision. During a typical day, she works closely with our doctors and patients and maintains patient contact lens orders, including logging prescription contact lenses as they arrive from our suppliers and maintaining our in-stock inventory of lenses.

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Back to School Vision Care

It is hard to believe that getting our kids ready to go back to school is something we have to think about in mid-July. However, as school calendars have changed, parents have to plan earlier and earlier for the new school year.

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Best of San Joaquin 2018

Thanks for once again voting us “Best of San Joaquin” in 2018, for the 8th year in a row! We appreciate your ongoing support as Best Optometrist, and we are honored to have you all as our patients!

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What is Color Blindess? – Part II

Part I of this blog introduced vocabulary for the various types and severities of hereditary color deficiencies. Part II explains how, for the first time ever, we can help color deficient patients distinguish colors. Disclaimer: lots of doctor terminology ahead (but there’s no other way to explain it). If you only want to know how you can try out the extraordinary new color vision lens called EnChroma, available exclusively at Brookside Optometric Group, skip to the last 2 paragraphs below.

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Extra-Active Photochromatic Lenses: SunSync Drive XT

I am excited to try a newly released photochromatic lens. The SunSync Drive XT is a photochromatic lens that responds to ultraviolet light and also to visible light. The big advantage to responding to visible light is that it will get dark in the car while traditional photochromatic lenses will not. Thus to simplify, the brighter it is, the darker it will get.

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Brookside Optometric Group Partners with Discovery Challenge Academy

Brookside Optometric Group is proud to partner with Discovery Challenge Academy to provide free eye exams and new glasses to local high school students. Based in Lathrop, Discovery Challenge Academy (DCA) opened in January 2017 as a partnership between the California National Guard and San Joaquin County Office of Education.

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What is “Color-blindness”?

Almost everyone has heard or used the term “color-blind,” but what causes color-blindness and what does a color-blind person actually see?

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Dr. Vikram Girn: Helping Patients Thrive

The two areas of practice that I especially enjoy are pediatric eye exams and specialty contact lens fittings for patients who have limited vision even with glasses.

As an eye doctor, you realize that children with uncorrected vision conditions perform poorly in academics. What surprised me was how many children who are underperforming in school have underlying vision problems! These could be easily diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam by your optometrist. Working with young kids has the potential to change their academic potential and much more.

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Level Up Your Eyewear: Level Smart Glasses

Want to track your daily activity and give back to those in need simply by wearing your glasses? Now you can do both with Level smart glasses.

Designed in the U.S. and handcrafted in Italy, the smart glasses are a perfect mix of style and function. Built-in activity-tracking technology logs your daily activity, step count, calories burned, and more. View your activity throughout the day on your phone—the glasses sync wirelessly with the Level mobile app, and if you ever misplace your glasses, you can easily track them down using the app.

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Protect Your Vision: Safety Tips for Home and Work Eye Hazards

People are very protective of their eyes. I notice this all the time in doing an eye exam in that people are tentative when you bring objects close to them. So it boggles my mind that people are so nonchalant when it comes to eye safety when they are outside of my office.

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The Oculus Pentacam: My Personal Experience

Brookside Optometric Group recently acquired a new scanning device to increase the effectiveness of our care for our patients. The Oculus Pentacam is an amazing device that can measure the parameters of every anatomical structure in the eye up to the retina. Combining this device with our Optical Coherence Tomagrapher (OCT)—which analyzes the individual cellular levels of the retina—we now have the ability to determine the root cause of all visual problems that are anatomically linked within the eye.

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Low Vision and Community Center for the Blind

February is designated as National Low Vision Awareness Month. Low vision is the term used to describe the visual performance of eyes impacted by any condition that renders a person’s visual acuity to 20/70 or poorer in the better-seeing eye and cannot be corrected or improved with regular eyeglasses. Most people know this term as being “legally blind”.

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Dr. Leila Chow: Preserving and Restoring Sight

In the summer between 6th and 7th grade, my parents enrolled me in a summer school class where I was bored to tears. My mother suggested that I help the teacher, who was my 6th grade teacher, with some of the students in the class instead of being bored. That was the start of my life long involvement with volunteerism and community service.

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The History of Brookside Optometric Group

After 20 years, it’s fun to reminisce about how and why the partners came together as Brookside Optometric Group. Professionals practicing in the same city get to know their colleagues, but several of us had pre-existing relationships. Since many of us have served on the faculty at the University of California, there were teacher-student relationships. For example, Drs. Hisaka, Prima and Demshar instructed me and I, in turn, instructed Dr. Vanover. Going back even further, Dr. Hisaka was Dr. Fujii’s Sunday school teacher!

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Meet the Staff: Bryce Bacich

As a tester at Brookside Optometric Group, Bryce conducts a few simple tests on patients to produce a picture of their eye health before they meet with their optometrist as part of a complete vision analysis. He enjoys interacting with Brookside doctors, staff and patients, solving problems, and helping people in any way that he can.

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2017 Refractive Surgery Updates

Refractive surgery to help rid people of the need for glasses is one of eye care’s most rapidly changing specialties. It has evolved from the early days of incision RK surgery to the advent of laser procedures and corneal implantation surgeries.

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Dr. John Demshar: Giving the Gift of Sight

When I was in my early 40s and my sons were in high school, I began to feel like it was time to give back. When I was a youth, my father was asked by the local parish priest to build a small church in a remote area to serve people who could not make it to the city on Sundays. He would take us there on the weekends, and we would do the clean up work.

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Meet the Staff: Pat Coleman

Pat manages the in-house finishing lab at Brookside Optometric Group. As bench optician, he produces prescription eyewear for patients, solves problems with difficult prescriptions, and assists the retail staff.

Brookside’s optical lab is the only lab in the state that can complete 99% of the work in-house. The optical lab is able to handle complicated prescriptions that other labs aren’t qualified to handle, and can often make glasses overnight, or even while patients wait in emergency situations.

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Dr. Bob Melrose: Committed to Giving Back

My wife and I came to Stockton in 1982 when Dr Hisaka and Dr Prima asked us to become partners in their practice. We moved here with all of our belongings in the back of an open-air truck along with our hopes and dreams of starting our professional life together.

We quickly learned what extraordinary people lived in Stockton. Our practice quickly grew and Stockton became home to us. One value we were both raised with is that it is important to give back whenever and wherever you can.

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Diabetes and Your Eyes

One out of 10 adults over the age of 20 has been diagnosed with diabetes. Many adults can suffer from the effects of sugar fluctuations on their eye health. Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of blindness in adults over 20 years old in the United States.

The three most common effects of diabetes on the eye are diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the back of the eye swell and leak fluid. This excess fluid causes vision loss. Cataracts (a clouding of the lens) can have an earlier onset in patients with diabetes. Glaucoma (an increase in the fluid pressure of the eye) can lead to optic nerve damage and consequently permanent vision loss. Diabetics are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as non-diabetics.

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Dr. Craig Hisaka: Mastering the Art of Optometry

As the Founding Partner of Brookside Optometric Group and clinical professor at UC Berkeley School of Optometry for 40 years, the story of my practice and teaching begins with a commitment to the art of optometry.

I opened the practice 40 years ago and within six months of opening, the practice went viral due to my philosophy, brand, and goals. The backlog of patients has remained four to six weeks for 38 years. John Iacopi, CPA created a completely new and innovative business model designed to give my former optometry students a direct pathway to partnership.

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Breast Cancer Metastasis and Eye Exams

October is no longer just an orange and black month in the spirit of Halloween. October is also a pink month—October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. October is the month when major campaigns to promote early detection of breast cancer with screening mammograms and monthly self-breast exams and fundraising campaigns to fund breast cancer research occur.

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Meet the Staff: Marie Cholula

As a pre-tester at Brookside Optometric Group, Marie conducts pretest procedures on patients before they meet with their optometrist as part of a comprehensive eye exam. She also helps opticians dispense new glasses, and makes adjustments and repairs to ensure that every patient has comfortable, clear vision.

Her favorite aspect of the job is interacting with patients and assisting Brookside doctors as they evaluate patient eye health and vision quality. She loves to help patients find new glasses that they are excited about wearing, and she enjoys working for a great group of doctors who go above and beyond for their patients and their employees.

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Your Eyes: The Windows to Your Health

People say that the eyes are the windows to the soul yet they are actually a window to your health. Many people are unaware how many health issues can be detected or diagnosed in an eye exam.

The eye has two unique properties. The first is that the tissue on the back of the eye, the retina, is the only place in the body where blood vessels can be seen without any obstruction of other tissue. By examining the appearance of these blood vessels, your optometrist can see damage from systemic disease happening to the eye and if it is happening to the eye then it is also happening to the blood vessels throughout the body.

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Dr. Yolanda Scheer: Specializing in Eye Care for Kids

My area of specialty is pediatrics. I love working with children! During my rotations in Optometry School, I discovered that it takes different skills and techniques to work effectively with children. Working with kids felt natural to me, and I felt I could make a difference by providing the highest quality vision care for children.

The most rewarding part of my job is getting to know families, providing them with clear eyesight, and being able to offer education on how to maintain good eye health. I enjoy building relationships and being able to watch as families grow over the years.

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Safe Viewing Tips for the 2017 Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse is a phenomenal spectacle that everyone should make the effort to see, and the eclipse of August 21, 2017 promises to be one of the most amazing of our lifetieme. Your mother's (and your optometrist's) advice about not looking directly at the sun still applies. Here are some tips that you should keep in mind. You can get more information about safely viewing the eclipse from NASA.

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Meet the Staff: Heather Brooks

Heather is a pre-tester at Brookside Optometric Group, and greets and conducts pretest procedures on each patient before they meet with their optometrist as part of a complete vision analysis. She also dispenses and adjusts new glasses, and helps keep the practice clean, organized, and running efficiently.

Her favorite aspect of the job is working closely with Brookside doctors to help them evaluate patient eye health and vision quality. The most meaningful aspect of her work at Brookside is the opportunity to help each patient get the necessary tests and photos of their eyes in order to assess that their eye health is optimal.

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Healthy Contact Lens Habits

Many people take their contact lenses for granted. Taking unnecessary risks with your contact lenses is like texting and driving: It is an accident waiting to happen. Even people who have been fit properly and do everything right have run into problems. Here are a few key points for you to remember when using contact lenses.

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Back to School Eye Care and Eyewear Tips

It’s hard to believe that here, in the peak of summer, some school districts will be resuming classes in July, and the rest will go back to school in August. For many students, there may be almost as much demand on their vision when they are off during the summer. With summer preparation requirements for AP and Honors Classes, possibly increased periods of intense video-gaming, or even more extreme summer exposure to sun, wind, and sports—a student’s eyes get a work-out all year long!

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Dr. Jim Winnick: Committed to Education

My involvement in optometry has always expanded beyond direct patient care, most significantly in the area of teaching and education. For eight years, I was a clinical instructor at UC Berkeley School of Optometry in the methods lab, primary care clinic, and contact lens clinic. Since moving to the valley, I continue to be involved as a guest lecturer for Dr. Craig Hisaka’s practice management course. I give three lectures to second and third year students: “Career Choices in Optometry,” “Managed Vision Care” and “The Future of Optometry.”

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Meet the Staff: Honey Gale

Honey is an optician at Brookside Optometric Group, and works with patients to help them select frames and educates them about their options for lenses and premium lens coatings. She enjoys meeting new patients and helping them look their best with glasses that provide comfortable vision and fit their personal style.

She also trains patients how to insert, remove, and care for their contact lenses, and she likes the process of helping patients wear contacts for the first time. The most meaningful part of her job is when patients come in to the office to pick up their new glasses, and are pleased with both their crystal clear vision and the look of their glasses.

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Dr. Kurt Skinner: Grounded in the Community

My wife and Partner at Brookside Optometric Group, Dr. Linda Hsu, are celebrating our 30th year in practice living here in Stockton. Through the help and support of my fellow Doctors of Optometry at Brookside, I have developed a bit of a specialty in fitting contact lenses on scarred or irregular eyes—corneas with surface irregularities that are unable to provide a good refracting surface to focus vision, even with glasses.

By providing these specialty-type of contact lenses, patients can often stay functional in driving, continue working, and lead a much more fulfilling life. The reward of assisting someone with more clear and comfortable vision is a feeling I am fortunate to experience every day.

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Meet the Staff: Monica Hernandez

As an optician at Brookside Optometric Group, Monica works closely with patients. During a typical day at the office, she helps patients pick out new frames based on their vision needs and style preferences, educates patients about their lenses, adjusts glasses to ensure a good fit, and assists with eyeglass repair and cleaning. She also works in the specialty testing area, using the Optomap Retinal Scanner and other equipment to maximize the examination experience for patients.

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Special Needs Children & Vision: Why should they visit the Optometrist?

Now, more than ever before, there are greater numbers of children with special needs and challenges in the classroom. Many of these children, particularly those with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and high functioning autism (Asperger’s), have average and often above-average intelligence. But regardless of their IQs, they often struggle in school because their brains process information differently than others. Given that more than 25% of the brain is devoted to processing vision, it is not surprising that visual processing issues are often among the processing differences of the special needs child. Failing to address these visual processing issues makes the child’s learning experience more difficult than it needs to be. Sometimes it may be a combination of both visual processing and visual function (seeing, focusing, tracking, eye coordination) that is contributing to your child’s difficulty. The optometrist can help to identify what is the appropriate intervention, including treatment, therapy, and/or coordination of care with other professionals such as speech and language therapists, reading specialists and programs, neuropsychologists, behavioral therapists, specialized tutors and others.

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Meet the Staff: Pheth Xaysana

As assistant lab manager at Brookside Optometric Group, Pheth ensures that all patients experience great customer service when they visit the office. Her role includes helping patients pick out new frames and adjusting glasses for relaxed vision and greater wearing comfort. She ensures that every patient is happy with their glasses, and loves to see them smile when they try on the perfect pair.

In addition to meeting the needs of patients, she also assists doctors and other staff members—she appreciates the opportunity to expand and develop her skills, and finds positive solutions when faced with challenges. Prior to joining the team at Brookside, she worked at National Vision Inc.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Rosemary Melrose

Dr. Rosemary Melrose is an optometrist and partner at Brookside Optometric Group. Known around the office as Dr. Rosie, she has practiced optometry with her husband, Dr. Bob Melrose, since 1982. The most rewarding aspect of her job is the opportunity to educate patients about their eyes and vision so that they can make the best possible choices for their overall health.

During a typical day at the office, she enjoys seeing a variety of patients of all ages and different cultures, and learning from their unique life experiences. Dr. Rosie strives to create an atmosphere of trust when caring for her patients and is committed to their best interest, whether that means treating their vision problems herself, or referring them to a specialist.

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