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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.

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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Meet the Staff: Sharon Garces

As optician at Brookside Optometric Group, Sharon meets with patients and measures the physical and physiological attributes of their eyes to ensure clear and comfortable vision.

The most meaningful part of her job is the opportunity to find the perfect frame, lenses, or contacts for each patient. Sharon works with patients to help them select glasses that represent their personal style, fit their lifestyle, and make them feel confident. Highly motivated by challenges, she finds her job extremely interesting and enjoys making the lives of patients better through her work.

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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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Meet the Staff: Alicia Salcedo

As a receptionist at Brookside Optometric Group, Alicia is one of the first staff members that patients interact with when they call the office or come in for an appointment. She responds to the needs of patients, multitasks efficiently, and coordinates and communicates with doctors and other staff members to ensure that every patient visit is a great experience.

During a typical day at the office, Alicia greets patients, answers phone calls, schedules appointments, and maintains charts. She enjoys the busy and fast-paced environment, and her favorite aspect of the job is the opportunity to work with patients and staff while continuing to develop her skills by learning new departments.

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Low Vision Month Interview

Dr. Bob Melrose served on the Board of Directors of Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired for several years. It was there he met and became friends with Joni Bauer, M.S., COMS, who has served as the Center’s Orientation & Mobility Specialist/Independent Living Skills Instructor for 40 years.

February is Low Vision Month, so Dr. Bob sat down with Joni for a discussion regarding the ways Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired serves residents of San Joaquin County who are visually impaired.

Dr. Bob: Joni, sometimes I think your organization is the best-kept secret in San Joaquin County. Could you please explain your organization’s mission and services?

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Josephine Laurel

Dr. Josephine Laurel is an optometrist and partner at Brookside Optometric Group. Patient care is her highest priority, and getting to know her patients well helps her find the pair of glasses or contact lenses that will fit their needs.

Developing long-term relationships with patients is one of her favorite aspects of the job. She engages with her patients, working to improve both their eye health and overall lifestyle. She enjoys catching up with returning patients and learning about their professions and hobbies, as well as meeting new patients and addressing their eye health and vision needs.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Richard Vanover

Dr. Richard Vanover is an optometrist at Brookside Optometric Group. The most rewarding aspect of his job is the opportunity to explain a process or condition to a patient in a way that brings them greater clarity and understanding of the situation. One meaningful experience at the office was when he met a patient who came in for an exam solely because she wanted a new pair of glasses. She was in good health, yet during the exam, Dr. Vanover discovered something concerning in her eyes. He used the Optomap retinal scanner to show her the findings, and referred her back to her primary physician for further evaluation.

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Blogging about Macular Degeneration

As I examine patients and ask about eye disease in their family, nearly everyone has heard of glaucoma and cataracts (although only occasional patients can remember which is which!). Relatively few patients are familiar with Macular Degeneration, also known as Age-Related Maculopathy (ARM), even though it is far more devastating to their loved one’s vision. Remarkably, ARM is the leading cause of permanent vision loss in Americans over 65 years old, and affects 2 million people.

First, a little anatomy lesson to help you understand ARM: the macula is the portion of the retina we use for all our detail vision. Whenever you look directly at something, you are using your macula to see it. For still unknown reasons, in some older folks, the vision-sensing cells in the macula selectively get destroyed. The cells can either atrophy (or degenerate), called “dry” ARM, which makes up 80% of cases, or they can become scarred, called “wet” ARM, which makes up the remaining 20% of cases.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Vikram Girn

Dr. Vikram Girn is an optometrist at Brookside Optometric Group. He enjoys working with patients to help improve their vision and comfort, from helping a patient who thought they would never be glasses-free to finally see with LASIK or multifocal soft contact lenses, to fitting a patient with workstation-glasses to help them work comfortably behind a computer screen all day long. The most rewarding aspect of his job is the opportunity to see his patients thrive.

While each day at the office is unique, Dr. Girn typically has a combination of complete eye health evaluations, custom contact lens fittings, and examinations to treat and manage dry eyes, glaucoma, and various eye infections. He enjoys meeting a variety of patients, from toddlers to seniors, and everyone in between. He also works part time at Central Valley Eye Medical Group in Stockton.

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Meet the Staff: Iris Palomarez

Iris joined the Brookside Optometric Group family in 2015. As part of the enrollment department, she assists with scheduling, prepping, and organizing. She enjoys being part of a team that works together to create the best possible experience for patients, and her favorite aspect of the job is working alongside a great group of doctors and staff members who support one another and care for each other.

One especially meaningful day at work was when a patient complained about double vision. Iris referred the patient to one of the optometrists who specializes in double vision conditions and treatments. The patient was extremely relieved after that visit, and Iris appreciated the opportunity to help them address their vision needs. Her experience working at Brookside is one she will carry with her for the rest of her life, and she is thankful to be part of the team.

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Meet the Staff: JoAnn Murphy-Ma

As front desk manager at Brookside Optometric Group, JoAnn is one of the first people that patients meet when they visit the office. She oversees appointment scheduling for all of the optometrists, handles supply orders and recall notices, and manages staff as they check, pull, and prep patient charts.

Her favorite aspect of the job is creating a welcoming environment for patients. When patients come in to the office to pick up their new glasses, she loves to see their smiles as they experience restored vision. As part of the Brookside team for 13 years, JoAnn appreciates working in a family-oriented environment filled with caring and compassionate doctors and staff.

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Glaucoma: Avoiding the Silent Disease

As we’ve kicked off this New Year feeling refreshed and looking forward to carrying out our many New Year’s resolutions (some being more realistic than others of course...), let’s add one more thing to that list: Seeing the best that you can in 2017.

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month meaning there’s no better time to start the conversation about this often talked about condition. In this article, I will try to explain what exactly Glaucoma is while clearing up some common misconceptions along the way!

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. John Fujii

Dr. John Fujii is an optometrist at Brookside Optometric Group. He enjoys working in a unique career that gives him the opportunity to build relationships with his patients while addressing their visual needs and making a positive impact on their overall health. The most rewarding aspect of his job is delivering personal and professional care to his patients while working alongside a great team of skilled doctors and staff.

Dr. Fujii has worked in three different ophthalmology offices and was formerly the Laser Center Director for Pacific Laser Eye Center. Working for ophthalmologists gave him greater experience with post-surgical care and complications, and his work at the laser center gave him the opportunity to work with, learn alongside, and train other optometrists and ophthalmologists.

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Year in Review - 2016

It is hard to believe another year is coming to a close. No one can say that 2016 was not an eventful year for our country and it certainly was not uneventful for Brookside Optometric Group either.

We were the recipients of the 1st place vote as Best Eye Care office in San Joaquin County in both the Best of San Joaquin Magazine and The Best of the Record contests for the 6th year in a row. We are touched and honored to receive this designation once again.

Our office completed its first year of using our new electronic medical records system. Change is always fraught with challenges and this was certainly the case with us. We are happy to report that even some of us older docs have finally become proficient with this new technology so we will look less confused as we record our exams as we enter 2017.

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