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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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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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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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Diabetes and Eye Health

Diabetes is a disease that affects approximately 29 million or 9 % of the American population and is the 7th leading cause of death in this country. Of those affected Americans 15% to 20% will suffer some visual impairment due to the disease. Diabetic patients are 60% more likely to develop cataracts at an younger age and 40% more likely to be diagnosed with glaucoma - both of which can cause severe vision loss if left untreated. Because diabetes is largely treatable with diet and medication, we can reduce the likelihood of these side effects from occurring or at least delay their severity.

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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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Home Eye Safety

House cleaning, home improvements and yard work: for many Americans, these projects define this time of year. But, did you know home projects like these can be a major threat to eye safety? All too often, when we’re working around the house and doing chores that we've done a thousand times before without incident, we forget about the risks we take by not protecting our eyes but all it takes is one split-second accident that could damage your vision for a lifetime." According to the American Academy of Optometry, nearly half of all serious eye injuries occur at home, yet only 35 percent of Americans wear protective eyewear during projects that could pose a threat to their eyes.

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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? Joni: Thank you, Dr. Bob, for the opportunity to share information about Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The agency has been a part of the community since 1949. Our mission is to provide the means by which...

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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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What is blue light, and why should you care?

Most of us have an understanding that overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is bad for our eyes. We’ve learned to shop for sunglasses that have “100% UV Protection”. This is still good advice. However, due to a dramatic increase in our use of electronic devices and energy-efficient lighting, there’s increased concern about our exposure to another part of the visual spectrum... blue light.

Blue light itself is nothing new. It’s been present in natural sunlight and in artificial light in varying concentrations since the beginning of time. It’s actually very close to UV light in the visible light spectrum (Ultraviolet = 10-380 nm, Blue-violet = 380-455 nm). The difference is the level of exposure to blue light that we’re receiving in our modern world. The majority of this increase comes from our growing dependence on electronic devices, and how quickly this trend has occurred. Let’s look at a few dates that we can probably all relate to:

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What are Cataracts?

“You’ve got cataracts”. These three words can still fill a patient’s mind with worry and fear when their doctor has to utter them. Memories still linger of parents and grandparents going to the hospital and needing a week of bed rest only to be chained to thick glasses for the rest of their lives once the surgery was complete. Luckily for all of us those days are a thing of the past. These days cataract surgery is a 20-minute procedure that should not be feared. With modern implant surgery bed rest is not necessary and the visual outcomes are often nothing short of miraculous. So what are cataracts and how do you fix them? Everyone’s eyes have two lenses they use to see with. The cornea is the lens on the front of the eye where contact lenses are placed. The cornea’s job is to help you see distance objects clearly....

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2015 – A Look Back

This is the time of year we celebrate the holidays with family and friends, but it is also a time to reflect back on the last year to remind ourselves what has transpired during this particular trip around the sun.

It has been an eventful year for our office. In fact, it could be called the “Electronic Medical Records” year.  Beginning in October, this was the year that the government made EMRs a necessity in doctors’ offices across the country.  Between coding changes and Medicare rules, the ability to operate an office without an EMR system became an impossibility. 

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Make-up Tips

In honor of Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, I want to offer some tips to my female patients regarding make-up application and removal. I am not talking about tips on how to get the perfect winged eyeliner or smoky eye (but if someone can teach me, that will be greatly appreciated). I am referring to how to put make-up on and remove it to avoid getting dry and red eyes.

One of the common causes of dry eye is meibomian gland dysfunction. The eyelid margin (also known as the waterline) is lined with meibomian glands that secrete oil to lubricate the eye. However, if there is chronic blockage of the gland, it can become inflamed and no longer produce the oil we need to keep our eyes feeling moisturized.

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Good Vision Means More Than Seeing "20/20"

Now that our kids are back to school it is important for parents to feel confident that their child is seeing clearly to optimize his or her learning experience. An estimated 80 percent of information processed in school is through vision. When most people think about seeing clearly, they think of visual acuity, or being able to see “20/20.”

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Eye Spy

Some of us may remember playing the game "I Spy," with my little eye, where the speaker would describe something within everyone's line of sight for the other participants to guess what they see. In a world of smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices, our eyes can see the whole world right from our fingertips.

The eye is a truly amazing organ which turns light into sight and for animals, this can mean a completely different type of vision. For example, insects and arthropods, have compound eyes that can have up to 25,000 lenses compared to the single one found in humans. This allows for thousands of images being present at once, which allows faster motion detection and image recognition, which is the reason why it can be difficult to swat a passing fly.

People and most other animals, have eyes that are similar to a camera, which use a single lens to focus images onto a light sensitive membrane on the inside of the eyeball called the retina. While these camera-type eyes are similar conceptually, most animals see the world completely different than humans.

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Seeing in the Summertime

It's another of those hot central valley summers and many of us are choosing to keep cool by enjoying watersports. Boating, wave running and swimming are all excellent ways to beat the heat but there are a few things we all need to watch out for when it comes to our eyes and our eye health.

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Dry Eye FAQs

Q:  WHY DO MY EYES ALWAYS FEEL SO IRRITATED?  A:  COULD BE DRY EYE SYNDROME Next to blurry vision, our most common ocular problem in the Valley is dry eye, and many people don’t even know they have it! Studies show that up to 1/3 of people suffer from dry eye naturally, and our dry Valley air and high degree of allergens makes it even worse. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DRY EYE? Some symptoms are obvious, such as a sensation of dryness or burning. But foreign body sensation, feeling as if you have an eyelash in your eye but nothing is there, is another. How about blurry vision that varies, worse at some times more than others? And quite ironically, watery eyes is yet another symptom. Many of my patients say, “No, doctor, it’s not that I don’t have enough tears, I have too many!” That is because your eyes sense irritation and produce tears in an...

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Springtime is allergy time!

As spring approaches most of us will appreciate the beautiful flowers, blooming trees, the singing birds, and the bees. Unfortunately some of you will dread the sneezing, coughing, and the watery, swollen, and itchy eyes associated with Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAC).

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC), is the condition that many patients often suffer from without knowing they have it. Unfortunately, we often do the wrong things out of habit.

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Astigmatism and Contact Lenses

Doc, Can I Wear Contact Lenses?

This is a question that the doctors of Brookside Optometric are asked on a daily basis.  And, in the vast majority of cases, the resounding answer is “Yes”!  Over 38 million Americans currently wear contact lenses.  Although that sounds like a big number, it actually only represents about 16% of those who would benefit from vision correction in the U.S.  So, why don’t more people wear contact lenses?  In many cases it’s because of common misconceptions.  Let’s focus on just one of them.

I was told I can’t wear contacts because I’ve got “a stigma”

Well, you don’t actually have disgraceful or defective eyes.  You simply have “astigmatism”, which is one of the more commonly misunderstood vision problems. Like nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism is a refractive error, meaning it is not an eye disease or eye health problem; it's simply a problem with how the eye focuses light.  Refractive errors are the primary reasons why people are prescribed glasses, contact lenses or pursue corrective refractive surgery. 

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How to evaluate whether or not you are working with the correct laser center for LASIK eye surgery

Not a day goes by where a patient of mine does not ask me about LASIK eye surgery. This life changing surgery has been available in the United States since 1999 and it is estimated that over 600,000 people have this procedure performed every year. Sadly not all LASIK centers are the same and it is important to know how to determine if the center you are working with is the best choice for you.

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Good Vision Improves School Performance

School is back! And it’s time to make sure your child can learn by making sure they can see well. Many kids who do not do well in school often need glasses to improve their vision in order to help them see the classroom board or to decrease eyestrain while reading.  If a child has a difficult time learning in school, is unable to comprehend material, or has a short attention span, it could possibly be the result of a vision problem. Before any child is diagnosed with a learning disability, he/she is required to get an eye exam first. Here are some common vision problems: Near-sightedness is the condition that blurs objects in the distance, but objects up close remain clear.Far-sightedness is not the exact opposite of near-sightedness. Instead, it is the condition that blurs objects up close and in the distance, but the eye muscles have the ability to...

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