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The first thing is not to panic. Reasons for failing a school screening range from just being nervous to mixing up letters to needing glasses to more severe reasons like strabismus (misaligned eye) or amblyopia (lazy eye). The best thing is to get it checked as soon as possible.


If it's nearsightedness or farsightedness: Glasses may make a huge difference in your child's academic performance.


If it's an eye misalignment: Your child may be seeing double. Believe it or not, kids sometimes go for a long time seeing double without complaining, thinking that's just the way people see. Visit an optometrist first and figure out the best course of action. Sometimes its glasses with prism lenses. Sometimes its Vision Therapy.


If it's amblyopia/lazy eye: Don't delay. If one eye sees significantly better than the other this can have detrimental long term effects. Lazy eye can be fixed but only if action is taken in a timely way. The hardest part is, many times since the child has one good eye, he or she functions very well and is resistant to glasses, therapy, patching, or whatever the course of action may be. But do be persistent- don't ignore this problem even when the child says everything is fine.


If it's an ocular disease: Ocular diseases such as glaucoma are very rare in children but do occur. If this is the case, the first step is a visit to the optometrist who will direct you to the appropriate ophthalmologist as needed.


If my child passed the screening... We're good right?


Not necessarily.


Kids are clever and crafty (I'm a parent too, I know). Imagine your kid standing in a line with other kids. The first kid in line reads the bottom row: EVOTZ with the right eye. EVOTZ with the left. The second kid says the same. Next its your child's turn. Uh-oh. Blurry. But heck, he knows the answer already- he was listening carefully and just heard his classmates say it: EVOTZ. School nurse checks off his name and he moves on happily with his day. Same thing can happen if your child can see it perfectly with one eye and then realizes upon switching the occluder over that the second eye is blurry. Good thing he remembers what the letters were.


Part of getting an accurate eye test on a kid is making sure he or she can't outsmart the system. That's where we come in.


Remember there are some limitations to what a school screening can actually detect. Read more about it here: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/comprehensive-eye-and-vision-examination/limitations-of-vision-screening-programs#1

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Everyone who has ever tried contacts knows the feeling: The first time you attempt to get them in at home is so frustrating. How is it possible that you mastered it in the office and now at home its been an hour and they're still not going in? Its like you forgot everything the doctor told you. Just relax. Here are a few pointers:


1. Keep both eyes open. Your eyelids operate in sync with each other, so if you are trying to insert a right contact and your left eye is squeezed shut, you are making it a lot harder for yourself. Keep your left eye open so the right follows suit.


2. Keep you contact WET and your finger that its resting on DRY. The reasoning is simple if you think about it: wet things love to stick to other wet things. So a wet contact will want to get right on your wet eyeball. But if your finger is also wet, it will never want to leave.


3. Don't break eye contact with yourself. If you start to panic when the lens approaches your eye and your eyes roll back, suddenly you can't see what you're doing in the mirror and just aimlessly pushing the contact towards your eye. If you don't watch what you're doing, this will never work.


4. Practice with eye drops first. Part of the struggle is simply getting comfortable with something going in your eyes. It is an unnatural thing, if you think about it. Our instinct is to be protective of our eyes and shut them tight if anything gets close. A great way to get more comfortable is to practice putting artificial tears in your eyes. Once you've mastered eye drops, the next step is contacts.


5. When removing lenses, don't delay between the "slide" and the "pinch." You probably remember being taught to pinch the lens off. But first its important to slide the lens away from the center and onto the white part of your eye (because if you accidentally scratch or pinch the white of your eye it is not as bad as if you accidentally pinched the center). The problem is, you have a very small window of opportunity to pinch the lens after sliding it. Because if you wait too long, or take your finger off, the lens goes right back to the center, exactly where it is designed to fit. Practice getting the slide and the pinch in a single, continuous motion.


If you need more practice, we are here for you! Don't hesitate to make another appointment for more in-office training!


One more thing: Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.

It's my job to tell you that and to show you this photo from a study done at the University of Waterloo after handling contact lenses with washed and unwashed hands.



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Updated: Apr 1, 2019


In celebration of Earth Day, this month's post is about how to make environmentally conscientious choices with your eye wear. In elementary school we learned to REDUCE! REUSE! and RECYCLE! Here's how we can apply that to our eyewear choices.


1. Reduce the amount of plastic we purchase. This brings us to the question, what takes less plastic to manufacture, glasses or contact lenses? The chart below shows the amount of plastic in a year's worth of contacts vs. glasses.


Just like you'd guess, glasses are the winner. Keep in mind too, if you're only wearing contacts about half the time- we can cut that number in half on the daily disposable chart, bringing it down to 477 grams- just under the year's supply of monthly contact lenses. (I know what you're thinking, we should be cutting the monthly wear number in half too, but that's not the case; when worn properly, even if worn every other day, you'd still need 12 pairs, 12 cases, and 12 bottles of solution). To be the most environmentally friendly, stick with glasses. If you do want to wear contacts, and you wear them every day, go with the monthly kind. If you wear contacts every other day or less, go with daily disposables. We can even do one better to reduce plastic production. Consider frames made of biodegradable materials such as cotton acetate, like that used by the brand Monkeyglasses, instead of the usual zylonite cellulose acetate.


2. Reuse frames more than once. If your frames are in good condition, don't waste them. Frames can be re-used again and again by simply updating the lenses with your most current prescription. Some frames, such as STATE frames, have a lifetime warranty! If you are ready to move on to a different style, we recommend donating your old glasses through the Lion' Club. When I was a student, I participated in mission trips to both Nicaragua, and Oaxaca, Mexico with hundreds of pairs of glasses donated from the Lion's Club. Being able to give theses glasses to people who live in poor villages without eye care- well that's just about the best thing you can do with them. Please remember it is NOT a good idea to reuse your contact lenses for longer than their FDA-approved lifespan.


3. Recycle contact lenses and their packaging materials. Contact lenses are a surprisingly significant pollutant for two reasons: They can't be recycled traditionally because they are too small for recycling facilities to process, and when rinsed down the sink or toilet, they end up in waterways. Yes, people do that. Believe it or not, about 20% of contact lens wearers dispose of contacts down the drain or toilet. This is the WORST way to dispose of contacts. Contacts are particularly dangerous in waterways for a few reasons: 1- the plastic is designed to be durable so they don't biodegrade easily and 2- they are so small they slip through filters used to keep non-biological material out of waterways. According to the American Chemical Society, it is estimated that six to 10 metric tons of plastic contact lenses end up in wastewater in the U.S. alone each year. Contacts tend to be denser than water, which means they sink, and this could ultimately pose a threat to aquatic life.


So if you don't want your contacts in waterways or landfills, but you can't just thrown them in your recycling bin, what options do you have? They need to go to a specialty recycling center. We've found the easiest one to use is Terracycle because they can be shipped free with printable shipping labels. We are 100% on board.

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