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A. Every time you blink, your healthy eyes get a bath from a fluid that’s a combination of oil, water, and mucus. This fluid, or tears, helps protect and moisturize the eyes. When something irritates your eyes or interferes with the production of tears, it can result in irritated dry eyes that are vulnerable to corneal abrasions.
Dry eyes are actually very common. More than 20 million Americans suffer from this annoying and sometimes painful condition. If you think you have dry eyes, check out some of these common symptoms and possible causes. Once you understand the culprit, you can begin to make changes to relieve your burning eyes, once and for all.
Aside from an entirely new look and feel, the newsletter also features a new monthly “Ask the Eye Doc” column written by Urban Optique’s own Dr. Michelle Calder Cardwell.
Dr. Michelle will be a regular, ongoing monthly contributor to EnVision — which goes out to nearly 5 million subscribers nationally — answering questions from members and the general public around vision care. Not only are we honored and thrilled that VSP chose Dr. Michelle as its resident vision expert, but we also love the new newsletter format and design.
To sign-up for the VSP EnVision e-mail newsletter which features articles on vision care and eyewear fashion and trends, visit the VSP website. If you want to ask Dr. Michelle a question, you can submit your questions for the “Ask The Eye Doc” monthly feature here.
In late July, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report that found over a two year period, emergency rooms treated more than 33,000 injuries due to contact lenses — making the eye the most frequently injured body part among children due to medical device complications.
When we saw the report and the headlines, we weren’t entirely surprised. Children are one of the fastest growing segments of new contact lens wearers, representing more than 10% of the total population of contact lens wearers. The growing popularity of contacts among children makes sense: Today’s new breed of soft contact lenses are more comfortable than ever and contacts are often an attractive alternative to glasses, especially for active children, ‘tweens and teens.
On the other hand, as the report from The American Academy of Pediatric’s demonstrates, contact lenses and children can also be a recipe for injury, and possibly permanent eye damage or vision loss, if parents aren’t monitoring and supervising the wear, care and replacement of lenses in their children.
According to the data, the most-frequently reported injury diagnoses due to contact lenses were corneal contusions/abrasions, conjunctivitis and hemorrhage. The study also showed that most contact lens complications were the result of non-compliance with the recommended wear and care regimens, as well as replacement schedules.
Misuse of contact lenses in both adults and children can lead to problems such as eye pain, bacterial infections, corneal ulcers, and even permanent vision loss or blindness.
Why so many problems?
Some kids love glasses. For example, we’ve had plenty of kids come into the boutique that put the same amount of attention into choosing their eyewear that they would place on picking out a new pair of basketball shoes or their back-to-school wardrobe. One of them even knew his brands, and had a Prada frame all picked out until mom reminded him that his active lifestyle probably wasn’t the best fit for a fashion frame.
On the other hand, there are those children who despise their glasses and would rather never see the chalk board or TV than wear them. Often, it’s just a matter of finding the right frames for them, but if they’ve had a bad experience with eyeglasses in the past, you’ll have a bit of work to do convincing them to give it another shot.
Regardless of which group your child in glasses falls into, we recently came across a fantastic website for the families and friends of toddlers and children in glasses: www.LittleFourEyes.com
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Thanks to a little known benefit from VSP, VSP vision insurance members who have undergone Lasik vision correction surgery can use their bi-yearly eyeglass benefit toward a pair of non-prescription sunglasses.
Yes, we said that right: If you’ve had Lasik and you have VSP, you can get your non-prescription sunglasses completely or partially paid for.
Normally, the frame benefit can only be applied to prescription sunglasses (for non-Lasik patients.) But if you’ve had Lasik surgery, VSP wants you to still protect your eyes from damaging UV rays and is willing to let you apply your usual frame benefit toward a pair of fantastic suns.
Depending on your particular VSP plan, this benefit can save you up to $150 dollars on non-prescription sunglasses. That will pretty much cover a brand new pair of Ray Bans or get you into a pair of fab Badgley Mischka, Prada, Sama, Tag Heuer, or Chloe suns at a savings of up to 50% off the retail price (or better, depending on brand and model.)
Research suggests that you should be.
A 2008 study by Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute consistently shows that more women are diagnosed with major eye diseases than men. Of the more than 3.6 million Americans age 40 or older who suffer from visual impairment, including blindness, 2.3 million are women.
This disturbing research prompted Prevent Blindness America to designate April as “Women’s Eye Care and Safety Month” in an effort to encourage women to make vision health a priority and schedule an eye exam that includes dilation.
The study found that in addition to more diagnosed cases of major eye disease, women are more prone to dry eye syndrome, a condition where not enough natural tears are produced, or the composition of the tear layers is compromised.
As temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, many people in Northern climates think it’s time to store away their sunglasses until they take their February vacation to South Beach or Spring makes its much anticipated return.
But keeping those sunglasses out of hibernation — even during the “less sunny” winter months — can help protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, decrease the risk of later vision disorders, and help you see and be seen.
It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security when the temperatures drop outside and the sun appears only for eleven hours.
Although you don’t feel the heat of the sun during the winter months, the dangerous UV rays are still there. It’s like sunbathing on a cloudy day in July — you think you are fine until you turn red at 8 pm.
During the winter, UV radiation hits your eyes from multiple directions. Not only do you get it from above, but you also have to deal with reflected UV radiation from snow, icy pavement and salted roads.
The glare off from snow, for example, can actually be more damaging than the reflected UV radiation from a sandy beach or from a water surface in the summer. That’s why you will often see skiers with custom-made specialty eyewear or goggles with UV protection built in.
Established by the U.S. government to provide employees with a tax-free method for paying out-of-pocket medical and health-related expenses, Flexible Spending Accounts have increased in popularity in recent years, especially since they enable individuals to lower their taxable income by up to $5,000 dollars.
Here’s how Flexible Spending Accounts work:
Flexible Spending Accounts allow employees to have up to $5,000 withheld tax-free that they can use toward various health and dependent-care expenses (for example, the cost of day-care.) Funds are either deducted from the account via a debit card, or the employee can submit receipts of eligible purchases, and the funds are credited against the balance in the account.
Flexible Spending Accounts are beneficial because they allow you to bank funds that aren’t taxed by the Federal Government to cover certain out-of-pocket expenses, as well as lower your tax liability.
The only real downside to Flexible Spending Accounts is that if you don’t use up all of the balance in your account by the end of the calendar year, then you lose them for good.
This is the infamous “Use ‘em or lose em” situation that causes many people to scramble during the month of December to find ways to utilize any remaining balances in their Flex Spending Accounts.