Fall Fashion

Predicting the unpredictable – How to find your fall fashion groove

Fall weather usually is so unpredictable. It can be breezy cool in the morning and Miami hot by afternoon. Or it can be freezing. You just never know. Accordingly, fall fashion often is a matter of mixing, matching and melding layers of varying styles that can be peeled off or added according to the sometimes–crazy fluctuating temperature.

So, as the weather takes on a chillier edge this fall, you’ll find today’s consumers expressing their unique styles, combining fashions that are old (think ’60s and ’70s) with the latest trends, nubby sweaters that are big, with knit pencil skirts that are little, plain comfortable sneakers with alpaca wool socks, worn denim jackets with flowing velvet dresses, overalls (yep, channel the farmer in you) with high–heels.

The key to dressing confidently in the fall is to combine your favorite elements from various styles and layer contrasting textures. For example, Western wear and cowboy boots are popular, but you don’t want to dress from head to toe in denim unless you’re actually going to a rodeo. Instead, pair a denim jacket with a pencil skirt and heels or a little ’60s print dress (think Mad Men) and hiking boots, yes, hiking boots. And don’t forget that ’70s ski lodge look – think Fair Isle sweaters and oversized cardigans for men and women.

“Hiking boots are going to be a thing,” predicts Lucky magazine style editor Laurel Pantin. “A solid leather pair of hiking boots is something I’m personally on the hunt for – solid leather, with a ’70s shape, rounded on the front. I like when the trend is something you can buy the authentic version of – when it’s snowy and nasty, and they’re built for that.”

How about those shoes

Comfortable footwear is a wardrobe staple for people on the move, and no–frills ballet flats and sneakers will be more popular than ever this fall. Zappos, the mega online shoe retailer, offers nearly 4,000 different styles of sneakers, ranging from $1,800 designer styles (wedges, slip–ons, high–tops, glitzy) to $20 plain–Janes.

The Converse Chuck Taylors still are the bestseller for men and women at $45. Not that long ago, ballet flats were worn primarily with tutus when practicing pirouettes, but it now seems that every woman has at least one pair. If you must have a pair (and you must), Zappos offers nearly 1,000 styles to choose from (ranging from $30 to $900).

The need for comfort is reflected in jeans sales as well. Sales of skinny jeans (a style that really seems to look best on emaciated teens) are down, while sales of the easy–to–wear boyfriend jeans are up. Choose a pair that has some wear (and perhaps a tear or two), roll up the cuffs and dress them up with heels or ankle boots, or dress down with ballet flats, sneakers or hiking boots.

For the ultimate in denim comfort, try on a pair of overalls. Trend setting magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Elle all spotlighted the denim duds formerly featured only on farmers. For fall, layer with a sporty jacket (not denim) or nubby sweater and scarf.

Now you see me…

What better way to add to your fall fashion ensemble than with a cool pair of shades. Today, eyewear is becoming a style accessory of choice – a compelling statement maker and fashion staple that helps express individuality.

The offerings this fall are vast. You’ll find eyewear all across the SPECtrum – from classic frames in warm fall colors such as tortoise, burnt orange and fiery red, to oversized geometric shapes in vibrant hues.

Similar to mainstream fashion, this fall’s eyewear trends borrow from the ’60s, fusing classic silhouettes with modern patterns, colorations, and details to create a sporty chic look and immediate panache.

If you need some guidance when shopping for your fall wardrobe, remember the advice of the iconic 1940s era movie star Joan Crawford:

  • Find your own style, and have the courage to stick to it.
  • Choose your clothes for your way of life.
  • Make your wardrobe as versatile as an actress. It should be able to play many roles.
  • Find your happiest colors – the ones that make you feel good.
  • Care for your clothes, like the good friends they are.

Balancing Life and Work

At one time or another, nearly everyone struggles to balance the demands of work and family. Work isn’t necessarily associated with a career – it can be volunteer work, or tasks associated with a hobby or passion. And family can be a spouse, siblings, a much–loved pet or an aging parent.

So, it goes without saying that nearly everyone – including stay–at–home moms and professionals with no children – experiences the frustration and ensuing stress of being tugged at from different directions and feeling like there’s just not enough time in the day.

What’s even more complicated is that these feelings of anxiety, frustration or hopelessness often multiply, says life coach and intuitive teacher Amy Piper.

“Stress is not only created by a response to an external situation or event – a lot of daily stress is created by ongoing attitudes or recurring feelings of agitation, worry, anxiety, anger, judgments, resentment, insecurities and self–doubt,” Piper says. “These emotions are known to drain our emotional energy while we are engaging in everyday life. This leads to more fatigue and an endless cycle of negative emotions.

Piper says that finding balance starts with defining your identity and recognizing your personal mission in life. It means knowing who you are and what matters most, so that you honor your priorities in the way you want and need to honor them rather than adhering to society’s or someone else’s expectations.

“When your mind and emotions are balanced – when you are in heart coherence – your physical systems function more efficiently, resulting in emotional stability, mental clarity and improved cognitive function,” she says.

Here are a few tips Piper says can help balance out your world:

  1. Clearly define who you are and what’s important, and prioritize accordingly. Start the day with a list of priorities that are intimately related to the larger goals of your work, and then give yourself a 6 p.m. deadline to complete them. In the meantime, commit to the larger values in your life – relationships, exercise, spirituality and fun – in a concrete way by putting those activities on your calendar.
  2. Establish routines and habits that support the goals you deem important. Habits (good and bad) become the cornerstones of your lifestyle over time. For example, if long–term health and vitality are important to you, incorporate walking into your daily routine, and plan family time that’s activity–centered. The steps add up over the weeks and years, and can make a huge difference. And don’t forget your vision. Remember to protect your eyes from the sun, take breaks from your electronic devices and schedule regular eye exams.
  3. Eliminate or reduce time suckers (activities or people) that don’t add value to your life and support your long–term goals or mission. You need to know how to recognize and hold honest boundaries in relationships, remaining true to your own needs while being connected to other people.
  4. Delegate tasks that are not important to your goals. This means you must recognize that some things just don’t matter – being an awesome cupcake baker is not essential to being a loving mother. Hire someone else to bake your cupcakes or turn the baking experience into a project you can enjoy with your child.
  5. Be present and experience the fullness of the moment. If you’re off the clock, unplug from work, set your phone aside and immerse yourself in the present situation and company without burdening yourself with guilt, frustration or anxiety. Engage in authentic conversations with your family members and enjoy their company without being distracted or otherwise preoccupied.

Learn to recognize when imbalance is creating stress and be deliberate about honoring your priorities. You’ll be happier and healthier – mentally, spiritually and physically.

Important Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

Whether you’re new to contact lenses, or you’ve been wearing them for years, it’s important to put the following tips into practice.

Putting in and Removing Your Contact Lenses

First, wash and dry your hands thoroughly.

Whatever is on your hands when you touch your contact lenses could end up in your eyes. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly wash your hands with antimicrobial soap. Then dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel before handling your contact lenses.

Also, avoid using cream or oil-based soaps and lotions before touching your contacts, as these can contaminate your lenses or leave an oily film.

Always start with the same eye for contact lens insertion.

When inserting your contacts, start with the same eye every time. You’ll be less likely to switch the lenses by mistake. That’s especially important because your left and right contact lenses can have different prescriptions.

Place your contact lens in your palm.

Hold your contact lens by putting it in the palm of your hand. Pinching the lens between your fingers increases the chance you’ll nick it with your fingernail. Fingernails can harm the surface of the lens, and are also a rich source of bacteria.

Remove Your Contacts if You Experience Pain or Discomfort

If your contact lenses start to hurt or feel uncomfortable, or if people comment on the redness of your eyes, remove your lenses. Then check them for cracks or scratches, and discard any damaged lenses.

If pain or discomfort happen repeatedly when wearing your contact lenses, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We can help diagnose the problem and make sure you have the right lenses for you. In the meantime, it may be best to wear your eyeglasses instead.

Stock up on contact lens solution

Unless you wear daily disposable contact lenses, it’s a hassle to discover you’re out of lens cleaning solution at the end of a long day. Having contact lens solution on hand is especially important because you should use fresh cleaning solution each time you touch and store your contact lenses. Never use tap water to clean your contacts. It can contain impurities and infectious microorganisms.

Keep Your Glasses With You

Having your glasses available, especially during vacations, will come in handy. For example, many contact lens wearers prefer their glasses first thing in the morning before they head out for the day. And if debris or another irritant makes your lenses uncomfortable during the day, you’ll be glad you kept a pair of glasses with you.

Always Wear Sunglasses, Even With UV-protective Contacts

Even UV-protective contact lenses don’t block all of the UV rays that harm your eyes. Wearing UV-protective sunglasses will help reduce the strain and harm to your eyes and vision. Be sure to tell us about the kinds of outdoor activities you do so we can help assess your exposure risk and recommend the right protection for you.

Only Buy Contact Lenses From Legitimate Sources–and With a Valid Prescription

Any contacts you buy need to be prescribed by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist–even lenses without vision correction, such as color contacts or decorative contacts worn for Halloween. In fact, in the U.S., you cannot buy contact lenses without a valid prescription. That’s because contact lenses are considered medical devices. And only a licensed eye care professional can ensure your contacts are medically safe and properly fitted for you.

Remember, taking care of your contacts is essential to taking care of your vision and your eye health.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment to see if contact lenses are right for you, or if you have questions about your current contacts or are experiencing any wearing problems, please give us a call.

Blurry Vision Up Close? Consider Multifocal Contacts

At about age 40, many of our patients begin having difficulty focusing their eyes on objects up close. They now have to hold anything they are reading farther away from their eyes in order to see it clearly. A condition called presbyopia is a likely cause. It’s both very common and very treatable.

If you’d like an alternative to reading glasses, consider multifocal contact lenses. They allow your eyes to focus up close, far away and in between without the need for eyeglasses.

How multifocal contact lenses work

A single multifocal contact lens contains multiple prescriptions. There’s typically one prescription to correct up close vision, one for distance vision, and one for intermediate distance vision. This design lets your eyes smoothly transition for clear vision at different distances.

What’s the difference between multifocal and bifocal contacts?

Multifocal contact lenses have a range of prescriptions (optical powers) in the same lens. Much like progressive eyeglasses, multifocal lenses provide a gradual transition between the different prescriptions in each lens.

Bifocal lenses, on the other hand, have just two prescriptions in each lens. And there is a distinct edge between the near and far vision prescription areas of the lens. This can be a problem for some patients because instead of having a gradual transition between prescriptions, they have to learn how to visually switch between the two prescriptions. In addition, bifocals may adversely affect your depth perception.

Types of multifocal contacts

Manufacturers of multifocal contact lenses use either soft lens materials or “hard” rigid gas permeable (RGP) materials. In addition to conventional soft lenses, there are also advanced soft lenses made with silicone hydrogel. This material allows more oxygen to reach your eyes so they stay comfortable longer.

The most common multifocal lens design features a set of concentric circles. The circles cover the range of lens powers we prescribe so you can see up close and at different distances.

There are also blended designs that keep both the near and distance prescriptions close to the center of your eye (your pupil). This design mimics a natural viewing experience by correcting the specific points of aberration in your eyes.

Are multifocal contact lenses right for you?

We can help you determine if multifocal lenses are the best solution for you. Here are some  key benefits and drawbacks to consider.

Key benefits of wearing multifocal contacts

  • Sharper vision for the range of distances from near to far
  • A less abrupt switch between prescriptions
  • The ability to see in most conditions without extra eyewear

Drawbacks to wearing multifocal contacts

For some people, multifocal lenses may be:

  • More difficult to adjust to due to a different viewing experience
  • Accompanied by nighttime glare and hazy or shadowy vision during the adjustment period
  • More expensive because of the increased complexity in design

Alternatives to multifocal contact lenses

Multifocal lenses aren’t the best choice for everyone. Bifocals may be the answer to correct your presbyopia. Other options include:

  • Pairing reading glasses with normal contact lenses
  • Monovision contact lenses, meaning you wear one lens to correct only near vision in one eye and one lens to correct only distance vision in your other eye.
  • Surgical correction or lens implantation recommended by your doctor

If presbyopia has become a problem for you, we encourage you to make an appointment with us to discuss your options. Your eyesight and vision health are our top concern.

Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes

Have you been told you can’t wear contact lenses because your eyes are too dry? Or have you stopped wearing contacts because your lenses made your eyes feel dry and irritated?

If so, here’s some good news: today there are new contact lenses and contact lens care products that are making contact lens wear more comfortable than ever.

Dry Eyes: A Common Problem

Statistics vary from study to study, but the conclusion is consistent: dry eye problems are very common. In July 2014, Contact Lens Spectrum reported results of a survey that found approximately one-third of adult patients visiting eye care providers had some degree of dry eye.

And for computer users, the problem appears to be even worse. In a study published in American Journal of Ophthalmology (July 2013), researchers in Japan found that among full-time office workers who routinely use a computer, roughly 60 percent of males and more than 75 percent of females showed signs and symptoms of dry eye disease (DED). Risk factors included being over age 30 and using a computer more than eight hours per day.

It’s no wonder, then, that many people find their contact lenses feeling dry from time to time.

If you have severe dry eyes, the only real solution to contact lens dryness discomfort is to see your eye care provider to have your dry eye condition successfully treated before attempting or resuming contact lens wear.

But if your dry eye symptoms are relatively mild, you may find that asking your eye care provider for a different type or brand of contact lenses or switching to a new contact lens care regimen may significantly improve your contact lens comfort.

Contact Lenses Designed To Retain Moisture

Because dryness discomfort is a primary reason why people discontinue contact lens wear, several lens manufactures have introduced soft contacts that are specifically designed to retain moisture better than previous hydrogel technology. Examples of these moisture-retaining soft lenses include:

Proclear lenses (CooperVision) are made of a high-water hydrogel material and feature technology that uses molecules similar to those in human cell membranes. These molecules attract and surround themselves with water, keeping Proclear lenses moist and comfortable for 12 hours of wear or longer, according to the company. Other contact lenses that feature proprietary technology to retain moisture longer than other soft lenses include Extreme H2O lenses (Hydrogel Vision) and Dailies Total 1 lenses (Alcon).

Extreme H2O lenses are available in weekly and two-week disposable designs; Dailies Total 1 lenses are one-day disposable lenses.

Your eye care provider can discuss these and other brands of hydrogel and silicone hydrogel lenses that may stay moist and comfortable longer than your previous and/or current lenses.

Moisture-Enhancing Lens Care Products

Sometimes, changing to a different contact lens solution or lens care system can significantly improve your wearing comfort. In particular, if you wear silicone hydrogel lenses, some of these lenses will stay moist longer with the use of specific care products.

But don’t make any changes to your lens care products without first consulting with your eye doctor. Certain lenses perform better with specific solutions, and your doctor can make the best choices for you based on your specific needs.

Different brands of contact lens solutions can look the same on the store shelf. Bring all care products that you are currently using with you when you visit your doctor so there is no confusion regarding the products you are using.

Preservative-Free Lens Care

Most contact lens wearers use multipurpose care solutions for rinsing, disinfecting and storing their lenses. These products contain preservatives that sometimes can irritate your eyes and make them feel dry.

If you lenses are becoming uncomfortable — even if you have used multipurpose solutions for months without problems — ask your eye care provider if switching to a preservative-free lens care system with hydrogen peroxide as the disinfecting agent might be a better choice for you.

Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

Lens deposits that form on contact lenses over time can cause lenses to dry out more easily and cause discomfort. To eliminate day-after-day buildup on lenses, consider switching to daily disposable lenses that you discard after a single use.

Often, switching to daily disposable lenses eliminates discomfort issues, whether they are caused by lens deposits, dryness or sensitivity to preservatives in lens care products.

Rewetting Drops

contact lensesSometimes contact lens-related dry eyes can be solved with occasional use eye drops known as contact lens rewetting drops. Ask your eye care provider which brands are best for the type of contact lenses you are wearing.

Do not use artificial tears or other eye drops while wearing contact lenses without first checking with your eye doctor, as some drops can discolor or damage your lenses or cause your contacts to adhere to the surface of your eyes.

Important Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

Whether you’re new to contact lenses, or you’ve been wearing them for years, it’s important to put the following tips into practice.

Putting in and Removing Your Contact Lenses

First, wash and dry your hands thoroughly.

contact lensesWhatever is on your hands when you touch your contact lenses could end up in your eyes. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly wash your hands with antimicrobial soap. Then dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel before handling your contact lenses.

Also, avoid using cream or oil-based soaps and lotions before touching your contacts, as these can contaminate your lenses or leave an oily film.

Always start with the same eye for contact lens insertion.

When inserting your contacts, start with the same eye every time. You’ll be less likely to switch the lenses by mistake. That’s especially important because your left and right contact lenses can have different prescriptions.

Place your contact lens in your palm.

Hold your contact lens by putting it in the palm of your hand. Pinching the lens between your fingers increases the chance you’ll nick it with your fingernail. Fingernails can harm the surface of the lens, and are also a rich source of bacteria.

Remove Your Contacts if You Experience Pain or Discomfort

If your contact lenses start to hurt or feel uncomfortable, or if people comment on the redness of your eyes, remove your lenses. Then check them for cracks or scratches, and discard any damaged lenses.

If pain or discomfort happen repeatedly when wearing your contact lenses, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We can help diagnose the problem and make sure you have the right lenses for you. In the meantime, it may be best to wear your eyeglasses instead.

Stock up on contact lens solution

Unless you wear daily disposable contact lenses, it’s a hassle to discover you’re out of lens cleaning solution at the end of a long day. Having contact lens solution on hand is especially important because you should use fresh cleaning solution each time you touch and store your contact lenses. Never use tap water to clean your contacts. It can contain impurities and infectious microorganisms.

Keep Your Glasses With You

Having your glasses available, especially during vacations, will come in handy. For example, many contact lens wearers prefer their glasses first thing in the morning before they head out for the day. And if debris or another irritant makes your lenses uncomfortable during the day, you’ll be glad you kept a pair of glasses with you.

Always Wear Sunglasses, Even is With UV-protective Contacts

Even UV-protective contact lenses don’t block all of the UV rays that harm your eyes. Wearing UV-protective sunglasses will help reduce the strain and harm to your eyes and vision. Be sure to tell us about the kinds of outdoor activities you do so we can help assess your exposure risk and recommend the right protection for you.

Only Buy Contact Lenses From Legitimate Sources–and With a Valid Prescription

Any contacts you buy need to be prescribed by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist–even lenses without vision correction, such as color contacts or decorative contacts worn for Halloween. In fact, in the U.S., you cannot buy contact lenses without a valid prescription. That’s because contact lenses are considered medical devices. And only a licensed eye care professional can ensure your contacts are medically safe and properly fitted for you.

Remember, taking care of your contacts is essential to taking care of your vision and your eye health.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment to see if contact lenses are right for you, or if you have questions about your current contacts or are experiencing any wearing problems, please give us a call.

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please contact our office.

Eyeglasses That Suit Your Style

Eyeglasses play two important (and very different) roles — they correct your vision to influence how you see the world; and they contribute to your appearance and style, influencing how the world sees you.

So it’s wise to keep these two functions in mind when shopping for glasses: you want glasses that give you the best vision possible — and that complement your style, too!

When it comes to style, it’s all about the frames.

Would You Wear Flip-Flops with a Business Suit?

First things first: Unless your budget simply won’t allow it, you should be thinking about purchasing more than one pair of glasses to complement your wardrobe and lifestyle.

Even if your style is just-off-the-beach casual, you wouldn’t wear flip-flops to an important business meeting, would you? (Okay, maybe if you’re in the surfboard business you might, but you get the picture, right?) Or wear running shoes with an evening dress. So dispel yourself of the notion that one pair of glasses will give you the look you want or need for every situation.

That said, here are some general tips for a few common styles:

Eyeglasses for Serious Business

To put your best face forward and exude confidence with a wide variety of business clients and colleagues, it’s usually best to stay with conservative frame shapes and colors. Also:

  • Minimalist metal or rimless frames are always good.
  • Classic oval and rectangular shapes usually look best with business attire.
  • Silver, gunmetal, brown and black are good choices for men.
  • Silver, gold, espresso brown, burgundy and black are good choices for women.
  • Classic tortoise patterns also work well for women and men.
  • Avoid bright colors or unusual shapes.
  • Avoid very large and very small lens sizes; stay in the middle.

Glasses That Show Your Creativity

For a more creative or fashion-forward appearance and for fun times outside the office, consider frames that are more attention-grabbing in shape and color:

  • Consider geometric shapes in thicker and larger plastic frames.
  • For metal frames look for styles with more temple detailing.
  • Consider frames with more dramatic colors or patterns.
  • Multi-colored laminates are often a good choice.
  • Retro or vintage styles with modern detailing and/or colors also are good.

Glasses for the Modern Baby Boomer or Senior

Just because you’re eligible for an AARP card doesn’t mean you have to wear stodgy, old-fashioned glasses.

For a more youthful appearance, consider frame styles that are uplifting for the face, such as upswept rectangles for men and soft cat-eye shapes for women.

Pay attention to scale. Avoid those huge metal frames that older men often wear. Also, make sure your eyes are well-centered within the lens opening and purchase anti-reflective lenses to draw more attention to your eyes.

Also, frames with lighter colors and a high-gloss finish often look more youthful on women.

The Young Intellectual

Whether you’re studying art, French literature, finance or engineering, college is a time to develop your own identity — and show off your style.

Seize the day and don’t be afraid to express yourself. Experiment with eyewear styling, including eye-catching colors, shapes and sizes.

Want to go in a different direction? Try a retro frame in basic black.

Glasses for the Weekend Warrior

Most working adults live dual lives — their normal 9-to-5 weekday life and their (usually) more active life on the weekends.

Just as dress shoes are the wrong attire for the gym, the glasses you wear in the office are nearly always the wrong choice for sports and active wear.

For the best comfort, performance and safety during “weekend warrior” hours, choose at least one pair of sports-appropriate eyeglasses or sunglasses.

Styling can range from wraparounds to more conventionally shaped eyeglasses and sunglasses. Sporty looks can include bright colors and modern combinations of metal and plastic materials.

Some important words about lenses here: Make sure you choose lightweight polycarbonate or Trivex lenses for your sports glasses and sunglasses. Lenses made of these materials are far more impact-resistant than other eyeglass lenses, and they are significantly lighter, too, to stay comfortably in place on your face. Also, consider getting sun-sensitive (photochromic) treatment applied to these lenses for optimal sight in changing light conditions.

For sunglasses for sports and active wear, consider polarized lenses to more effectively reduce glare caused by light bouncing back from water, concrete and other reflective surfaces.

The Complete Package

A common misstep people make when putting together a wardrobe is forgetting about their glasses and sunglasses.

At a minimum, the well-dressed woman or man should have an eyewear wardrobe that includes:

  1. A pair of glasses for the office, computer and/or formal wear
  2. A pair of glasses for a casual wear
  3. A pair of glasses with photochromic polycarbonate (or Trivex) lenses for sports and active/safety wear
  4. A pair of “dress” sunglasses for fashion use

(If you spend significant amounts of time fishing, on the beach or boating, consider a pair of sports glasses with polarized polycarbonate lenses for superior protection from glare.)

Cateract Surgery and Modern IOLs

If you have cataracts and need surgery to restore your vision, fear not — cataract surgery is one of the most frequently performed surgeries, and modern cataract surgery is safer and produces better visual outcomes than ever before.

Still, you should be well informed about what to expect before, during and after your cataract surgery, and which of the many types of intraocular lenses available these days is the best choice for your needs.

Cataract Surgery Basics

In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens inside your eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens — called an intraocular lens, or IOL — to restore clear vision.

Cataract surgery typically is performed on an outpatient basis and you are awake throughout the procedure, which takes only about 15 minutes.

Modern cataract surgery requires only a small incision in the eye, because the cloudy lens is broken up into small pieces with an ultrasonic probe before it is removed from the eye. This small-incision technique reduces the risk of complications and promotes faster healing and vision improvement.

After all remnants of the cloudy lens have been removed from your eye, the cataract surgeon inserts a clear IOL behind the iris and pupil, in the same location your natural lens occupied. (In special cases, an IOL might be secured to the front of the iris, but this is less common.)

The surgeon then completes the procedure by closing the incision (a stitch may or may not be needed), and a protective shield is placed over your eye to keep it safe in the early stages of recovery.

Recently, lasers (similar to those used in LASIK vision correction surgery) have been approved for certain steps in cataract surgery. These “femtosecond” lasers provide even greater precision for these tasks and may make cataract surgery outcomes even more accurate and predictable.

Laser-assisted cataract surgery, however, usually is significantly more costly than a conventional cataract procedure. Ask your eye doctor or cataract surgeon for more information about this new technology.

Choosing the Best IOL

During your pre-operative exam, your eye doctor or cataract surgeon will discuss the latest IOLs that are available for cataract surgery and help you choose the right lens for your needs and budget.

With many premium IOLs to choose from these days, it’s important to consider your priorities and visual expectations after your procedure.

Generally, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I want good distance vision but also the most economical solution, so I have the lowest possible out-of-pocket expenses after insurance or Medicare coverage for my cataract surgery?
  2. Am I willing to pay an out-of-pocket premium to get the latest IOL technology that might provide slightly sharper vision than a conventional IOL or decrease my need for glasses after surgery?

If you want to keep costs down, ask your surgeon which IOLs will result in the least amount of out-of-pocket expenses for your cataract procedure. Standard IOLs of this type provide excellent vision for most patients, and your surgeon can advise you about your expected visual outcome with this choice.

For some patients, a premium IOL may provide noticeably better vision after cataract surgery than a standard IOL.

Examples of premium intraocular lenses include aspheric IOLs that correct visual aberrations that can cause halos around lights and other vision problems, and toric IOLs that correct astigmatism as well as nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Also, consider which of the following is your highest priority after surgery:

  1. The sharpest distance vision possible (knowing this means you will likely need reading glasses).
  2. The greatest freedom from glasses after surgery (knowing this means your distance vision without glasses will likely be less clear than with option 1).

If the sharpest possible distance vision is your top priority — so you can see clearly without glasses for driving, sports and other activities — your best option may be a premium IOL designed for distance vision only. Though this option means you will likely need reading glasses, most people who choose these IOLs are very pleased with their distance vision after cataract surgery and find that wearing reading glasses when needed is worth the trade-off.

If you want the greatest freedom from glasses after cataract surgery (and are willing to put up with a slight decrease in the sharpness of your distance vision to get it), your best choice may be a presbyopia-correcting IOL.

There are two types of presbyopia-correcting IOLs, which are designed to provide good vision at all distances:

  • Multifocal IOLs. These IOLs, like multifocal or progressive eyeglass lenses, have several lens powers to help you see quite clearly at multiple distances — far away (for driving), at arm’s length (for computer use), and close up (for reading).
  • Accommodating IOLs. These presbyopia-correcting IOLs have only one lens power, but have the ability to move slightly within the eye in response to focusing effort, thereby mimicking the eye’s natural focusing ability prior to the onset of presbyopia.

Most people who choose presbyopia-correcting IOLs are very pleased with their vision without glasses. However, many still require glasses occasionally for better driving vision (especially at night) and for reading small print.

It’s also important to know that whether you choose a distance-only or a presbyopia-correcting IOL, it’s not unusual for you to still have some minor blurred vision without glasses.

If you want the best possible vision without glasses after cataract surgery, ask your eye surgeon if you are a good candidate for LASIK or other vision correction procedures to enhance or “fine-tune” your eyesight a few months after surgery.

Be sure to ask plenty of questions during your pre-operative exam so you are completely comfortable with your choice of IOL and your decision to proceed with cataract surgery before signing surgical consent forms.

Cataract Surgery Recovery

An uncomplicated cataract surgery typically lasts only about 15 minutes. But expect to be at the surgical center for 90 minutes or longer, because extra time is needed for final measurements and a brief exam and consultation with your surgeon before and after the procedure.

You must have someone drive you home after cataract surgery; do not attempt to drive until you have visited your eye doctor the day after surgery and he or she tests your vision and confirms that your visual acuity is adequate for you to drive safely without glasses.

You will have several follow-up visits after surgery to monitor the health of your eye and the quality of your vision. Be sure to use all medications as directed to promote healing and reduce the risk of complications, and follow all other instructions your eye surgeon and eye doctor give you.

Finally, be patient — it can take several weeks or even months for your vision to peak after surgery. Your eye doctor will keep you informed of your progress and prescribe glasses or recommend an additional vision correction procedure if needed.

Digital Effect on Kids’ Vision

Computer use, cell phones, and iPads have become a routine part of kids’ lives.

Surveys show the average American child spends one to three hours daily on a computer while surfing the Internet, doing homework, talking online with friends and playing video games. About 90% of school-aged children in the U.S. have access to a computer at home or in school.

And kids are starting to use computers at a younger age. Among college students who were interviewed, 20% said they began using a computer before they were 9 years old.

Is there a connection between computer use and myopia?

So how is all this computer use at a young age affecting kids’ eyes?

Many eye doctors who specialize in children’s vision say sustained computer use puts kids at higher risk for childhood myopia (nearsightedness). They point out that, though myopia affects approximately 25% of the U.S. population, nearly 50% of adult computer users with a college education are nearsighted. Computer use, especially among youngsters whose eyes are still changing, may be the reason for this disparity.

Research seems to support this theory. A study of 253 children between the ages of 6 and 10 at the University of California at Berkeley School of Optometry found a strong correlation between the amount of time young children spend on the computer and their development of nearsightedness.

Why are computers hard on kids’ eyes?

Computer use stresses the eyes more than reading a book or magazine because it’s harder to maintain focus on computer-generated images than on printed images. There is no fixed focus as there is with black on white print.

This is especially true for young children, whose visual system is not fully developed. There are special testing (Prio computer test) that some Drs. can evaluate the exact prescription necessary to relax eyes at the computer while testing on lighted computerized equipment, which minimizes the need for increased nearsighted correction.