Category Archives: Vision

How often do you need an eye exam

How often is an eye exam recommended? Many people get an eye exam annually, while some believe that is too often. So what is the right answer? Many physicians recommend a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years, depending on age, risk factors and depending if you wear corrective lenses, too.

  • Children should have a comprehensive eye exam around the 6 months of age and another near the age of 3. As they continue to develop, an exam before entering school is highly recommended. This varies between the age of 5 or 6. Undetected issues such as lazy eye, ptosis(drooping of the upper eyelid), or crossed eyes need to be caught early so they can be treated.
  • Between ages 3–19, visits should be scheduled every year or two, unless more are recommended due to specific medical conditions.

These checkups are vital as a child’s eye shape changes, altering eyesight and increasing the need for corrective lenses.

  • For ages 20–40, it is recommended to schedule an eye exam every five years unless vision changes, pain or flashes of light are becoming common within the eye.
  • For those in good health, a baseline eye exam is often suggested at the age of 40 when adult vision usually begin to decline due to aging.
  • Adults ages 40–64, should have an assessment every two to four years, depending on whether on any noticeable changes in vision occur or if he/she are experiencing any symptoms of illness. At age 64, it is important to get checked every one to two years because of an increased risk of glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration.

However, it is important to keep in mind the risk factors of high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of eye disease, as it can also cause to have frequent eye exams for your health. For example, people with diabetes are recommended a yearly exam because of risk for eye disorders like diabetic retinopathy.

Eyes are what allow you to see the beauty of everything in life, so to be on the safe side and maintain perfect vision, schedule an eye exam with your doctor today!

Best Sunglasses to Have for The Summer

We previously discussed which set of eyeglasses are making a comeback or setting a new trend in this year’s eyewear fashion. On this post, we’ll discuss which sunglasses are the best to keep your eyes protected and still give you the fashionable look that we all prefer!

This summer’s glasses style have brought back different vintage styles that were very popular in the last decade. This year, these looks provide a whole uniqueness and confidence to those who wear it.


  • Aviator – This timeless classic has remained popular for years and are known for its unapologetically cool look. They are among the best sunglasses for both men and women. The slim and metal frame are a “must have” for the summer, the silhouette also grows thicker and bolder well into the fall, too.
  • Clubmaster –  Clubmasters are liked because of their half rim. These semi-rimless sunglasses add a discreet, acetate and metal frame that casually makes you look cool.
  • Tortoise shell – The best feature about the tortoise shell sunglasses is that they can be worn by with any style and trend.
  • Gold – Gold sunglasses add an elegant color for the upcoming summer season. Using gold round sunglasses can not only compliment your outfit, but can also protect your vision at all times.
  • Oversized – A longtime favorite, oversize sunglasses is the top choice to look and stay on top. A mixture between cat eye and round sunglasses, give your eyes complete and overall sun coverage for long days in the sun.

These several types of sunglasses will keep your vision well protected into the summer and still be in style. Contact your eye doctor today to find the right prescription and perfect frame for you!

Vision and Pregnancy

A common question that many women come across during their pregnancy is: can my vision change during pregnancy?

During pregnancy a decrease in tear production can be expected, which leads to dryness in eyes, irritation and discomfort. Hormones can also cause fluid buildup in your eyes, similar to how your feet and ankles swell up. Changes such as hormones, blood circulation, metabolism and fluid retention can each affect your eyes and eyesight during your pregnancy. For example, even if it’s a small change, water retention can cause thickness and curvature of the cornea of your eye to slightly increase. It can still affect how well your contacts or glasses correct your vision. If you wear glasses, although it’s unlikely you’ll need to change your prescription, it can still be possible.

Some vision changes can lead to a more serious problem such as Preeclampsia, which is marked by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ. Symptoms can include: light sensitivity, blurry vision or seeing flashing lights. If any of these symptoms occur call your doctor ASAP, or go to the ER.

As mentioned before, many women who experience vision changes, will report that they were minor changes. If any of this happens, here are some tips on what you can do to help:

  • If your eyes get dry, ask your eye doctor to recommend lubricating drops.
  • If you normally use contacts, give your eyes a rest. Consider wearing glasses until after delivery. Or check the label to ensure the drops can be used with the contacts, some contacts contain preservatives that can harm soft lenses. To be more safe, talk to your doctor first to check if the ingredients are safe for pregnant women.
  • Don’t switch to a new prescription. Unless the changes are very pronounced, wait until after delivery when your vision will go back to normal.

Luckily, many of these changes are temporary and will reverse themselves several months after delivery.

Signs Your Child Needs Glasses

When your child is of a very young age, it can be difficult to tell if they are having difficulty with their vision or are simply developing strange habits. It can be especially difficult to tell if your child is having vision difficulty if they have yet to learn how to speak. Because of this, we have gathered some common vision impairment signs.

  1.     Getting too close to objects. This is usually a more common concern for parents. If your child is sitting too close to the T.V. or holding objects close up to their face in order to see, they could be near sighted.
  2.     Are constantly squinting or closing an eye. These are other common signs of vision impairment. If your child is doing this, it can be because they are trying to reduce blurred vision or they are trying to cover the poorer vision. These are signs of amblyopia, strabismus or cataract.
  3.     Tilt their head to see. When children constantly tilt their heads when looking at object, it could be to help reduce double vision. If this is the case, they could have an eye muscle imbalance, also known as strabismus.
  4.     Are constantly rubbing eyes. This can be a sign of tiredness or eye fatigue. If this is constantly occurring, it could be a sign of allergic conjunctivitis.
  5.     Teary eyes. This is common for children whose eyelids don’t completely close when they’re asleep. This can cause dry eyes and vision impairment.

If any of these signs are common or visible in your child, schedule an eye exam to help correct their vision and help them see more clearly!


Different Types of Lenses

When you first go to purchase glasses, chances are you don’t really think about the multiple varieties of lenses that are out there nor their technical terms. There are many technical terms for glasses that correct different eye conditions, as well as the ones used for different situations.

Single Vision Lenses:

These are the most common lenses used. They are used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

Bifocal and Trifocal:

These lenses have multiple focal points for close-up and far away vision. Lenses like these usually have a line splitting the focal points.

Progressive Lenses:

Just like the bifocal and trifocal lenses, progressive lenses have multiple focal points (intermediate, close and far away points). Unlike bifocals, however, these do not have outlines that determine the focal points, which makes the transition more natural.

Anti-Reflective (AR):

These lenses are designed to cancel out the reflection off the lens surface. This helps to eliminate eye strain when looking at screens and help with night vision.

Scratch Resistant:

These lenses are exactly that, scratch resistant. This helps decrease the amounts of scratches that may affect the eyes.


These lenses can be made thinner and flatter than regular lenses in order to use a larger portion of the surface because they have various curvatures.

High-Index Plastic:

These types of lenses are usually made for those who need strong prescription. However, these are lighter and thinner than the old school lenses, which were very thick.


These are special lenses for those who work in industries that require eye protection. They are lightweight, thin and impact-resistant.


For those who play sports, these are the lenses you should be using. Just like the trivex lenses, these are also impact-resistant and can also be used to protect eyes in tough work.


These lenses are known as the transition lenses that transition from clear to dark. They can be made as either glass or plastic. They help reduce eyestrains while transitioning from indoor lighting to outside light.

Need help deciding which lenses would be best for you? Contact Independent Eye Care for help on choosing new glasses.


What Your Prescription Means

If you are one of the estimated 11 million Americans that has a common vision problem such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, then you probably have a prescription for corrective eyewear such as glasses or contact lenses. Do you understand what your script is for and what it means about your vision?

The common eye disorders mentioned above are known as refractive errors and they occur when the eye doesn’t correctly bend, or refract, light as it enters the eye. Let’s take a look at each of these and what it means about your prescription.

The first step to understanding your eyeglass prescription is knowing what “OD” and OS” mean. They are abbreviations for oculus dexter and oculus sinister, which are Latin terms for right eye and left eye. Your eyeglass prescription also may have a column labeled “OU.” This is the abbreviation for the Latin term oculus uterque, which means “both eyes.”

  • Nearsightedness or myopia is when light enters the cornea and is refracted, or “sent” to a spot in the eye before reaching the retina. For people who are nearsighted, the light waves are sent to the wrong place on the retina. Nearsighted is a condition where objects up close appear clearly, while objects far away appear blurry. The extent or amount that a patient is will be denoted in the number on the prescription. If the number appearing under the heading sphere has a minus sign (–), you are nearsighted.
  • Farsightedness or hyperopia means that the light is refracted to a place beyond the retina. Farsightedness means that items far away are clear, but activities like reading and knitting are difficult, because nearby objects appear fuzzy or unfocused. Some people may not notice any problems with their vision, especially when they are young. If the number appearing under the heading sphere on your prescription has a plus sign, you are farsighted.
  • Astigmatism is another refractive error, distorting objects both near and far, so that everything appears out of focus and skewed.

Call Independent Eye Care to have your annual exam and find out more about your prescription.

Choices for Contact Lenses

Italian Architect, Mathematician and Inventor Leonardo daVinci (1452-1519) produced the first known sketches that suggested the optics of the human eye could be altered by placing the cornea directly in contact with water. More than 350 years later those ideas were researched and studied to examine how the production of corrective lenses could conform to the front surface of the eye. In 2016, contact lenses are a common choice for people who would like clear vision without the bother of glasses to tote around all day. Since the inception of contact lenses to the vision field, they have come a long way. Let’s examine the types of contact lenses available and what might be right for you.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology there are two general types of contact lenses: hard and soft.

  • Hard Lenses – The hard lenses most commonly used today are rigid, gas-permeable lenses (RGP for short). They are made of plastics and other materials such as silicone or fluoropolymers. Hard lenses hold their shape, yet allow the free flow of oxygen through the lenses to the cornea. RGP lenses may be the best choice when the cornea has enough astigmatism (is shaped like an egg instead of an orange); a soft lens will not provide sharp vision. They may also be preferable when a person has allergies or tends to form protein deposits on his or her contacts.
  • Soft Lenses – Soft lenses are the choice of most contact lens wearers. These lenses are comfortable and come in many versions.

In addition there are sub-types of contact lenses that can be chosen based upon your lifestyle of preference for care. For example there are daily wear lenses, which are removed nightly and are replaced on an individualized schedule, and then there are extended wear lenses, which are worn overnight but are removed at least weekly for thorough cleaning and disinfection. Disposable-wear lenses are more expensive, but convenient. They are removed nightly and replaced on a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. Talk to your eye doctor about the style that would be right for your life.


Pediatric Vision

Parents are always worrying. Are our children eating healthy foods?  Are they getting enough sleep?  Are they getting a cold? One worry that parents commonly have as their children enter school is about vision. Many times parents begin to wonder if their child is squinting and having a hard time seeing the words in books or sentences on the board right around the time when their child enters preschool or elementary school. According to the Annals of Family Medicine, 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems.

Due to this statistic, the American Optometric Association (AOA) suggests that infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should have additional eye exams at age 3, and just before they enter the first grade — at about age 5 or 6. For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required.

Pediatric Vision exams are pretty painless and can help start children off right in school. If a child can not see the board or words in a book, they could potentially have delays in reading and language development. The following items will be checked in a pediatric exam: near vision, distance vision, binocular (two eyes) coordination, eye movement skills, focusing skills, peripheral awareness, and hand-eye coordination. Visual acuity should be tested as soon as the child is old enough to cooperate with an eye exam using an eye chart. Photoscreening is another way to check visual acuity that does not require a young child to cooperate with the test. Either approach to testing will determine whether the child can focus normally at far, middle and near distances.

As parents, you may want to prepare your child, depending upon the age for the exam. For very young children, you may want to play “eye exam” to help them get used to the idea that someone is going to be looking at their eyes. For older children, explain that these tests are not going to hurt but will help the doctor find out more about their eyes and how well they see. Show your child a picture of the machines that may be used by “googling” eye exam. These machines can look like something from out-of-this-world so, it is good to prepare the child in advance. Another method that works is by bringing your child to your eye exams in advance to show them what the experience is like.

Vision and Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be an amazing experience full of new feelings and the excitement of the arrival of a beautiful baby.  Unfortunately, pregnancy can also throw more than its fair share of curve-balls.  Swollen feet and ankles, back pain, mood swings and, of course, the dreaded “morning sickness” are just the start of the potential side effects of pregnancy. Many pregnant women are surprised when their vision changes. The fact is that hormonal and physical changes that accompany pregnancy can affect eyesight. Let’s examine the vision issues that can accompany pregnancy.

  • Blurry Vision – Water retention (common during pregnancy) may cause the thickness and curvature of the cornea of your eye to increase slightly. It’s a small change, but it could affect how well your glasses or contacts correct your vision. It’s also why laser eye surgery isn’t recommended during pregnancy and why it’s not a good time to be fitted for new contact lenses.
  • Dry Eyes – During pregnancy, some women may notice that their eyes are drier than usual. Dry eyes can make wearing contacts irritating and uncomfortable. Using artificial tears to lubricate eyes may ease dryness.
  • Vision Changes due to Preeclampsia – High blood pressure occurs in 5-8% of pregnancies. Vision changes due to this condition can include: a temporary loss of vision, light sensitivity, blurry vision, auras, and the appearance of flashing lights. Preeclampsia can be a serious condition.  If these symptoms are noticed, contact a doctor or head to an emergency room immediately.
  • Gestational Diabetes and Vision – Pregnancy can also bring about changes in existing eye conditions – for better or for worse. If you have diabetes, see an ophthalmologist before you get pregnant and again in early pregnancy to get screened for damage to the blood vessels in your retina. This condition, called diabetic retinopathy, often worsens during pregnancy, so you’ll need more frequent eye exams while you’re pregnant and in the postpartum period. (Source- The Baby  Center)

What are Ocular Migraines?

Headaches come in all sorts of horrible varieties:  tension, stress, sinus, cluster or plain old migraines to name just a few.  But have you heard or experienced an Ocular Migraine?  These are unique types of headaches that can be both alarming as well as disabling.  Let’s look at this rare type of headache and see how it may  impact vision and daily activity.

What exactly is an Ocular Migraine?

About 1 in 200 people (who regularly experience migraines) will experience these rare migraines.  Ocular Migraines cause vision loss or  temporary blindness in one or both eyes usually following a migraine headache.  Experts sometimes call these episodes “retinal,” “ophthalmic,” or “monocular” (meaning one eye) migraines.

Symptoms of an Ocular Migraine:

Many people report seeing flashing lights, dimness of vision, blind spots in the field of sight, or sometimes blindness. In addition, these symptoms are usually accompanied by a migraine headache that lasts about a day or so.  The migraine may impact only one side the head, pulsate or be worse with activity and light.  To add insult to injury, nausea and vomiting may accompany this type of headache.

Causes and Treatment –

Headache specialist are unsure why some people experience these types of migraines while others do not.  It may be related to spasms in the blood vessels in the back of the eye or nerve cells in the retina. It is important to seek immediate advice/treatment from your eye doctor to rule out any other condition that may be causing this eye event.  As far as treatments go, your doctor will probably prescribe medication to ease the pain as well as prevent future occurrences such as drugs used to treat epilepsy or depression.  Please discuss any symptoms involving your migraines with your health care professional and your personal eye doctor.