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Why vision therapy comes before tutoring or a learning center

Teacher eyeglasses 1280 x 853Our parental instinct naturally wants to find the fastest solution & often the first options for a child who struggles in the classroom are either a tutor or a learning center. However, some learning problems are vision-related, which is a problem in development and not necessarily due to learning capability.

When patients come to us for a vision therapy evaluation, we strive to educate parents how to recognize that when their child has a tantrum, gets easily frustrated, and can’t continue with homework, the child can show he or she is very bright and intelligent in other areas. Therefore, the issue of learning to read might not have anything to do with the child’s intelligence but a visual one.

Vision is such a basic tool that many parents may have already enrolled their child in other programs because they never questioned the child’s ability to see. When learning programs can’t solve the child’s struggles, parents discover vision therapy as an alternative, either from a referral or after online research.

Why aren’t parents brought to vision therapy from the beginning?

There are various reasons why vision therapy may not have been recommended to you initially or perhaps have never heard about it until now.

  1. Vision therapy is a unique program that only some optometrists specialize in and offer at their clinics.
  2. In vision screenings at school, vision is only tested for seeing at a distance. A child with a problem with another visual skill can go undiagnosed.
  3. Since there are children with learning problems, some with vision problems, diagnosing the exact issue becomes more difficult as the child may be juggling more than one condition.
  4. The child does not have regular eye exams with an optometrist or local eye doctor.

Fortunately, vision therapy is growing in popularity because of the effectiveness and immediate benefits in children with problems. Previousl children would continue their years at school without ever treating their vision problem. Even today, some adult patients come to us for therapy & discover they had a lingering vision problem holding them back the entire time.

Is there a time that’s too early to treat a vision problem?

When a child is starting to read & pronounce the words in 1st or 2nd grade, if they have a vision problem, their learning will be slower than other children & unfortunately, the issue generally won’t go away on its own. In scenarios like this, a child with a vision problem who reaches 3rd, 4th, or even 5th grade without treating their vision, will end up falling behind the class at a more noticeable rate. A child may lose confidence or face peer pressure unless their situation is handled with care. However, if the vision problem is addressed early, the child can enjoy their early school years with fully developed visual skills and not have to face these challenges at an older age.

Signs of a child with a vision problem may be able to pronounce words & run through sentences, but they will lack comprehension. Children may end up learning to read but never reading to learn. For a person who grew up with normal vision, it’s difficult to comprehend how someone can read through a page & not remember what they read.

Why Vision Therapy Should Be Your 1st Priority

Fortunately, vision therapy is well researched & supported with multitudes of success stories over the years. Plus, a developmental optometrist who specializes in vision therapy has ways to accurately test your child’s various visual skills & identify whether vision therapy is needed. There’s no guesswork involved. This means that your child will achieve normal, functional vision at the end of therapy, and in many cases, they become amazing readers, sports players, and happy to learn.

Coronavirus Update

To Our Valued Patients:

To protect the health and welfare of our patients and staff, our office will be closed for patient care as of today, March 21, 2020.

We will have a staff member in the office on March 23rd from 9-1 pm to do parking lot delivery of any outstanding glasses or contact lenses. We can also mail them to you through the USPS at no charge. Feel free to leave a message at 786-242-7755 or email receptionists@exceptionalvision.com to make a request to have your contacts and/or eyeglasses mailed.

We have rescheduled existing patients and will adjust as the situation evolves.

Our lines of communication will remain open, and our doctors will be reachable.
The best way to communicate with us for non-urgent issues (eg. delivery of glasses and/or ordering contact lenses) is by email:receptionist@exceptionalvision.com or leave a message at (786) 242-7755.

Regulations regarding tele-health have been adjusted, and we intend to triage any ocular emergencies using that technology first, to limit exposure of doctors, staff and patients whenever possible.

If you are experiencing a medical eye emergency, then you may request a tele-health consultation at doxy.me/exceptionalvision. If you do not get a response within 5 minutes, then alternately please call or text (786) 255-1650.

We never take for granted the trust you’ve shown in our care, and we will keep you updated as much as possible.

Stay healthy
The Exceptional Vision Team

November 10 is World Keratoconus Day

World Keratoconus Day FB Post
November 10 will be the fourth annual World Keratoconus Day. Keratoconus is an eye disease in which the eye bulges and its shape becomes less spherical, leading to potentially significant loss of vision. Symptoms can also include sensitivity to light and red, puffy eyes.

Sometimes, a cornea transplant is required in order to treat the eyes. Often, however, patients will make use of specialty lenses (such as scleral lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses, and hybrid lenses) or cross-linking (a minor procedure involving eye drops and ultraviolet light) to obtain the clearer vision. Regular contact lenses are often too ineffective and uncomfortable for patients with keratoconus to use.

Modern research is showing that keratoconus may be far more common than we had believed. It affects those of all ethnic groups and genders, usually manifesting itself in early adulthood. People from communities worldwide experience life with keratoconus, and Palmetto Bay is no different.

At Exceptional Vision, we offer treatment to keratoconus patients from the greater community. Being very familiar with the challenges of life with keratoconus, we join together with friends around the globe in celebrating Keratoconus Day. This annual event is a great opportunity to raise awareness of keratoconus and the treatments available to those who have it.

If you or a loved one would like to be examined for keratoconus and other eye conditions or to discuss treatment options, call us or schedule an appointment. Click here to learn more about keratoconus and the treatments we offer for it.

Blinking and Dry Eye: The Clear Connection

Dry Eye Syndrome Affects Your Blinking

Ever notice that when you blink your eyes, your vision goes out of focus?

Blurry vision does not necessarily mean that you need new glasses. In fact, a very common cause of blurry vision is called dry eye syndrome. Often confused with eye allergies, when your eyes fail to produce tears with the right balance of oils, here eyes can become irritated, red, and even itchy. Over time, this can, in a severe case of dry eye, even affect your vision and make things blurry.

Nearly every week, Exceptional Vision sees patients who complain about the following:

  • Driving at night is difficult
  • Very light-sensitive
  • Glare from bright lights can be painful
  • Eyes are constantly red
  • Watery eyes are teary eyes
  • Continuous eye rubbing

While not everybody suffers from dry eye syndrome, there are certainly a number of shared symptoms that can indicate dry eye. One of the telltale signs, however, is when you blink and your vision goes to the focus. Because your vision is dependent on the quality of your tears, any imbalance will tend to disrupt the way your eyes can focus and receive light.

Dry Eye Specialist – Eye Doctor in Palmetto Bay

If you have noticed any of the following symptoms such as blurry vision or red eyes, schedule an appointment at Exceptional Vision for a complete eye exam and dry eye evaluation.

Specialty Contact Lens Guide

I love soft disposable contact lenses. I have been wearing them with success for over 25 years. Even more so, I love prescribing soft disposable contact lenses.

Of the estimated 130 million world-wide contact lens wearers, approximately 92% utilize the soft disposable modality.

The advancement of soft lens material technology, market availability and ease of use make soft disposable contact lenses the ideal choice for the vast majority of patients. There are, however, patients whose anatomical or refractive/vision status will not allow for soft disposable contact lenses as an option. Fortunately, there are excellent alternative contact lens modalities:

Custom Soft Lenses

There are patients in which prescription limitations will not allow the use of mass-produced disposable contact lenses. Numerous ophthalmic laboratories exist that can manufacture soft contact lenses, custom created for the patients eye. The modern materials these laboratories utilize are designed to be durable (allowing for less frequent replacement) without sacrificing oxygen permeability for corneal health. Virtually any combination of nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism can be corrected for. Custom soft lenses can also be created as a prosthesis; a specially tinted lens that, once applied, conceals scarring of the cornea and iris from trauma or ophthalmic disease.

Rigid Gas Permeable:

There are patients whose anatomical circumstance will not allow for soft lens material to correct vision properly. If the cornea (the ocular surface ‘window’ that contact lenses are applied to) contour is not smooth, either by underlying medical condition (keratoconus, keratoglobus, Terrien’s marginal degeneration), injury/trauma, or as a result of refractive surgery (RK, PRK, LASIK), vision blur is more distortional. This distortional blur may not be corrected by either glasses or soft contact lenses. A rigid lens surface applied to an irregularly shaped cornea can ‘trick’ light entering the eye to be free of distortion. Rigid lens material technology advancements have made the lenses both safer to use and easier to tolerate.

Scleral Design Rigid Contact lens:

This modality of contact lens design represents both contact lens heritage (the very first contact lenses hundreds of years ago) and the latest technological innovations. The sclera is the white shell of the eye. Most soft lens designs overlap to the sclera by a small degree, but rigid gas permeable lenses do not. High degrees of corneal irregularity will not support the physical presence of a rigid gas permeable contact lens. A rigid scleral lens is designed to ‘vault’ the cornea completely- only the white sclera has contact with the lens. Vaulting the cornea allows for distortion-free vision and saves the fragile irregular cornea from the frictional/mechanical stress of the lens presence.

The recent innovations of scleral lenses revolve around their design: digital imaging via corneal topography and optical coherence tomography allows for customization of the inner lens curve to maximize performance. The scleral rigid lens design also represents the highest form of contact lens customization. Investment in the imaging instrumentation above and a commitment to in-office fitting/design time by both the doctor and the patient make this lens modality unique to a select few practices. In my time designing scleral rigid contact lenses for patients, I have seen the incredible difference it can make for patients with advanced corneal irregularity.

Contact lenses represent a significant share of the vision correction market. Technological advancements have broadened the available vision correction types and ocular conditions in which contact lenses are successfully prescribed.

Contact us for your next contact lens fit consultation: 786-242-7755

Five Cool Things That Specialty Contact Lenses Can Do (and one more for the near future)

I love my contact lenses; the freedom to see clearly without having a frame on my face allows for easier use of some of our exam room instrumentation. While most would easily recognize the primary purpose for contact lenses is vision correction, there are medical and therapeutic applications that specialty contact lenses can provide. Here are 5 examples of such applications (and one very exciting example for the near future).

Block harmful Ultra-Violet rays:

The non-visible, ultraviolet spectrum of sunlight can cause the acceleration of degenerative eye diseases such as cataracts, pterygium and macular degeneration. Many commercially available disposable contact lenses have an ultraviolet filter. One particular popularly prescribed lens blocks 100% UV-B and 96% UV-A. I like to prescribe this lens, when fitting dynamics dictate, to individuals who spend much of their day outdoors as an extra safeguard against the onset of eye disease.

Treat Dry Eye Syndrome:

Most conventional soft disposable contact lenses cause dry eye symptoms to be worse. There is one specialty contact lens, the scleral lens, that can ease the symptoms associated with dry eye. Scleral lenses are a rigid/hard lens that ride only on the white of the eye (the sclera). The majority of the contact lens covers (or ‘vaults’) the cornea without touching. The ‘interface’ or gap in between the cornea and the eye is filled with a sterile saline. This vaulted lens filled with saline ‘bathes’ the cornea in fluid all day while it is worn. It has been especially useful option for those suffering from auto-immune disorders (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogrens Syndrome, Lupus, etc) where Dry Eye Syndrome can be a debilitating circumstance.

Act as a Prosthesis:

Scarring of the cornea, whether it be from trauma, surgery or degenerative disease, can be cosmetically unsightly. Contact lenses can be designed to mask the appearance of these scars. More than a conventional color changing lens, these specialty lenses are artfully crafted to replicate the patient’s own eye color. Not only do these contact lenses improve the patient’s appearance, they can also improve vision comfort for those who have suffered damage to the iris (colored portion inside the eye). The iris serves as the aperture in which light enters the eye. A missing or malfunctioning iris would usually cause extreme light-sensitivity. The cosmetically designed iris can ‘block’ the additional light from entering the eye, creating a new functional aperture.

Act as a Bandage:

Traumatic injury to the cornea can be a very painful and sight-threatening situation. The ability to ‘re-grow’ corneal tissue is key to successful healing. There are times, under certain circumstances, that Doctors can utilize specialty contact lenses to act as a bandage over lesions to promote healing. While this is a very effective method to promote the re-growth of injured corneal tissue, it is always performed with a particular type of specialty lens under strict clinical supervision.

Change the shape of the cornea to eliminate myopia:

Orthokeratology is a non-surgical procedure using specially designed contact lenses to gently reshape the curvature of the eye to improve vision. A specialized rigid lens is designed to be applied to the eye before bedtime and worn through the night. While sleeping, the contact lens very gently re-shapes the cornea precisely to the curve that will allow for clear vision. Upon removal of the lens in the morning, vision is functionally clear throughout the day, without glasses or conventional contact lenses.

Orthokeratology, or Ortho-k for short, is a safe, temporary change of the corneal curve. So temporary in fact, that ceasing to wear the specialty lens overnight for just a few days will result in returning to your normal ‘organic’ amount of myopia. Ortho-k is an excellent option for individuals seeking a non-surgical method to eliminate the need for vision correction throughout the day or for children/teens looking for an alternative to glasses or contact lenses that are not yet qualified for surgery.

And a specialty contact lens for the near future…

Contact lenses to deliver medicine and monitor health:

Currently in pharmaceutical research and development exist specialty contact lenses designed to either deliver eye medication or monitor track vital eye and even bodily health information. Contact lenses saturated with glaucoma medication will, in the future, potentially allow for better administration and control of the treatment to the eye. Lenses may also be embedded with a sensor to monitor eye pressure and download readings throughout the day to various digital devices. There is research going into the ability to gauge/measure bodily blood sugar levels in the tear film. This would enable a contact lens with a sensor to constantly monitor and digitally deliver blood sugar information.

The world of specialty contact lenses is diverse. I have seen specialty contact lenses positively impact many of my patient’s lives. Not only are contact lenses a fun and convenient way to correct common vision prescriptions, specialty contact lenses represent the vanguard of medical and therapeutic technologies of the modern Optometrist.

The Right (and the Wrong) Way to Clean Your Glasses

There is nothing worse than a dirty spot on your glasses – well except perhaps many dirty spots or smudges. When that happens, most of us are tempted to grab the corner of our shirt and wipe it off, but resist the temptation – this is actually not a good idea.

 

There is a right way and a wrong way to clean your glasses. Cleaning your glasses properly will not only remove irritating dirt and smudges, but will also prevent your lenses from getting scratched allowing you to see your best.

 

You want to make sure that the materials you use to clean your lenses are clean and soft. The reason your shirt corner is not the best option is because it likely contains dust or particles that can scratch your lens. However, you don’t need fancy, lens cleaners either. In truth the best cleaner for your glasses may be more simple than you expect –

 

Gentle Dish Soap

That’s right, a gentle dish soap, warm water and a clean, dry soft cotton towel are the best tools you can have for cleaning your lenses.

 

Simply rinse your glasses in warm water and apply a small drop of soap (make sure to use a brand of soap that is lotion and moisturizer free). Rub the soap into the lens with your fingers and rinse thoroughly until all of the soap has been removed. Gently shake the glasses to remove excess water and then dry with a clean, dry, lint-free towel.

 

You may be wondering about the microfiber lens cloths and spray cleaner you get from your optician. These lens cleaning packs are great for when you are on the go and don’t have access to a sink and dish soap. The microfiber cloths are also great for polishing dry lenses after any dust or particles are blown away- just make sure they are cleaned regularly. For a real, thorough clean however, we advise that you use the technique above. 

 

Cleaning Don’ts

Don’t use vinegar, glass or window cleaner, bleach, ammonia or spit/saliva for cleaning your lenses. The chemicals could strip off the coatings on your lenses, and saliva – well, it just doesn’t work. In particular, many lenses these days have anti-glare treatments that are especially prone to damage if not cleaned properly and are particularly vulnerable to window cleaners and alcohol. 

 

Remember once your glasses are scratched, there is little to do to repair them. If you see something on your lens try to blow or brush it away carefully before you use a cloth to clean your lenses. 

 

Keeping Your Lenses Clean

To avoid dirt and smudges, always take your glasses off with two hands using the arms of the frame and avoid touching the lenses. Further, the best way to preserve your glasses and keep them clean is to keep them in a case when they are not in use. It’s worthwhile to get an extra case or two to have on hand in the car or in your purse for times that you need to take your glasses off. If you notice swirled or circular scratches on your lenses, those are almost always from improper cleaning so make sure to take the time to clean them properly the next time.

 

 

Welcome to our New Website

We invite you to take a look around our new site to get to know our practice and learn about eye and vision health. You will find a wealth of information about our optometrists, our staff and our services, as well as facts and advice about how to take care of your eyes and protect your vision.

Learn about our Practice specialties including comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings and the treatment of eye diseases. Our website also offers you a convenient way to find our hours, address and map, schedule an appointment online, order contact lenses or contact us to ask us any questions you have about eye care and our Practice.

Have a look around our online office and schedule a visit to meet us in person. We are here to partner with you and your family for a lifetime of healthy eyes and vision. We look forward to seeing you!

Pink, Stinging Eyes?

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is one of the most frequently seen eye diseases, especially in kids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergies to pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics, or other irritants, which touch the eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis might be quite transmittable and quickly spread in school and at the office.

Conjunctivitis is seen when the conjunctiva, or thin transparent layer of tissue covering the white part of the eye, becomes inflamed. You can identify conjunctivitis if you notice eye redness, discharge, itching or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes early in the day. Pink eye infections can be divided into three main types: viral, allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis.

The viral type is usually a result of a similar virus to that which produces the recognizable red, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. The red, itchy, watery eyes caused by viral pink eye are likely to last from a week to two and then will clear up on their own. You may however, be able to reduce some of the discomfort by using soothing drops or compresses. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it is completely cleared up, so in the meantime maintain excellent hygiene, remove eye discharge and try to avoid using communal pillowcases or towels. If your son or daughter has viral conjunctivitis, he or she will have to be kept home from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.

A bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should notice an improvement within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but be sure to adhere to the full prescription dosage to prevent pink eye from recurring.

Allergic pink eye is not contagious. It is usually a result of a known allergy such as hay fever or pet allergies that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, to treat allergic pink eye, you should eliminate the irritant. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to relieve discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, your eye doctor might prescribe a medication such as an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. In cases of chronic allergic pink eye, topical steroid eye drops could be used.

Pink eye should always be diagnosed by a qualified eye doctor in order to identify the type and best course of treatment. Never treat yourself! Keep in mind the sooner you begin treatment, the lower chance you have of giving pink eye to loved ones or prolonging your discomfort.

 

It’s Time to Talk About Blue Light

Teen Boy Blue Glasses

Workplace Eye Safety Month

Blue light. Do you know what it is? Do you know where it comes from, or how it can be harmful to your eyes? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you are not alone, yet it is important that you become aware to protect your eyes for now and the years to come.

The reason blue light is suddenly becoming a big issue is because other than the sun, which is the biggest source of blue light, a significant source of blue light emission comes from digital devices and artificial lighting. As our world becomes increasingly digital – think: HD televisions, LED lights, computers, smartphones, tablets – we are all exposing our eyes to more and more amounts of blue light than ever before. And we are only beginning to understand the long term effects this has on our bodies and our eyes. 

One of the biggest issues with blue light is that whether it is through work or leisure, people are exposed to screens at a close range for a large portion of the day. A survey from the Vision Council entitled, “Blue Light Exposure and Digital Eye Strain” recently showed that 87% of respondents used digital devices for more than two hours a day and over 52% regularly used two digital devices as the same time. This shift has drastically increased exposure and the number of symptoms that are reported. To date, research has shown that there are a number of ways blue light can impact your eyes including digital eye strain, sleep disturbances and retina damage that can lead to long term problems including serious eye diseases.

Digital eye strain is a condition that is characterized by dry, sore, tired or burning eyes, eye fatigue and sensitivity to light. It can also cause blurred or double vision, headaches, back, neck and shoulder aches and difficulty focusing or concentrating. These symptoms are most common in individuals that sit in front of the computer for two or more hours a day. 

Studies show that exposure to blue light right before bedtime can cause disruptions in sleep and wakefulness because it causes a shift in the levels of melatonin, a hormone which affects your circadian rhythm and therefore your sleep patterns. So if you are using your smartphone to wind down in bed, put it down and dust off an old hardcover book!

Retina damage has been found to be a possible result of long term blue light exposure causing damage to the retinal cells in the eye which are responsible for clear vision. There has been evidence that this type of damage can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts later in life. In certain cases, your doctor might recommend Lutein and Zeaxanthin nutritional supplements to protect the macula from blue light damage. 

Despite these risks, few people are taking action to protect their eyes from blue light. A recent study from Transitions Optical, The 2017 Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits Survey, showed that there is also a significant generational difference in knowledge, habits, and attitude regarding blue light with millennials being more aware and concerned about the health effects it has on their eyes. Millennials are more likely to request prescription eyewear that has blue light protection and to know whether their current pair has that extra coverage. However, even the millennial generation is significantly lacking in awareness and prevention. 

The best way to gain awareness of and protection against blue light is to speak to your eye doctor. There are a number of ways you can protect your eyes which include computer glasses, blue light lens filters, or even blue light filter screen protectors or apps that reverse screen colors for those that don’t use prescription eyewear. Each individual can find the best solution based on lifestyle, work environment and personal comfort. The most important takeaway is that you understand that blue light is an issue, take responsibility for your eye health and speak to your eye doctor about the best blue light solutions for you and your family.