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April 01, 2022

Play Hard...Play Safe

From major league stadiums to small-town courts, America’s favorite pastimes make great memories for many. But for more than 40,000 athletes, those memories are ruined by eye injuries, the vast majority of which were preventable.

In recognition of April's designation as Sports Eye Safety Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Eye M.D.s across the nation urge all athletes to wear appropriate protective eyewear.

"Athletes need to choose protective eyewear because eye injuries can be devastating - not just career ending, but life changing. Eye injuries are one of the leading causes of visual impairment in children," said Dr. [Name], an Eye M.D. practicing in [City]. Children can end up with injuries ranging from abrasions of the cornea and bruises of the lids to internal eye injuries such as retinal detachments and internal bleeding. Unfortunately, some of these athletes end up with permanent vision loss and blindness.


Athletes can now choose from various types of sturdy, lightweight, effective and fashionable eyewear. And when they have polycarbonate lenses and have been properly fitted by an eye care professional, eyewear does not hinder performance and can prevent 90 percent of sports eye injuries.


Basketball, football, hockey and baseball aren't the only sports that contribute to the thousands of eye injuries suffered each year. Soccer, tennis, golf and water sports also are dangerous to the eyes. Each of these sports require a different type of protective eyewear, so see an Eye M.D. or other eye care professional for eyewear appropriate for your sport.


The long-term benefits of playing sports are clear, but sports are the leading cause of eye injuries in children. Most sporting leagues don't require their young athletes to wear eye protection, yet when they do, the occurrence of eye injuries is greatly reduced. So, until mandatory eye protection comes to your child's sporting league, its up to you to lobby for and protect your young athlete.


Some professionals, including NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, have already gotten the message - sports eye protection doesn't hinder performance, it protects eyes and careers.


It’s a fact! If you play sports, you can get hurt. Whatever your game, whatever your age, protect your eyes with appropriate protective eyewear.

March 01, 2022

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month


Eye injuries in the workplace are very common. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment each day. However, safety experts and eye doctors believe the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of these eye injuries.

Common eye injuries occurring at work can result from chemicals or foreign objects in the eye and cuts or scrapes on the cornea. Other causes of injuries include splashes with grease and oil, burns from steam, ultraviolet or infrared radiation exposure, and flying wood or metal chips.

In addition, health care workers, laboratory and janitorial staff, and other workers may be at risk of acquiring infectious diseases from eye exposure. Some infectious diseases can be transmitted through the mucous membranes of the eye as a result of direct exposure to blood splashes, respiratory droplets generated during coughing, or from touching the eyes with contaminated fingers or other objects.

Two major reasons workers experience eye injuries on the job are because they were:

  1. Not wearing eye protection, or

  2. Wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job.


A Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey of workers who suffered eye injuries revealed that nearly three out of five were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident. These workers most often reported that they believed protection was not required for the situation.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the use of eye and face protection whenever there is a reasonable probability of injury that could be prevented by such equipment. Personal protective eyewear, such as goggles, face shields, safety glasses, or full face respirators must be used when an eye hazard exists. The eye protection chosen for specific work situations depends upon the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure, other protective equipment used, and individual vision needs.

Potential eye hazards against which protection is needed in the workplace are:

  • Projectiles (dust, concrete, metal, wood and other particles)

  • Chemicals (splashes and fumes)

  • Radiation (especially visible light, ultraviolet radiation, heat or infrared radiation, and lasers)

  • Bloodborne pathogens (hepatitis or HIV) from blood and body fluids


The best methods of eye protection differ for each type of hazard. The protector must be matched to the potential hazard. High risk occupations for eye injuries include:

auto repair

electrical work


The type of safety eye protection you should wear depends on the hazards in your workplace:

  • If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects, or dust, you must at least wear safety glasses with side protection (side shields)

  • If you are working with chemicals, you must wear goggles

  • If you are working near hazardous radiation (welding, lasers, or fiber optics) you must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or helmets designed for that task


In addition, employers need to take steps to make the work environment as safe as possible. This includes:

  • Conducting an eye hazard assessment of the workplace

  • Removing or reducing eye hazards where possible

  • Providing appropriate safety eyewear and requiring employees to wear it


Your optometrist can assist your employer and you in evaluating potential eye hazards in your workplace and determining what type of eye protection may be needed.


There are four things you can do to protect your eyes from injury:

  1. Know the eye safety dangers at your work.

  2. Eliminate hazards before starting work by using machine guards, work screens or other engineering controls.

  3. Use proper eye protection.

  4. Keep your safety eyewear in good condition and have it replaced if it becomes damaged.


Selection of protective eyewear appropriate for a given task should be made based on a hazard assessment of each activity.


Types of eye protection include:

1. Non-prescription and prescription safety glasses — Although safety glasses may look like normal dress eyewear, they are designed to provide significantly more eye protection. They have lenses and frames that are much stronger than regular eyeglasses. Safety glasses must meet standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Look for the Z87 mark on the lens or frame.

Safety glasses provide eye protection for general working conditions where there may be dust, chips or flying particles. Additional side protection can be provided by the use of side shields and wraparound-style safety glasses.

Safety lenses are available in glass, plastic, polycarbonate and Trivex™ materials. While all four types must meet or exceed the minimum requirements for protecting your eyes, polycarbonate lenses provide the highest level of protection from impact.

2. Goggles — Goggles provide impact, dust and chemical splash protection. Like safety glasses, safety goggles are highly impact resistant. In addition, they provide a secure shield around the entire eye and protect against hazards coming from any direction.

Goggles can be worn over prescription glasses and contact lenses to provide protection from flying objects and chemical splashes and in dusty environments.

3. Face shields and helmets — Full face shields are used to protect workers exposed to chemicals, heat, or bloodborne pathogens. Helmets are used for welding or working with molten materials. Face shields and helmets should not be used as the sole means of protective eyewear. They need to be used in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles. Wearing safety glasses or goggles under face shields also provides protection when the shield is lifted.


4. Special protection — Other types of protection, such as helmets or goggles with special filters to protect the eyes from optical radiation exposure, should be used for tasks such as welding or working with lasers.


One way to ensure that safety glasses provide adequate protection is to be sure they fit properly. Also, eye protection devices must be properly maintained. Scratched and dirty devices reduce vision, cause glare and may contribute to accidents.


Protective eyewear works best when you know how to use it properly. Combined with machine guards, screened or divided work stations, and other engineering controls, using the correct protective eyewear can help keep you safe from any type of eye hazard.

Contact lenses can't provide significant protection from eye hazards in the work place. However, there is no evidence that the wearing of contact lenses increases the risk of eye injury. Contact lenses may actually contribute to worker safety and productivity because they often provide improved vision in the workplace. Individuals who wear contact lenses usually obtain a wider field of vision than with eyeglasses and often have less visual distortion, especially with higher power lens prescriptions. In addition, wearing contact lenses instead of eyeglasses can provide a better, more comfortable fit of eye safety equipment, such as goggles and full face respirators.  The American Optometric Association believes that workers should be permitted to wear contact lenses in most eye hazardous environments. However, eye protection must be worn over contact lenses exactly as would be required of all workers performing the same job.

Contact lenses may be worn safely under a variety of environmental situations. In some cases, such as when hazardous chemical fumes are present, a determination of contact lens wear may need to be made on a case by case basis. Check with your employer on their safety policy regarding the wearing of contact lenses. Your optometrist can assist your employer and you in determining whether you can safely wear contact lenses in your workplace.

Seek medical attention as soon as possible following an injury, particularly if you have pain in the eye, blurred vision, loss of vision or loss of field of vision. There are several simple first aid steps that can and should be taken until medical assistance is obtained.


First aid for eye emergencies:
Chemicals in the eye: Immediately flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes. Place the eye under a faucet or shower, use a garden hose, or pour water into the eye from a clean container. (If you are wearing contact lenses, do not wait to remove the lenses. Begin flushing the eye immediately. This may wash the lens out of the eye. ) Do not try to neutralize the chemical with other substances. Do not bandage the eye. Seek immediate medical attention after flushing.


Particles in the eye: Do not rub the eye. Try to let your tears wash the speck out or irrigate the eye with an artificial tear solution. Try lifting the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower eyelid to remove the particle. If the particle does not wash out, keep the eye closed, bandage it lightly and seek medical care.

Blows to the eye: Gently apply a cold compress without putting pressure on the eye. Crushed ice in a plastic bag can be placed gently on the injured eye to reduce pain and swelling. In cases of severe pain or reduced vision, seek immediate medical care.


Cuts and punctures to the eye or eyelid:

Do not wash out the eye. Do not attempt to remove an object that is stuck in the eye. Cover the eye with a rigid shield, like the bottom half of a paper cup. Seek immediate medical care.


December 01, 2017

Blue Light and Your Health

Written by Jesse Walters, ABOM


How does light impact us?
Our internal circadian rhythms keep our internal clock on schedule and is controlled by the daylight we are exposed to. These rhythms regulate hormone levels of serotonin (prevalent during waking hours) and melatonin (which increases during sleep). More and more, we are exposed to different kinds of light during all hours of the day that can throw off our biological rhythm. This causes not only disturbed sleep schedules, but we are also discovering many of the lights we are exposing ourselves to have serious life-long health concerns.

What is blue light?
We are familiar with the dangers of UV rays from the sun. We tell our patients about the importance of sunglasses and the risks of developing cataracts without proper UV protection. Blue light is another type of light emitted by the sun, and is generally a good thing during the daylight hours. Blue light boosts attention and reaction times, and can actually improve mood. However, this type of light can be extremely disruptive in excess. Electronic devices, LCD screens, and energy efficient bulbs all emit blue light. Due to the increased use of these technologies, we are exposed to far more blue light in our day-to-day lives than we ever have been historically.

What are the negative impacts?
When our circadian rhythm is thrown off balance due to over-exposure to blue light, we see many negative affects to our health. The decrease in melatonin production and disturbed sleep schedules has been linked to several types of cancer, as well and heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a gradual shift in sleep schedules have been found to increase blood sugar and decrease the prevalence of the hormone Leptin, which is linked to the availability to feel full after a meal. Recent studies have also indicated that blue light can damage the back of the eye and can result in a much higher risk of age-related macular degeneration.

What is the solution?
We have been told that many anti-reflective coatings block blue light transmissions. The truth is that our own highest-performing anti-reflective coating only blocks 20% of blue light, meaning 80% of blue light still reaches the eye. Fortunately, a new lens was developed that actually absorbs 99% of blue light. These new lenses, called BluTech, have a light brown pigment that filters and absorbs blue light. This is not a coating, but an actual unique material that is similar to our impact-resistant lens material. BluTech lenses are the most technologically advanced lenses available to keep not only your eyes, but also your whole body happy and healthy.

November 01, 2017

Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

The world is a beautiful sight. Don't let diabetic eye disease take it away. Each year, 12,000-24,000 people with diabetes in the U.S. Unnecessarily lose their vision because they don't have early detection of vision changes with timely treatment.

What can you do to help prevent diabetic retinopathy?
Everyone with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes should have a dilated eye examination as least once a year.


Don't wait for symptoms. Diabetic retinopathy often has no early warning signs. Damage to the retina may not cause any immediate changes in vision, especially during the early treatable stages of the disease. That is why it is importance for all individuals with diabetes to have yearly dilated eye exams by an optometrist.

The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely it is that they will develop diabetic retinopathy. Of all Americans who have diagnosed diabetes, 40-45% have some degree of diabetic retinopathy.

What is Diabetic retinopathy?
The effect of diabetes on the retina is called diabetic retinopathy. A healthy retina is required for sharp, clear vision. The retina is the back of the eye. Over time, uncontrolled blood sugar, blood pressure and cholestrol can damage the tiny blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels may swell and become blocked. New, fragile blood vessels may form, which can easily bleed in to the retina, leading to loss of vision. People with diabetes are also at risk for other eye conditions including cataracts and glaucoma. Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens, the part of the eye that focuses light on the retina. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which sends messages from the retina to the brain to tell you what you are seeing.

Everyone with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes should have a dilated eye examination as least once a year. Timely treatment and appropriate follow-up care can reduce the risk of blindness by 95%!

For more information, visit the National Eye Institute website at to find the latest information.

October 01, 2017

Halloween Safety Month

If your children enjoy dressing up and wandering the streets for candy on Halloween, make sure they do it safely. Many eye injuries are reported every year as a result of Halloween activities. In addition, it’s easy for kids to be less visible to drivers during evening hours. Follow these tips to keep your kids, and their little peepers, safe.

Avoid costumes that block vision

Masks, wigs and eye patches are fun Halloween accessories, but make sure they don’t block visibility. Some masks are very dangerous for children because they block their side vision. A better, safer option is to decorate your child’s face with face paint or make-up. No one should drive while wearing a mask.

Use make-up safely.

If you decide to disguise your child with make-up instead of a mask, use hypo-allergenic options and keep it away from the eyes. It’s a good idea to carry a wet towel or washcloth in case the make-up begins to run while trick-or-treating. Running around in a costume makes some kids perspire, so a quick clean-up around the eye area may be necessary before the night is over.

Don’t allow sharp objects to be used as props.

Some costumes don’t seem complete without swords or wands. Still, do not allow your child to carry sharp objects. Sharp, pointed props endanger your child eyes as well as the eyes of other children. Daylight trick or treating is safer than going out after dark. Halloween parties are safer than trick-or-treating at any time.

Follow guidelines for wearing decorative contact lenses.

Older kids often complete their Halloween costumes with a spooky cosmetic contact lenses. Remember that contact lenses are medical devices and require a valid prescription. Be on the safe side and have your eye doctor fit them on your child. If not used safely contact lenses can lead to vision loss.

If this is something you and/or your child are interested in, please contact Eyecare Professionals at 406-222-0250 to schedule your contact lens appointment with Drs. Hess or Barney, O.D. The contacts are special order so please make the appointment by 10/14/2010.

Carry a flashlight.

Give a child a small flashlight to illuminate dark paths and walkways. If it is a dark night, your child will not be able to see holes in yards or missing porch steps. A flashlight will also make your child more visible to drivers. Obey all traffic signals, both as a pedestrian and a driver. Younger children should be accompanied by an adult while traveling about the neighborhood. Older children should trick-or-treat in groups. Be sure the path and stairs to your front door are well illuminated and clear of obstacles.

Make sure costumes are reflective.

If the costume your child chooses is not made of reflective material, sew on reflective fabric strips or use stick-on strips of reflective tape. You want your child to be seen, especially crossing streets in the dark. Place reflective material on the front, back and sides or your child’s costume. Use common sense. Never dart out from between parked cars or hidden corners such as alleys. Avoid streets under construction. Don’t trick-or-treat in busy commercial areas or where there is heavy traffic.

September 01, 2017

Home Eye Safety Month

Most people do not think about wearing eye protection while cleaning, cooking, doing yard work or working in the garage. However, half of all eye injuries occur when doing these everyday chores. Although 90% of all eye injuries are preventable by wearing the proper eye protection, it is reported 78% of those injured were not wearing any protective eyewear.

Ninety percent of these eye injures can be prevented through understanding, safety practices and the use of proper eye protection.

You can reduce the risks of eye injuries for yourself and other family members by using this simple checklist for different areas of your home:

Indoor Safety
• Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
• Provide lights and handrails to improve safety on stairs.
• Pad or cushion sharp corners and edges of furnishing and home fixtures.
• Install cabinet and drawer locks in kitchens and bathrooms.
• Store personal-use items (cosmetics, toiletry products), kitchen utensils, and desk supplies where they are out of reach for children.

Outdoor Safety
Almost 40% of home eye injuries are in the yard or garden. Debris from lawn mowers or power trimmers can unexpectedly enter the eye at a high rate of speed.

• When mowing, wearing safety glasses with side protection or goggles. Cehck your yard and remove debris before mowing.
• When using a weed eater, wear safety glasses or goggles under a face shield.
• Wear goggles when working with power saws or trimmers.
• Turn off power tools when near an unprotected bystander.
• Wear goggles to protect your eyes from fertilizers, pesticides and other yard chemicals, including lime dust.
• Read and follow all product instructions and obey warnings on yard chemicals.
• Keep paints, pesticides, fertilizers, and similar products properly stored in a secure area.
• Keep your tools in good condition; damaged tools should be repaired or replaced.
• Wear safety glasses or dust goggles to protect against flying particles, and chemical goggles to guard against exposure to fertilizers and pesticides.

Chemical Safety
Using household chemicals, including bleach or other cleaners, cause 125,000 eye injuries every year.  Eye protection should be worn when using any chemical.  Also, after any project, make sure hands are washed thoroughly before touching the eyes or face.

• Wear chemical safety goggles when using hazardous solvents and detergents.
• Read and follow all manufacturer instructions and warning labels.
• Do not mix cleaning agents.
• Know that regular eyeglasses don't always provide enough protection.

Kids' Safety
• Avoid toys with sharp or rigid points, shafts, spikes, rods, and dangerous edges.
• Keep toys intended for older children away from younger children.
• Avoid flying toys and projectile-firing toys; these pose a danger to all children, particularly those under five years old.
• Be aware of items in playgrounds and play areas that pose potential eye hazards.
• Keep BB guns away from kids.
• Use occupant restraints such as infant and child safety seats, booster seats, safety belts, and shoulder harnesses in cars.

If you, or someone you know, injure an eye, please call Eyecare Professionals at 406-222-0250 and you will be routed to our 24-hour on-call optometrist, either Dr. Marisa Hess O.D. or Dr. Jamie Barney O.D.

July 01, 2017

Firework Safety Month

Though they can be exciting, festive and fun, it is important to remember that fireworks are also dangerous. In 2005, an estimated 10,800 people were treated in U.S. emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries. The U.S. National Fire Protection Association and CDC strongly recommend that fireworks be used only by professionals.  

  • When do these injuries happen? Typically, 60% of injuries from fireworks in the United States occur in the month surrounding the July 4th holiday

  • What types of fireworks cause injuries? Between June 18 and July 18, 2005, firecrackers (26%), sparklers (17%), and rockets (17%) accounted for most of the injuries seen in emergency departments. Sparklers were associated with over half of the estimated injuries among children under 5 years, during the same time period.

  • Who is likely to be injured? During the month around Independence Day (July 4th), children 14 years and younger sustained about 45% of injuries related to fireworks.

  • What kinds of injuries occur? Injuries from fireworks most often affect the hands, eyes, and the head, face, and ear.


Under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, the federal government banned the sale of the largest and most dangerous fireworks to consumers. Some states have banned the general public’s use of fireworks altogether. Between 2000-2005, more than one third of the fireworks-related deaths involved professional devices that were illegally sold to consumers. The safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals.

Sparklers are Safe When Used Correctly
Using sparklers on our nation’s birthday is as traditional as cookouts and parades.  And it is equally safe if a few common sense rules are followed, says Nancy Blogin, President of the National Council on Fireworks Safety. But she notes, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), approximately 16% of all consumer fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers burning hands and legs, with the majority of sparkler injuries occurring to young children. These injuries would not have occurred if there had been close adult supervision and if some basic safety steps had been taken. The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers these safety steps for sparklers, in the hopes that sparkler injuries to young children can be greatly reduced.

  • Children under the age of 12 should not use sparklers without very closeadult supervision.

  • Always remain standing while using sparklers.

  • Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.

  • Never hold, or light, more than one sparkler at a time.

  • Sparklers and bare feet can be a painful combination. Always wear closed-­toe shoes when using sparklers.

  • Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop the spent sparklers directly in a bucket of water.

  • Never hand a lighted sparkler to another person. Give them the unlit sparkler and then light it.

  • Always stand at least 6 feet from another person while using sparklers.

  • Never throw sparklers.

  • Show children how to hold sparklers away from their body and at arm’s length.

  • Teach children not to wave sparklers, especially wooden stick sparklers, or run while holding sparklers.


The National Council on Fireworks Safety urges Americans to be Sparkler Smart this Fourth of July in their holiday celebrations. The National Council on Fireworks Safety is a charitable organization whose sole mission is to educate the public on the safe and responsible use of consumer fireworks.

Should you or someone you know have an eye injury, please call 406.222.0250 to reach our on-call optometrist, Dr. Marisa Hess O.D.

June 01, 2017

June is Vision Research Month - Protect Your Eyes!

The month of June is recognized as Vision Research Month. Be proactive and educate yourself on eye safety and vision loss prevention!

UV Rays & Your Eyes
There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B. Over time, the effects of UV rays can lead to a number of eye problems:

  • Macular Degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans. The initials AMD stand for a disorder called age-related macular degeneration. AMD is a disease that affects part of the back of the eye called the macula, the central part of the retina. This can cause the center part of your vision to become blurry or wavy. It could also cause a blind spot in the center of your vision.

  • Cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, the part of the eye that focuses the light we see.

  • Pterygium is a growth that begins on the white of the eye and may involve the cornea. Eventually, this growth may block vision. Individuals working outdoors are at a greater risk for developing this problem.

  • Skin Cancer can develop around the eyelids.

  • Corneal Sunburn (photokeratitis) can be very painful and may cause temporary vision loss.


Extended periods of time on the beach or skiing without proper eye protection puts you at a greater risk because of the reflection off the water and snow. You can protect your eyes from the sun by wearing proper eye protection and hats that block UV rays. Make certain your sunglasses reduce glare, filter out 99-100% of UV rays, protect your eyes, provide comfort, and do not distort colors.

Computers & Your Eyes
Fortunately, computer screens give off little or no harmful radiation. All levels of radiation from computer screens are below levels that can cause eye damage. However, some individuals might experience eyestrain from prolonged periods in front of the computer.

You can help prevent eyestrain by making your workspace more comfortable.

  • Place your screen 20-26 inches away from your eyes and a little bit below eye level

  • Use a document holder placed next to your computer screen to eliminate having to constantly change your eye focus.

  • Change your lighting to lower glare and harsh reflections or use a glare filter.

  • Get an adjustable chair.

  • Choose screens that can tilt and swivel.

  • Choose an adjustable keyboard.


Proper eye care and complete eye examinations can help protect your eyesight for a lifetime. To learn more about protecting your vision, please contact Eyecare Professionals by stopping by 305 West Park Street, Livingston Montana or calling (406) 222-0250.  Also, be sure to research your health insurance carrier for vision care options that may be available to you.

May 15, 2017

3D Vision

3D viewing is more popular now than at any other time in history. With its promise of an enhanced and more immersive experience, 3D is trying to capture our imagination. We need two eyes for depth perception, why?

The first reason is for backup. There are monocular cues but two eyes are better. Two eyes also give an expanded scope of vision, improved contrast discrimination, and increased area of precise depth perception. The fusing of disparate images from each eye into a single solid image is called stereopsis or binocular vision. While receiving images from two eyes simultaneously, our vision cortex can produce a single image, with a visual perspective originating from a virtual point midway between our eyes. 

Comfortable 3D vision requires our eyes to be able to perform in-tandem binocular actions. Eye synchronization includes eye alignment, eye tracking, eye movement, and eye accommodation/convergence. Research by experts has shown that problems, deficiencies or abnormalities in these vision issues can inhibit successful perception of 3D images and are often linked to reading and comprehension issues in children. With recognition of this connection, the AOA is helping to better educate parents in understanding the need for a professional eye exam and diagnosis during the early stages of a child’s visual development. Some of the recommendations:

• Because of their underdeveloped vision systems, children under age 6 should not be encouraged to view 3D movies;
• Although experiencing some degree of fatigue may be considered normal in extended 3D viewing, children or adults who experience any symptoms of dizziness, discomfort, nausea, headache or lack of perceived depth should seek out a comprehensive eye exam and discuss these issues with the eye doctor;
• And problems in eye-synching are often asymptomatic outside the 3D environment, and parents are advised to not discount symptoms seen in their children because they also experience the same symptoms.

It is estimated that 25% of children are affected by eye tracking and fusion related learning issues. Luckily today we have the awareness, tools, and knowledge of how glasses, contact lenses, and vision therapy can help these kids overcome these hidden vision deficiencies.

May 01, 2017

May is National Allergy/Asthma Awareness Month


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 24, 2010) – For millions of Americans, the arrival of Spring brings with it ocular allergy symptoms such as itching, tearing, and redness. Ocular allergies affect 1 in every 5 individuals and are among the most common reasons that people consult various health care professionals for advice on possible treatment and management. It is estimated that 50 percent of individuals with seasonal and indoor allergies also experience some degree of eye allergies.1,2

While eye allergy symptoms are a year-round problem for many, about 67 percent of allergy sufferers, say that Spring is the time of year when eye allergy symptoms are worst, according to a recent survey conducted by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the leading patient advocacy organization for people with asthma and allergies. For respondents who wear contact lenses, Spring is particularly frustrating as nearly half (45%) say that their eye-related allergy problems often prevent them from wearing their contacts, and one in ten (12%) admits to having to stopped wearing their contacts because of allergies.

The majority of respondents report that they wear their lenses two weeks, one month or longer.  In a recent study presented at the 87th annual meeting of The American Academy of Optometry, researchers reported that only about one-third (36%) of wearers of  contact lenses prescribed for monthly replacement said that they replaced their lenses as prescribed. Over half (55%) replaced them within five weeks, 23 percent at eight weeks or more, and 14 percent at ten weeks or more.3

“As contact lenses age, they accumulate deposits that may impact the ocular surface,” explains Paul Karpecki, O.D., F.A.A.O., Clinical Director, Koffler Vision Group, Lexington, Kentucky. “Factor in the research that shows these patients are not being compliant with their wearing and replacement schedule, and it’s no surprise that many are experiencing ocular discomfort and distress. Certain care systems contain preservatives which may further exacerbate discomfort for some allergy sufferers.”

According to Dr. Karpecki, the use of one-day lenses can help minimize the discomfort of the contact lens-allergy combination. One study found that 67 percent of ocular allergy sufferers who switched to one-day lenses reported improved comfort while only 18 percent of those who simply replaced their conventional two-week daily wear soft contact lenses reported improvement.4  “By putting in a clean, fresh lens every day, one-day contacts minimize the potential for accumulation of allergens and irritants that can often accumulate with repeated use of the same pair of lenses.”
1 Katelaris CH, Bielory L. Evidence-based study design in ocular allergy trials. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;8(5):484-488.

2 Bassett C. Ocular Allergies. Asthma & Allergy Advocate. Summer 2007. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Web site. Accessed November 3, 2008.

3   Hickson-Curran, Sheila, Chou, Patricia, Gardere, Jill, “Longer Prescribed Replacement Intervals leads to More Stretching of Frequent Replacement Contact Lenses”, presented at American Academy of Optometry Meeting, November 2009

4 "Hayes, VY, Schnider, CM and Veys, J. “An evaluation of 1-day disposable contact lens wear in a population of allergy sufferers,”  CL & Ant Eye, 26 (2003) 85-93
About AAFA: The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is the leading national nonprofit organization fighting asthma and allergic diseases.  AAFA provides free information, conducts educational programs, fights for patients’ rights, and funds research to find better treatments and cures.  Log on to for more information.

Asthma continues to be a serious public health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• 23 million people, including almost 7 million children, have asthma.
• Asthma prevalence is higher among families with lower incomes.
• 12 million people report having an asthma attack in the past year.
• Asthma accounts for nearly 17 million physician office and hospital visits, and nearly 2 million emergency department visits each year.


African Americans continue to have higher rates of asthma emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths than do Caucasians:
• The rate of emergency department visits is 350% higher.
• The hospitalization rate is 240% higher.
• The asthma death rate is 200% higher.

Approximately 2 million Hispanics in the U.S. have asthma and Puerto Ricans are disproportionately impacted:
• The rate of asthma among Puerto Ricans is 125% higher than non-Hispanic white people and 80% higher than non-Hispanic black people.
• The prevalence of asthma attacks is highest among Puerto Ricans.


Asthma in Children
• Asthma is one of the most common serious chronic diseases of childhood.
• Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among children under 15.
• An average of one out of every 10 school-aged children has asthma.
• 13 million school days are missed each year due to asthma.


The Cost of Asthma
Annual expenditures for health and lost productivity due to asthma are estimated at over $20 billion, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.


Environmental Factors
Indoor and outdoor environmental factors can trigger asthma attacks: dust mites, molds, cockroaches, pet dander, and secondhand smoke.

Asthma can be Controlled
With a plan that includes medical treatment and control of environmental triggers, people with asthma can lead healthy, active lives.

September 01, 2017

Cataract Awareness Month

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens, which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. The lens of the eye is located behind the pupil and the colored iris, and is normally transparent. The lens helps to focus images onto the retina - which transmits the images to the brain.  Your vision may become blurry or dim because the cataract stops light from properly passing through to your retina.(1)

In the early stages, stronger lighting and eyeglasses may lessen vision problems caused by cataracts. At a certain point, however, surgery may be needed to improve vision. Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States. More than 90% of the people who have cataract surgery regain useful vision.(2) The exact cause of a cataract is unknown. Most often, a cataract is part of getting older. As you age, you are at greater risk of developing a cataract.(2) There are also several possible risk factors (2) for cataracts, such as:

  • Long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun

  • Certain diseases, such as diabetes

  • Inflammation in the eye

  • Hereditary influences

  • Events before birth, such as German measles in the mother

  • Long-term steroid use

  • Eye injuries

  • Eye diseases

  • Smoking


Generally, a cataract does not cause pain, redness or tears. The following problems may indicate that you have a cataract:

  • You have blurred vision, double vision, ghost images, or the sense of a "film" over your eyes.

  • Lights seem too dim for reading or close-up work, or you are "dazzled" by strong light.

  • You change eyeglass prescriptions often and the change does not seem to help your vision.

  • You may also be able to see the cataract in your eye. It may look like a milky or yellowish spot in your pupil.


The key to preventing vision loss is regular eye exams. If you are 65 or older, you should get a complete eye exam every one or two years, even if you have no problem seeing well.(2)

Please call Eyecare Professionals at 406-222-0250 to schedule an eye exam with Dr. Jamie Barney, O.D. or Dr. Marisa Hess, O.D.  if you are concerned about cataracts.

For more information, visit the National Eye Institute website at

February 01, 2017

February Eye Awareness

Lack of Information on Leading Cause of Blindness Could Leave Some Americans in the Dark

Prevent Blindness America Offers Public Free Educational Materials on Age-related Macular Degeneration

CHICAGO – Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) currently affects the vision of more than 2 million Americans, ages 50 and older.  AMD is a progressive disease that diminishes central vision and if left untreated, can result in severe vision loss and even blindness.   

But despite the severe damage AMD can cause to sight, the public is still relatively unfamiliar with chronic eye disease.  In fact, in 2008, AMD Alliance International conducted a survey that found more than half of all respondents had either never heard of AMD, or had heard of it but knew very little about it.*

Prevent Blindness America has declared February as Age-related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month in order to help educate the public on one of the leading causes of blindness in the world.  The non-profit group offers a free educational online resource, “The AMD Learning Center” at as well as information through its toll-free number.
The good news is that the effects of the disease can be diminished through early detection and treatment by an eye care professional.  That is why it is imperative for the public to know about the disease including early warning signs and risk factors.   

Those with AMD may experience the following symptoms:

  • Straight lines, such as a flag pole or streetlight, may appear wavy

  • A dark or empty spot may block the center of vision

  • Written words or type may appear blurry

According to the National Eye Institute, risk factors for AMD include:

  • Smoking- Smoking and even second-hand smoke may increase the risk of AMD

  • Obesity- Research studies suggest a link between obesity and the progression of early stage AMD to advanced AMD

  • Race- Caucasians are much more likely to lose vision from AMD than African Americans.  

  • Gender- Of the more than 2 million Americans age 50 and older that have AMD, more than 1.3 million of those cases are women

  • Family History- Those who have immediate family members with AMD are at a higher risk of developing the disease


“We urge everyone, especially if they are ages 40 and older, to go get a dilated eye exam as soon as possible,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America.  “Even if you don’t notice any signs of eye trouble today, you may already have an eye disease and not know it.  Once detected, eye doctors may be able to slow the progression and help save vision.”

For free information on AMD and other blinding eye diseases, please visit Prevent Blindness America at the AMD Learning Center, or call 1-800-331-2020.

*In a survey of the general population, 11 percent of respondents indicated that they knew AMD very well, 12 percent indicated they know a fair amount, 25 percent know just a little bit about AMD, 23 percent have heard of AMD but know nothing about it, and 29 percent said they had never heard of AMD. Eye Exams: Motivations and Barriers, April 18, 2008, AMD Alliance International

About Prevent Blindness America

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness America is the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness America touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, divisions and chapters, it's committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call 1-800-331-2020.

January 01, 2017

Special Testing

Eyecare Professionals is enhanced by the cutting edge technology we have available within our small community. We are lucky to have such technology available for our patients, which enable us to provide exceptional care here in Livingston.

Stratus OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography)
The OCT is currently the most exciting and high-profile technology available. The OCT (originally developed to assess macular disease) also has an excellent software program that enables state-of-the-art glaucoma assessment. The OCT can properly be viewed as a “glaucoma-PLUS” technology.

Optical Coherence Tomography is a non-invasive technology which provides high-resolution (10-15 micron) cross-sectional and topographic images of the retinal and optic nerve tissues. These images are truly incredible in their detail, and reveal even the most subtle tissue alterations. The OCT reigns supreme in the evaluation of macular edema and macular holes as well, and can be extremely helpful in the diagnosis of a wide variety of retinomacular diseases. The OCT can enhance patient care by decreasing referrals for angiograms and thereby allows state-of-the-art disease management in the primary eyecare office.

Humphrey Visual Field Analyzer
The visual field test measures how much peripheral or side vision you have. This test will detect any loss of peripheral vision and provide a detailed map of the extent and depth of that loss, which is helpful in diagnosing diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and in monitoring for drug toxicity caused by some common medications. It is also performed when a patient has unexplained visual disturbances or vision loss. In these cases, it may uncover a pituitary tumor or other disease process requiring prompt attention.

Optomap Retinal Exam
This technology offers unparalleled views of the retina.

•View up to 200 internal degrees (approximately 82%) of the retina at one time and in correct orientation.
•Simultaneous view of the central pole, mid periphery and periphery
•Utilizes the unique optical properties of a large ellipsoidal mirror to create a 'virtual' focal point located posterior to the patient's iris.
Coherent laser light unlike full spectrum white light used in conventional devices, Optos technology incorporates low-powered laser wavelengths that scan simultaneously. This allows review of the retinal substructures in their individual laser separations.
•Green laser (532nm) scans from the sensory retina to the pigment epithelial layers
•Red laser (633nm) scans from the RPE to the choroid

Once the optomap image is captured, practitioners use the proprietary review software for evaluating and manipulating the images. Adjustments to magnifications, contrast and brightness enable the clinician to enhance areas of interest and highlight fine details of the individual laser separations. In addition, measurements, annotations, clinical notes and diagnostic codes may be added and saved with the image.

In conclusion being able to offer such technology in our office truly separates us from just your average small town optical shop. Remember what’s good for the patient is good for the practice.

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