Eye Center, Inc.
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January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, and what better way to ring in those New Year, New You resolutions than a pre-screening for glaucoma? Dr. Paige Laudicina calls it a symptomless disease,” an invisible threat that can go unnoticed or untreated for significant periods of time. Learn why visiting Eye Center, Inc. for a comprehensive eye exam can be so important to the long-term health of your eyesight.

 

The “Sneak Thief of Sight”

According to The National Eye Institute, glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Known as a symptomless disease, glaucoma can go unnoticed for years without symptoms or pain and have serious consequences if left untreated. With early treatment, however, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss.

 

Without symptoms or pain, many Americans aren’t even aware they have glaucoma. From a recent survey from American Optometry Association, The Optometry Times states,

  • 90% of respondents think glaucoma is preventable. Only 10% know it’s not, but that it’s treatable.
  • 86% don’t know what part of vision glaucoma affects.
  • 72% think glaucoma has early warning signs.

 

Know if You’re At Risk

Certain factors may make you more at risk for glaucoma. According to The American Optometric Association, the following factors can increase your risk:

  • Age. People over age 60. African Americans, however, are at increased risk after age 40. The risk of developing glaucoma increases slightly with each year of age.
  • Race. African Americans are significantly more likely to get glaucoma than Caucasians, and they are much more likely to suffer permanent vision loss. People of Asian descent and Native Alaskans are at higher risk of angle-closure glaucoma. People of Japanese descent are more likely to develop low-tension glaucoma.
  • Family history of glaucoma. Having a family history of glaucoma increases the risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Medical conditions. Some studies indicate that diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease may increase the risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Physical injuries to the eye. Severe trauma, such as being hit in the eye, can result in immediate increased eye pressure. Internal damage from such a trauma can also cause future increases in pressure. Injury can also dislocate the lens, closing the drainage angle and increasing pressure.
  • Other eye-related risk factors. Certain features of eye anatomy, namely thinner corneas and optic nerve sensitivity, indicate an increased risk for developing glaucoma. Conditions such as retinal detachment, eye tumors and eye inflammations may also trigger glaucoma. Some studies suggest that high amounts of nearsightedness may also be a risk.
  • Corticosteroid use. Using corticosteroids (including cortisone, hydrocortisone and prednisone) for prolonged periods of time appears to put some people at risk of getting secondary glaucoma.

 

How to Protect Yourself

Annual Comprehensive Eye Exams are key to catching this disease early on and maintaining prevention.  While health screenings are helpful, you ultimately need an optometrist to look at the optic nerve using dilation or OptoMaps. This will allow an optometrist to examine the pressure and nerves thoroughly and identify if potential signs of glaucoma are present. Our team of doctors at The Eye Center, Inc. are capable and equipped to diagnose and treat glaucoma, along with other ocular diseases.

 

If you fall under a category that may be at higher risk for glaucoma, you should schedule your Comprehensive Eye exam annually for early detection and prevention.  It’s important that you call us today at (941) 756-2020 to schedule an appointment with any of our six optometrists at the Eye Center, Inc. We offer three convenient optometry offices and optical centers in the Manatee County area.

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Eyewear Trunk Show | January 13, 2018

Eyewear Trunk Show | January 13, 2018

A new year means a new pair of frames!

The Eyewear Trunk Show is coming up! This event will take place on Saturday, January 13, 2018 from 12-2pm at our Cortez location. 

Shopping is definitely on people’s minds during the holidays and new year. Whether it is for gift giving or treating yourself, it is hard to pass up all the great deals that pop up during this time of year… and this is one you definitely won’t want to miss!  This is your opportunity to save BIG and find the frame that fits your unique style best. With our wide selection of over 3,000 frames, we want you to have the chance to find your perfect look. Select designer frames will be up to 30% off on the first pair, and 50% off on your second pair! 

At our Eyewear Trunk Show, you’ll be able to sample colored contacts and try on frames from designers like Fendi, Vera Wang, Smith, Lilly Pulitzer, Banana Republic, and more. Not sure what to give someone? The gift of pristine vision and style are undeniably great… and you can never go wrong with a quality pair of sunglasses while living in Florida.

Not only will you save big on the latest designer looks, you can:

  • Meet new optometrist Dr. Madison Easterling;
  • Enjoy light bites & refreshments;
  • And celebrate 2018 with a champagne toast!

We hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

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December 2017

 


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Hello from the Eye Center, Inc.! 

Spend your remaining Flexible Spending Account dollars with us before the end of 2017.

Most employer health insurance plans include what’s called a Flexible Spending Account, and many of these accounts expire at the end of each year. At that time, you’re forced to forfeit most of the unused benefits that you’ve already earned.

This account allows you to set aside up to $2600 (in 2017) of pre-tax money that you can spend on healthcare-related expenses.  Especially if you’ve already met your deductible, December is a great time to take advantage of your earned insurance benefits before you lose them forever… and before you have a new deductible to meet in the new year.

Many vision insurance plans include annual comprehensive eye examinations and allow you to also apply at least some funds towards eyewear or contact lenses.  You also may qualify for a 15-30+ per cent discount on certain services and products (percentage depends on your tax bracket).

On the short list of what will qualify for reimbursement under Flexible Spending Accounts is your eye exam and eyewear of course, but usually also eye drops, prescription sunglasses and computer eyeglasses.

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Save The Dates

Upcoming Events & Promotions at Eye Center, Inc.  

This Holiday Season

Give the gift of eyewear when you shop our wide variety of prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, and more!  Visit any of our three locations to check out our selection.

Saturday, Jan 13 – Eyewear Trunk Show

Save big on the latest designer fashions!  Sample colored contacts, meet new optometrist Dr. Madison Easterling, enjoy light bites, and celebrate 2018 with a champagne toast.

Saturday, Feb 24 – Beertopia

Mark your calendar today for the best FUNdraiser of the year!  With great live music, craft beer from around the world, some of the finest local cuisine, Beertopia is a fabulous way to spend an evening supporting Eye Center, Inc’s Vision Foundation.




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From all of us at Eye Center, Inc., we wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season.  We look forward to seeing you in 2018!

 

– The Eye Center, Inc.

Drs. Mike Mackie, Sarah Mackie, Paige Gillenwaters-Laudicina, Brad Laudicina, Doug Black & Madison Easterling

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Founder's granddaughter joins Eye Center, Inc.

Founder's granddaughter joins Eye Center, Inc.

Dr. Madison Easterling is a Manatee County native whose grandfather founded Eye Center, Inc. in 1966. 

Eye Center, Inc., proudly announces that the granddaughter of practice founder Dr. John Marcin, Dr. Madison Easterling, has joined the practice as a full-scope optometrist with particular interest in pediatric eye care.

After graduating from Palmetto High School, Dr. Easterling attended University of Florida and University of South Florida, before continuing her higher education with Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University where she earned her Doctorate of Optometry.  While in Optometry School, she served on a medical mission trip to Haiti to deliver eye care to those in need. During her rotations, she traveled all over the country learning different specialties of Optometry and earning Honors in her Ocular Disease, Pediatric, Primary Care, and Contact Lens externships.

Dr. Easterling practices full-scope optometry, including but not limited to: primary eye care, emergency eye care, the fitting of contact lenses (traditional and custom lenses), pediatrics (including infants), geriatrics, and the treatment and management of ocular diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eyes, and diabetic eye care.

Additionally, Dr. Easterling enjoys seeing patients of all ages, and is pleased to be an InfantSee provider. This program allows her to provide a comprehensive eye assessment on infants between the ages of 6-12 months free of charge. Dr. Easterling is a member of the Junior League of Manatee County, Manatee Chamber of Commerce and the Manatee Optometric Association and enjoys being involved in her community and church. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, boating, and many other outdoor activities.

Eye Center, Inc. is a family eye care practice with three convenient Manatee County locations, serving the area for 51 years.  Our six Board-certified optometrists practice a proactive and preventative approach to medicine, ensuring the best possible care for your eyes.  Visit our ALL-NEW website online at eyecenterinc.com, or call  (941) 756-2020 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Madison Easterling today.

 

 

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Eye Center, Inc. Doctors Out & About at Fall Community Events

Eye Center, Inc. Doctors Out & About at Fall Community Events

Our doctors love being active and involved in the community!

It’s been a busy event season already this fall, with Eye Center, Inc. doctors out and about supporting their favorite charities and organizations.  Read on to learn more about the organizations and special fundraising events which we proudly support. 

DUCKS UNLIMITED

Pictured above are Drs. Brad Laudicina, Madison Easterling, Michael Mackie, Sarah Saputo Mackie, and Doug Black at the annual Manatee County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited Banquet on November 2, 2017.   Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.

Dr. Michael Mackie chaired this amazing event again this year, which is well-known in the area for having a fabulous food menu as well as awesome raffle prizes and auction items.  Thanks to everyone who came and supported DU!

CHILDREN FIRST

Dr. Doug Black and his wife Helena Black attended the Rockin’ Lobster beach party, benefitting the Children First on November 4, 2017.

At Rockin’ Lobster, guests watched the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico while dining on delicious Maine Lobster under a large tent on the beach. The Rockin’ fun began with live music by Version 3.0, delicious food, a silent auction, and exciting beach activities and ended with a lantern release, where guests made a wish for a child and family in our program and release a lantern in their honor.

Children First offers a Head Start and Early Head Start programs in sarasota county and serves over 550 of Sarasota County’s lowest income children.

SOUTH FLORIDA MUSEUM

Drs. Sarah and Michael Mackie, along with Suzanne and Randy Dillingham, at the South Florida Museum’s annual Snooty Gala, this year themed “Elements.”

Dr. Michael Mackie is also a past member of the Board of Trustees for the South Florida Museum and continues to support this incredible community asset in various ways.  He and his wife, fellow Eye Center, Inc. optometrist Dr. Sarah Mackie joined hundreds of Museum supporters at the 25th annual black tie event on Saturday, November 4, which featured the sounds of Serenade of Souls, dinner by Michael’s On East and a high-end silent auction and raffle.

The South Florida Museum is the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the South Florida Museum offers engaging exhibits as well as educational programs which interpret the scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world, and our universe.  The SFM complex also includes Bishop Planetarium and the Parker Aquarium which is home to a world-renowned manatee rehabilitation program.

 

Drs. Sarah and Michael Mackie at the South Florida Museum’s annual Snooty Gala, this year themed “Elements.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Digital Eye Strain

Digital Eye Strain

Many of us in 2017 spend a tremendous amount of time interacting with digital devices like smartphones, tablets, and computer screens on a day-to-day basis.  

Digital eye strain is a real medical issue that affects millions of Americans. According to a 2014 report by Dr. Scott Sikes writing for Optometry Times, “approximately 28 percent of people spend 10 or more hours in front of digital devices daily. The number only goes up from there, as approximately 65 percent spend between three to nine hours per day in front of a digital device. In 2011, Internet usage alone was up to 2.2 billion users compared to just three million users in 1990, only twenty years earlier.”

The Vision Council has data showing that Americans report experiencing the following symptoms of digital eye strain:

  • 32.6 percent report experiencing eye strain
  • 22.7 percent report experiencing dry eyes
  • 21.4 percent report experiencing headache
  • 22 percent report experiencing blurred vision
  • 30.8 percent report experiencing neck and shoulder pain

Digital eye strain unfortunately affects our older patients in a more pronounced way.  As we age, our eyes become drier and lose their ability to focus as well as in earlier years, and the impact of blue light is amplified. That blue light emitted by digital device, over time,, causes the most harmful long-term effects on our eyesight. 

Redness and dryness (due to decreased blinking), blurry vision and headaches from screen glare and blue light emissions, and even neck/back pain from poor posture are all symptoms of digital eye strain caused by 2+ hours of daily device use.  If you’re experiencing any of these, it may be time to talk to your Eye Center, Inc. optometrist.

D – EYE – Y

There are also some tricks you can try at home or work to avoid digital eye strain.

Blink often.  It sounds silly that we have to be reminded to blink.  But when we’re scrolling through News Feeds, sometimes our brain ignores the eye’s innate trigger to blink and moisten our eyes.  Remind yourself to blink every time you hit that “like” button.  You can also try artificial tears, which are helpful for treating the symptom, but fail to address the cause of dryness.

We also love the 20×4 rule.  Screens should be at least 20 inches from your face, and every 20 minutes of use, take a 20 second break to stare at something 20 feet away.  This will relieve strain on your eyes and also helps to combat general fatigue.   

Your friends may tease you at first, but increasing the font size on your devices can help reduce eye strain as well. You’ll have the last word when you’re experiencing fewer headaches.

If you tend to use your computer in the evenings, you can install a blue light filter on your PC or Mac that helps reduce some of the light emitted.  At night time, blue light’s effect is amplified and can lead to difficulty sleeping.

Adjust your screen light or your room lighting so there isn’t as much contrast between a bright screen and dim room, for example.  You’ll find that you have less trouble with glare over time.

LOOKING DEEPER

Let’s break down the reasons why the blue light that our beloved devices emit is harmful to our eyesight.  Our perma-patient, Ashley, recently chatted with Dr. Paige Gillenwaters-Laudicina who helped us make sense of all the science.

A:  All this blue light talk is making my head spin.  Can you explain exactly what the sources of blue light are?

PGL: You encounter blue light in almost every daily activity. Fluorescent lighting in your office, each and every electronic screen you see (phones, tablets, computers, TVs, etc.), and even the sun emits damaging high-energy blue light.

A:  How does blue light harm our eyes?

PGL:  Blue light causes the gradual deterioration of the macula over your lifetime, leaving our eyes susceptible to macular degeneration.  

A:  Ok… so what is macular degeneration?  

PGL:  The progressive deterioration of the macula and is the leading cause of visual impairment. This loss of vision affects reading, writing, driving, color perception, and other cognitive functions… and serious complications can lead to blindness.

P:  But what exactly is the macula?

PGL:  The macula in the human eye is the point where light is focused, through the cornea & lens.  This is what takes the picture that is sent to the brain, where vision is processed.  

A:  Sounds important.

PGL:  Yes, the macula provides us with the ability to read and see in great detail (whereas the rest of the retina provides peripheral vision). The high degree of sophisticated structure in the macula is one of the things that separate man from other beings on earth.  It’s VERY important to the structure of the macula to be undisturbed, and relatively dry, in order for images you see to be clear and your vision to be good.

A:  I’m in front of a computer 9 hours a day… and it feels like the other 15 hours are spent on my phone!  What should I do?

PGL:  Well, definitely start with the tips we discussed above that slow blue light’s effect on your macula.  And be sure to ask me or another Eye Center, Inc. optometrist about BluTech Lenses.  

ADVANCED SOLUTION

In scientific terms, the BluTech Lenses that Dr. Laudicina mentioned earlier filter high-energy blue and ultra-violet light using ocular lens pigment derived from the auto-oxidation of 3- Hydroxykynurenine (3-OHKyn). The ocular lens pigment is then combined with melanin and isolated in a durable material. When used in an optical lens, this infusion of pigment provides the same protection, contrast enhancement, and color perception to the eye as the natural yellow-brown coloration of the human crystalline lens.  

And now in real talk, BluTech Lenses create a barrier for the macula by directly infusing the perfect amount of ocular lens pigment and melanin into the lenses.  This allows for optimal eye protection – without altering or distorting color perception.  Your eyes are shielded from the dangers of UV rays and the harmful high-energy blue lights we’re discussing today.  

Our practice recommends BluTech Lenses especially for those who work at a computer throughout most of the day, or tend to spend a significant proportion of time during non-daylight hours on a phone or tablet.   The benefits of these products beyond protection against UV and blue light are improved natural depth, color perception, visual acuity, night vision, contrast and a reduction in glare.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms that could be related to digital eye strain, it’s important that you call us today at (941) 756-2020 and schedule an appointment with any of our six optometrists at the Eye Center, Inc. We offer three convenient optometry offices and optical centers in the Manatee County area.

 

Check out this great infographic from AllAboutVision.com:

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Back to School Vision Basics

Back to School Vision Basics

BY DR. PAIGE GILLENWATERS-LAUDICINA

At the Eye Center, we believe that good vision is essential to a child’s academic success, and feel strongly that each child should have their eyes routinely evaluated with a comprehensive eye exam. Decreased vision can interfere with a child’s ability to see the board clearly at school, or to read or do their homework for prolonged periods of time. Often a child will cope by avoiding these activities, unaware that their vision is holding them back. Also, it’s difficult for most children to vocalize a vision problem, as most don’t understand they could be seeing more clearly or more comfortably.

With the school year now in full swing, it is possible for a child to begin facing challenges with their vision, so let’s take this opportunity to define some common vision conditions and suggest possible signs and symptoms to watch for.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is probably the easiest to detect. As the name implies, someone who is nearsighted sees well up close, but has trouble with their distance vision. You may suspect someone is nearsighted if they squint in order to see distance objects (for example; the board at school, especially when sitting in the back of the classroom). Recent studies reveal approximately 10% of school aged children are myopic. Myopia tends to worsen as a child grows, so an annual trip to the optometrist is necessary, along with prescription changes when needed.

In contrast, someone who is hyperopic, or farsighted, sees distance objects quite well but complains of trouble up close. In my experience, these symptoms can be more subtle for patients. Someone who is farsighted may have the ability to read things up close, but experiences fatigue, eyestrain, or headaches after a prolonged period of time. If a child frequently comes home from school with a headache or with tired eyes, a comprehensive eye exam is warranted.

Astigmatism is a term that is commonly used and poorly understood. Astigmatism refers to the shape of the front portion (the cornea) of the eye. In an ideal world, the cornea would be completely round, and light would hit each part of the cornea and focus perfectly on the retina. When you have astigmatism, the cornea has an atypical shape, creating multiple points of focus on the back of the eye, and a blurred image for the viewer. Depending on the amount of astigmatism a person has, symptoms may vary from mild strain and headaches to very blurred vision at both distance and near.

Each of these conditions is easily detected during an eye exam, and can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses. Some prescriptions may require full time wear, while others only part time.

One last point of mention is, it is important to differentiate a vision screening like the ones performed at the pediatrician’s office or at school, from a comprehensive eye exam done at an optometrist’s office. Screenings typically only measure acuity, or your child’s ability to resolve detail. A comprehensive eye exam will go into much more detail, measuring refractive error (the need for glasses), eye alignment and binocular vision (how comfortab

ly the two eyes work together), and color vision, along with a full ocular health evaluation encompassing the front and back of the eye (seen with dilation).

In summary, I recommend adding a comprehensive eye exam to your back to school checklist, to ensure your child’s eyes are ready to take on the visual demands of another school year. Set your child up for success!

This article originally appeared in Next-Gen Magazine’s October-November issue on pg 86-87.

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