Eye Center, Inc.
Main Office • 2003 Cortez Road West • Bradenton, FL Three convenient locations to serve you! 941.756.2020

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Everything You Need to Know About Cataracts

Everything You Need to Know About Cataracts

According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. Young patients can be affected as well, but your risk of developing cataracts typically rises after age 55 and up, and patients with diabetes are at much higher risk. More than 25 million people have a cataract in one or both eyes. 

Cataracts can develop depending on age, UV exposure, genetic factors, smoking, and nutritional deficiencies. Cataracts develop in stages in 4 stages:

Stage One: Early Stage

During the first stage, the lens stays clear, but your ability to focus at distance and then refocus on near objects is slowly lost. You may experience, mild blurring or clouding, increasing light sensitivity, early appearance of glare, and increasing eye strain.

Stage Two: Immature Stage

During the immature stage, lens opacity is enough to noticeably obstruct vision. The edge of the pupil casts a shadow on the lens. You may experience, blurred vision, dimmed vision, and double vision.

Stage Three: Mature Stage

The mature stage causes the lens to become an amber color, or completely white. The iris edge stops casting a shadow. You may experience the same stages as the immature stage symptoms, but more severe.

Stage Four: Hypermature Stage

During the final stage, the lens shrinks and develops white spots. Occasionally, the lens may partially dislocate or suffer from glaucoma. You may experience, significant blur and loss of vision.

Along with the stages of development, there are three different types of cataracts:

Nuclear Sclerotic- These cataracts deeply form in the nucleus. Slowly, the central portion of the crystalline lens will yellow and harden.

Cortical- These cataracts develop white opaque “spokes” that start to affect your peripheral vision and slowly work toward the center. 

Posterior Subcapsular- Progression varies with this type of cataract but tends to develop more rapidly. They affect patients that use high doses of steroids and diabetic patients.

Here are some tips to help prevent the development of cataracts:

  • Eat Right: Introduce more antioxidant and glutathione-rich (a detoxifying antioxident)  foods into your diet such as broccoli, asparagus, spinach, brussels sprouts, avocados, grapefruit, and strawberries. Drink plenty of water also helps flush out harmful toxins.
  • Wear Protective Glasses: The suns UV rays are harmful to your eyes, and researches have confirmed that UV rays can cause cataracts by damaging proteins within the lens of your eyes. Whichever brand or style you choose, make sure they offer 99%-100% protection against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Avoid Smoking: Everyone knows that smoking is harmful to your heart and lungs, but smoking can also harm your eyes. Free radicals are created in your eyes when you inhale smoke. When you smoke, good chemicals in your body are consumed, encouraging the production of toxins that cause cataracts. 

If you feel that you are developing or currently are suffering from cataracts, call us today at (941) 756-2020.

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10 Best Practices for Wearing Contact Lenses

10 Best Practices for Wearing Contact Lenses

Are you tired of wearing glasses and are looking to switch to contact lenses? Do you already wear contact lenses and have irritation issues? Here are a few best practices to your journey of a versatile, glasses-free life:

  1. Before touching your contact lenses, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water and dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
  2. Do not rinse or store contact in water. Always use contact solution.
  3. Follow the schedule provided by your optometrist. Never wear daily contact lenses to sleep.
  4. Use new solution each time you take out your contacts out. Never reuse or “top off” old solution in your contact case.
  5. Replace your contact case every three months. If damaged or cracked, replace immediately. 
  6. Never put contacts in your mouth to wet them. Saliva is not sterile and can cause irritation or infections.
  7. Always remove contact lenses before taking a shower, swimming, or participating in anything where water can enter the eye.
  8. When using solution, make sure the cap and tip of the bottle do not touch any other surface and keep the bottle tightly closed when not using.
  9. Refrain from using saline solution or rewetting drops to disinfect your lenses. These products are not disinfectants. 
  10. Your cornea and vision can change over time. Make sure to schedule regular eye exams to keep healthy vision and your contacts fresh and feeling comfortable. 

Daily disposable contact lenses allow for the eyes to receive a brand new contact lens, each and every day. Our tears contain proteins and fatty acids that “stick” to the surface of contact lenses, meaning that a monthly contact lens may become less comfortable with repeat wears.  The protein and lipid deposits also act as “antigens’ that our eyes may develop an allergy towards. Also, clarity of vision can become reduced towards the end of the month, as then lens wears. A fresh lens each day is better for eyes that experience dryness and/or allergies and is, in general, more comfortable. Daily disposable contact lenses also reduce the need to clean and disinfect and are associated with drastically lower rates of infection. 

“The number of hours per day an individual may safely and comfortably wear their contact lenses varies per patient. I ask that my patients who suffer from dry eye and allergies to remove their contact lenses once home for the evenings and “relax” in their glasses. I think that is a good idea in general, but a healthy and comfortable patient may wear their contact lenses until bedtime. Sleeping in contact lenses is always discouraged and the risks are discussed,” said Dr. Paige Laudicina, Optometrist at Eye Center, Inc.

At Eye Center, Inc we fit a wide range of reputable brand daily disposable contact lenses to fit our patients’  individual needs, lifestyles and budgets. We do not have a “go-to” brand. 

Millions of people wear contacts every day. If you’re still unsure about switching to contact lenses, call us at (941) 756-2020 and make an appointment. We’ll guide you to your perfect pair of lenses!

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Did you know your infant needs eye exams, too?

Did you know your infant needs eye exams, too?

At the Eye Center, Inc. we’re proud to be an InfantSEE provider, thanks to Dr. Madison Easterling. InfantSEE is a public health program, managed by Optometry Cares- The AOA Foundation designed to ensure that eye and vision care becomes an essential part of infant wellness care to improve a child’s quality of life. While Dr. Easterling loves seeing patients of all ages, this program allows her to provide a comprehensive eye assessment on infants between the ages of 6-12 months FREE of charge.

During the first few years of life, babies must learn to focus their eyes and move them together as a team which lays the foundation for many important developmental milestones. Therefore, undetected vision problems can have a significant impact on infant and childhood development.

InfantSEE provides early intervention using necessary specialized equipment and procedures – which are not available as part of most vision screenings. During an InfantSEE assessment, Dr. Easterling tests for excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, eye movement ability, eye health problems, and discusses patients and family history.

“I love being a provider for InfantSee. It is a great screening program that allows us to diagnose vision and ocular problems before they negatively affect development,” said Dr. Easterling.

School screenings provide less than 4% of the eye tests needed to help children see and miss up to 75% of children with vision problems. Of the children found to have eye problems through screening, 61% never visit the doctor and get help. Before your child becomes of age for school, it is crucial to have their eyes examined and continue to do so through an optometrist annually. 

Healthy eyes create a healthy future. Call us today at (941) 756-2020 to schedule your infant’s appointment.

 

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Children and Digital Devices

Children and Digital Devices

Technology may play a large role when it comes to education and our children, however, there are risks that come along with too much screen time. Screen time is defined by the amount of time a person spends staring at digital displays such as computers, tablets, smartphones, television, etc. 

Babies are the most vulnerable to screens. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies aged 18 months and younger should not be exposed to any digital media. The noise is just as distracting for infants. Babies can be overstimulated by sounds, which may cause distress and sleep problems. For children 2 to 5 years of age, screen time should be limited to one hour per day. The AAP gives cartoons a thumbs down because toddler-aged children cannot decipher between fiction and non-fiction. However, they give a thumbs up to media such as Skype or Facetime with friends and relatives. An hour of this style of media can promote healthy development. For children ages 6 and older, parents can determine the restrictions for total screen time. The AAP states that digital media should never replace healthy activities or social face-to-face interactions, but they do state that an average day for a child 6 and older consists of 8-12 hours of school, homework, physical activity, social contact, and sleep. Whatever time is left over after these key aspects are done, can be screen time. 

According to The Vision Council, 30% of parents report their children experience at least one of the following symptoms after being exposed to more than two hours of screen time per day:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Eye strain, dry or irritated eyes
  • Reduced attention span
  • Poor behavior
  • Irritability 

The LED screens of digital devices produce high-energy visible light known as “blue light.” Blue light has shorter wavelengths and higher energy than most other rays and can be harmful to the light-sensitive retina of the eye. Too much exposure to blue light can also lead to disruption of your child’s sleep/wake schedule, which in return, can come with very serious health consequences.

If your child is exposed to digital devices higher than the recommended frequency stated above, we suggest they wear blue light glasses. These glasses help reduce the amount of blue light that enters the eye, ultimately reducing the risk of retina damage and short-term symptoms like headaches and eye strain. Call us at (941) 756-2020 to get your child a pair of blue light glasses today!

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New Partnership with Sun Hydraulics

New Partnership with Sun Hydraulics

Eye Center, Inc. is proud to announce a new partnership with Sun Hydraulics to customize prescription safety glasses for its more than 700 employees.  Sun Hydraulics is a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance screw-in hydraulic cartridge valves and manifolds that control force, speed and motion as integral components in fluid power systems. 

In the past, Sun Hydraulics did not mandate protective eyewear for its staff. The only requirement for vision safety was that employees wear some type of glasses with temporary side shields.  A recent decision by company leadership to improve the organization’s commitment to eye safety resulted in a partnership with Eye Center, Inc. that provides all employees with comprehensive eye exams and safety glasses that meet American National Standards Institute standards with Z78.1 safety frames.  These frames are heat and impact resistant, providing necessary protection from being splashed with chemicals such as hydraulic fluid. The lenses have a 3mm thickness at the thinnest point and are impact and scratch-resistant. 

Since the partnership was implemented nearly three months ago, Sun Hydraulics staff have visited Eye Center, Inc. for eyewear fittings, with most needing new exams for up-to-date measurements of their glasses prescriptions. At this time, Sun Hydraulics is rapidly approaching its goal for 100% of employees to wear safety glasses made locally at Eye Center, Inc. 

The doctors and staff at the Eye Center have been a tremendous help to us in implementing our employee prescription safety glasses program. They were flexible, personable, and worked with us closely to provide a plan to fit our needs. Their experience working with other area employers helped our program launch very smoothly,” -Aaron Imel, Safety Manager, Sun Hydraulics LLC.

Eye Center, Inc. has a long history of supporting the protective eyewear and vision health needs of local industrial workplaces in Manatee and Sarasota County. Currently, Eye Center, Inc. manufactures all safety glasses for Tropicana, Pierce Manufacturing, Port Manatee and now Sun Hydraulics.  Dr. Brad Laudicina, a Board-certified optometrist and partner in Eye Center, Inc. who spearheaded the new relationship with Sun Hydraulics, remarks, “Eye Center, Inc. is always looking for new partners who are interested in investing in the vision care of its team by providing safety glasses with or without prescription lenses to its employees. We’re thrilled to support the needs of a people-first local company like Sun Hydraulics, that is on the cutting edge of not only advanced manufacturing but employee health and wellness initiatives, as well.” 

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Digital Age Shouldn’t Equal Digital Eye Strain

Digital Age Shouldn’t Equal Digital Eye Strain

In today’s digital world, it’s rare that we aren’t looking at some sort of digital technology frequently throughout our everyday lives. While technology has immensely increased productivity, it can be our best friend and our worst nightmare when it comes to protecting our vision.

Digital eye strain is real and it can happen to any of us. Digital eye strain is temporary but causes extreme discomfort following two or more hours of straight digital use. Symptoms include:

  • Red, dry or irritated eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye fatigue
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Headaches

Besides using continuous digital technology, what actually causes digital eye strain? Believe it or not, digital eye strain is not actually caused by one isolated action. It is caused by small print and pixelated images that can be difficult to read, holding devices at the wrong angle or too far from our eyes, and blue light- high-energy visible light that is emitted by devices and increases eye strain more so than other colors that have longer wavelengths.

So, how do you prevent digital eye strain? First, you need to start by paying attention to your posture. Make sure you are sitting in a chair that supports the spine and helps keep the body upright. Your chair should also be adaptable to your height- so your feet rest flat on the floor. Your viewing angle should be no more than 35 degrees from the monitor, and your viewing distance should be 20-40 inches (or an arm-length) away. Your monitor or device needs to be at eye-level or slightly below- make sure it’s flat and positioned in front of the face where there is no tilt. After you have your posture in place, follow the 20-20-20 rule. This rule states that every 20 minutes, focus on an object that is 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. And finally, don’t forget to put on protective eyewear! At Eye Center, Inc. we offer glasses, prescription or non-prescription, made with blue light protective lenses.

Suffering from digital eye strain or need protective digital eyewear? Call us today at (941) 756-2020.

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Sunny Days Call for Sun-Shades

Sunny Days Call for Sun-Shades

Summer in Florida = a must for sunglasses. The beach is calling your name, but so is the threat from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Excess sun exposure puts you at risk for short and long term eye damage. Fortunately, prevention is easy when wearing the right sunglasses. 

When shopping for sunglasses, always look for a tag that says 100% protection against both UVA and UVB or 100% protection against UV 400. Here at Eye Center, Inc. ALL of our sunglasses fit these categories, and, you can customize your favorite style to fit your prescription.

Prescription sunglasses may not sound like high fashion, but many fashion brands carry sunglasses that can be fully customizable to your prescription. Prescription sunglasses are easy, stylish, and protect your precious vision. Here are a few reasons why you should get prescription sunglasses:

  1. One Solution- Prescription sunglasses protect your eyes against dust and microorganisms from entering your eyes, unlike contacts. And unlike regular eyeglasses, they protect against harmful ultraviolet rays, too. A win-win!
  2. No More Glare- Some eyes are more sensitive than others when it comes to the brightness of the sun. Prescription sunglass lenses neutralize glares, which occur when horizontal rays of the sun bounce back into your eyes from surfaces like beaches, roadways, sports fields, bodies of water, etc.
  3. Customizable- Prescription sunglasses are just as customizable as regular glasses, but especially when it comes to the shade. From light to hard, nearsighted or farsighted, Eye Center Inc. can create your perfect pair of prescription sunglass lenses!

Every day isn’t necessarily a contact lens day. Allergies, not enough rest, crying, etc. can play a huge role when you can’t get those little circles of freedom in your eyes. But that’s okay, your eyes need a break, too! 

Now, to put the icing on the cake, we’re offering you 20% off of all sunglasses NOW through September 3rd! Stop in at any of our three locations, and get yourself a fashionable, 100% UVA and UVB protected, customized pair of sunglasses today!

*Promotion excludes Costa Del Mar products*

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Staff Feature: Callie Bishop, Front Desk

Staff Feature: Callie Bishop, Front Desk

Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I love helping people and making a difference in their day.

Tell us about your approach to customer service.
Listening is so important. I always listen to what the patient is trying to tell me. Sometimes we see patients when they are in pain or panicked and it’s our job to help them through that.

What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?
I give them lots of yummy treats!

Is there something that excites you so much it keeps you awake the night before?
Going to Disney…always!

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.
It’s hard to just pick one, but there was an evening I was on the Skyway Fishing Pier and the sky was pink and orange and just…perfect.

What’s your pizza order?
Thin crust pepperoni with extra cheese, of course.

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