It’s no coincidence that August is Children’s Vision and Learning Month. One of the best things local parents can do to prepare their children for school and learning is to schedule an eye health and vision examination with Dr. Olson. The American Public Health Association estimates 1 of every 4 students in grades K-6 have vision problems that are serious enough to impede learning. We don’t want your child to be that one!
Parents and caregivers should understand that school screenings are not eye exams and do not detect all vision problems. In fact, The Vision Council of America estimates 80% of children with a learning disability have an undiagnosed vision problem. Give your child every chance to succeed in school and in life, starting with healthy vision.
A different perspective of neighboring City Hall and the watertower in Mt. Pleasant
Here’s a different perspective–the view from the new rooftop of Complete EyeCare Center’s eyewear gallery, which includes Mt. Pleasant’s City Hall, watertower, and Veteran’s Club (the former police station.) Here workers are beginning the complex process of marrying the old and new roof.
Healthcare, interiors, technology, and patients have changed in the 19 years since we opened the doors at this location. We could be satisfied with the way things are, but that’s not in line with our mission or Dr. Olson’s values. We want to provide our patient family with the level of care, kinds of products, and service we ourselves would expect to receive. That means if we know that we can diagnose a problem sooner or make someone’s vision sharper and clearer so they can perform better, we strive to give our patient’s that option. We want to do our best for you and we love pleasing our patients!
Our growth is for you and because of you. Thanks for continuing to refer your family and friends to our practice!
It’s February, the month of hearts–because of Valentine’s Day but also because it’s Heart Health Month.
So why is an eye doctor talking about heart health? Because some undetected heart health issues can be identified in the eye. And some systemic problems that contribute to heart disease may be detected in their early stages during an eye exam.
Undetected high blood pressure can cause cause permanent vision problems. The good news is that in the course of a regular eye health examination a skilled eye doctor can detect signs of systemic hypertension even before vision has been affected or the patient is aware of the condition.
There is only one place in the body where a doctor can non-invasively observe a person’s blood vessels–the eye! Dr. Olson can actually see the blood vessels in the back of the eye and view the optic nerve. Strained by high blood pressure these small capillaries may bleed or narrow. The optic nerve can also become swollen. These are signs of hypertensive retinopathy due to systemic high blood pressure. The ophthalmoscope, binocular indirect ophthalmoscope, and Optomap retinal imaging are all tools that allow Dr. Olson to see the retina so conditions and changes can be monitored and documented. But it takes his experience and expertise to evaluate what he sees and identify what is normal and what is not.
Sometimes vision loss is not due to a problem with the eye itself, but with how the brain is processing images the eye sees. One possible cause of this type of vision problem is that small strokes have occurred due to untreated high blood pressure. There are patients whose brain impairment was first detected and diagnosed by Dr. Olson in the course of a routine eye health exam.
Diabetes affects both heart health and eye health. During our comprehensive eye health exam Dr. Olson looks for blood vessels that are larger in certain spots, blocked, or hemorrhaging, new fragile blood vessels that have started growing, and scars on the retina, among other things. These are potential signs of diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans.
Here’s an excerpt from a story on the American Heart Association website: “In the summer of 1994, I was driving a truck down a familiar road and suddenly my vision went blurry. Fortunately, I knew where I was going without reading the road signs, but as soon as I returned home, I called a friend who is a nurse about my concerns. She suggested that I see an eye doctor as soon as possible. After running some eye tests the eye doctor told me to see my family doctor because I might have type 2 diabetes. I was surprised by this because no one in my family had ever been diagnosed with diabetes. I did indeed have type 2 diabetes, and I also had high blood pressure and marginally high cholesterol…”
Unfortunately by the time vision has been affected, as this man’s was, the vision loss can be irreversible. That’s the reason eye doctors recommend that everyone have regular eye health exams throughout their lifetime! While you may be seeing well, symptoms still invisible to you can exist that are red flags to Dr. Olson as he looks inside your eye during the eye health examination.
The great news is that if you have been having annual eye exams at our office and these or other conditions appear, they will likely be detected at an early stage. If you have not been in the habit of getting regular eye exams, you can start now! We are accepting new patients at this time. Just call 319.395.9534.
So besides eating smart, not smoking, and exercising, add seeing Dr. Olson regularly to the list of activities for maintaining good heart health!
The New York Times Health page featured an article about 9-year-old Raea Gragg a few years ago. Unfortunately her story is not uncommon. A child has a vision problem that goes undetected for years. In the meantime that child is labeled and treated for a learning disability or behavioral disorder.
Many well-intentioned professionals are unaware that some visual disorders share several common symptoms with ADHD and ADD, and that can lead to a misdiagnosis, perhaps even unnecessary medication. Journalist Laura Novak writes, ”Doctors and teachers often attribute the behavior to attention disorders or seek other medical explanations. Mrs. Gragg said her pediatrician had never heard of convergence insufficiency.” Read the full article here: Not Autistic or Hyperactive. Just Seeing Double at Times
Complete EyeCare Center’s Optometrist, Dr. Olson, has the education and commitment to evaluate the visual system beyond the simple ability to read an eye chart. A child like Raea may be able to read the chart’s 20/20 line and still have a vision problem. Perhaps her struggles could have been avoided if a trained InfantSee optometrist had seen Raea before age 1 and had performed a visual assessment at age 3, as recommended by the American Optometric Association. It is possible her convergence insufficiency could have been detected and treated before she began to experience symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, irritability, low self-esteem, inability to concentrate, aversion to reading, and difficulties in school.
Before you turn to medication, before you send your child to school, please ensure that your child doesn’t have a vision problem. We want to make it easy for parents to give their children a good start in life and follow the AOA guidelines for vision evaluation. Dr. Olson participates in the InfantSee program providing free assessments for 6-12 month olds. He has also developed his own free assessment program for children age 3, available exclusively at Complete EyeCare Center, called “See at 3!â„¢” If there is a child in your life age 6-12 months or age 3 we encourage you to give them every chance to succeed–including the assurance from Dr. Olson that they are seeing well, with both eyes working together properly.
3D is making a comeback. You’ve seen it in movies and heard about it for television. This March, Nintendo will even introduce a 3D handheld gaming device. Nintendo will be recommending that children under 6 should not use the device in 3D mode. Why?
If you have trouble perceiving 3D images tell your eye doctor.
Allaboutvision.com thinks the company is likely being cautious because of a lack of research on the effects of long-term 3D viewing on young children’s vision development. This may be a wise precautionary choice for parents, however the American Optometric Association (AOA) recently released a statement saying it is safe if the child’s visual system is developing normally. The AOA went on to suggest 3D viewing of movies, TV and the Nintendo 3DS may actually help diagnose subtle vision disorders, like convergence insufficiency, that should be corrected.
Some people have difficulty aligning their eyes to focus properly, or converging. It is a vision disorder that often goes undetected. Interestingly, this insufficiency can be especially noticeable during a 3D viewing experience. If you or your child has difficulty perceiving the 3D effect, experiences discomfort, or gets dizzy, you should tell Dr. Olson. An AOA survey suggests that as much as 25% of the population may have difficulty with 3D content, experiencing what is now being called “3D Vision Syndrome.” Treatment is available, so don’t hesitate to call and schedule an eye health & vision exam.
Optic nerve damage caused by glaucoma affects the visual field
Anyone can develop sight-threatening glaucoma. It’s the second leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization. But an eye doctor can detect it before significant vision loss begins. Glaucoma occurs when pressure inside the eye slowly rises, and this leads to optic nerve damage and vision loss. During every eye health exam we measure ocular pressure and use advanced visual fields technology to detect glaucoma as early as possible. Early glaucoma detection is one of many reasons why routine eye exams are so important, even when you’re seeing clearly.
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but some people are more at risk than others: African Americans over age 40; Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans; People with a family history of glaucoma; People who are severely near-sighted; Anyone with diabetes. For these people, it is especially important to have an exam at least once a year.
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but there are things we can do to minimize the risk of vision loss.
Follow recommendations for a healthy lifestyle to prevent obesity & diabetes, which can increase the risk of glaucoma. Exercise. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, specifically leafy greens and foods high in antioxidants. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol.
If you are prescribed eye drops for treatment of glaucoma, follow the prescribed regimen diligently. Non-compliance is a major reason glaucoma leads to blindness.
Early detection during an eye health exam is the best way to control the disease often called “the sneak thief of sight”. That’s why, based on your individual health and risk factors, Dr. Olson prescribes how often you should be examined.
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but we want to help you detect it early and prevent vision loss. Prevent Blindness American estimates that over 4 million Americans have glaucoma, but only half of those know that they have it. If you haven’t had a comprehensive eye health exam in the last year, call us today at 319.385.9534to schedule an appointment.
Having visited our practice you know that we care about our patients and about protecting your vision. We are also concerned about people around the world who lack access to vision care. Because of this, Complete EyeCare Center is participating in the World Sight Day Challenge.
The World Sight Day Challenge is a campaign coordinated by Optometry Giving Sight to raise funds for projects that provide vision care, local training and infrastructure support for people who are blind or vision impaired due to uncorrected refractive error â€“ simply the need for an eye exam and a pair of glasses.
Our practice will raise funds for the World Sight Day Challenge by matching the first $500 donated to this cause throughout the month of October.
Please join us in helping to give sight to people in need by making a donation of any amount. It’s easy to do. Just stop in our office, or donate online by clicking here. Sponsor Us
Together we can help transform lives. Here’s just one example:
Nlando was helped by Optometry Giving Sight
9 year old Nlando lives in a township in South Africa where the average family income is just $7 per day. Nlando struggled to see clearly until she received an eye exam and pair of glasses thanks to the support of Optometry Giving Sight. Having new glasses will enable her to learn at school. Because education can lead to freeedom from poverty, her future is likely to be much brighter.
Find out more about Optometry Giving Sightâ€™s World Sight Day Challenge at www.givingsight.org. (You can see a video of a young man who had spent years in a school for the blind, and is now studying engineering in a regular school because his vision problem was corrected by a pair of glasses!)
Tozal is one supplement for Macular Degeneration approved by Dr. Olson
June is Vision Research Month. The American Optometric Association website features an excellent summary of one of the most important vision research findings in recent years. Because of the AREDS studies Dr. Olson recommends supplements to certain at-risk patients. The AOA article follows:
In the last 20 years, eye health research has linked diet and nutrition with a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A major clinical study of older adults concluded that taking an antioxidant vitamin or mineral supplement significantly reduced the risk of advanced AMD progression in some people. Additionally, today there is significant evidence that vitamin D plays a role in preventing AMD.
AREDS Made it Clear
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was a major clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute. It enrolled 3640 subjects, age 55 to 80, and was released in October 2001. This landmark study provided evidence that nutritional intervention in the form of supplements could delay the progression of AMD. The study concluded that taking an antioxidant vitamin or mineral supplement reduced the risk of advanced AMD progression by about 25 percent and showed a 19 percent reduction in visual acuity loss in some of the subjects.
The Case for Lutein and Zeaxanthin
It was not clear in the original AREDS report which vitamin, mineral or combination of nutrients was responsible for reducing the risk of AMD. When the study was planned, the lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids that constitute the macular pigment were not assessed because they were not commercially available. Since then, several studies have provided growing evidence specific to the beneficial role of lutein and zeaxanthin intake, and their positive effect on eye health and AMD risk reduction. The AREDS Report No. 22 published in 2007 described the relationship between dietary intake of various nutrients and AMD among the AREDS subjects. This report concluded that high dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin is associated with a reduction in the risk of geographic atrophy, advanced AMD, and large or extensive intermediate drusen, the waste byproducts of cellular metabolism (activity).
New Study Builds on Long Term Nutrient Benefits
A follow up to the original AREDS trial, AREDS2, began in June 2008. This multi-centered, five-year study builds on a multitude of existing science supporting lutein and zeaxanthinâ€™s role in maintaining healthy eyes. It is the largest human clinical trial to evaluate lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids supplementation, and includes 4,000 patients at high risk for AMD. The study is focusing on the protective effects lutein (10 mg/day), zeaxanthin (2 mg/day) , and omega-3 fatty acids (1 g/day) have against AMD, as well as the link between nutrition and macular pigment optical density, cataract development and visual function.
Vitamin supplements selected by Dr. Olson for appropriate content and quality are available through Complete EyeCare Center–either in stock or direct-shipped to your home. Call 319.385.9534for an evaluation with Dr. Olson, or to inquire about whether you may benefit from these products.
…get headaches or blurred vision when using the computer?
…tire easily when reading?
…get car sick?
…get labeled as an “underachiever”?
The answers to these questions may indicate the need not only for vision correction in the form of eyeglasses or contacts, but the need for improved visual skills such as eye teaming, convergence, fixation, accommodation, or tracking. So much of learning is done visually, so a vision impairment can directly affect a child’s behavior and academic success.
Dr. Olson evaluates vision, eye health, and visual skills during a comprehensive eye exam. If he finds visual skill deficiency, vision therapy may help the patient with vision-related problems affecting learning.
Our office offers an in-home vision therapy program from HTS. After receiving instruction on how to use the program, parents have their child use their home computer to do therapy “games” approximately 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week. After 2-3 months they return for the doctor to review the results. This is often a sufficient amount of time to retrain the eye muscles to work properly.
We have heard success stories from many of our vision therapy patients. For more information, learn why 20/20 vision isn’t enough at the HTS website or call Complete EyeCare Center at 319.395.9534 for an appointment with Dr. Olson.
Complete EyeCare Center utilizes quality diagnostic instrumentation like the award winning Optovue RTVue
The RTVue visualizes the retina and underlying nerve fiber layers
When it was featured on Good Morning America in May 2007, the Optovue RTVue spectral OCT was one of only 100 worldwide. As soon as May 2008, Dr. Olson was introducing that same instrument to his patients in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, at Complete EyeCare Center.
The GMA reporter was “able to get access to one”, and you have that same benefit without traveling to a metropolitan center or university. Spectral OCT with the Optovue RTVue is a new generation of Optical Coherence Tomography for detection, classification, and management of ocular diseases and pathology.
Why should that interest you? Because this exciting tool has the ability to help Dr. Olson detect and treat progressive eye diseases at a much earlier stage. Slowing or stopping disease progression early means less likelihood of vision loss or blindness, and better health for you.
Several eye diseases, like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy have no symptoms in their early stages. But a skilled eye doctor using the RTVue can detect and manage them. Painless and quick, the ultra-high speed and high resolution features of the RTVue enable Dr. Olson to visualize retinal, anterior segment, and corneal tissue with ultra-high clarity.
Watch this interesting Good Morning America segment by clicking here.
Many eye problems can develop without you knowing. You may not even notice any change in your eyesight. But, diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal tears or detachments, and other health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure can be seen with a thorough exam of the retina. Until the optomap®, the only way to evaluate the retina for these abnormalities was to dilate the eyes–which can be time consuming and uncomfortable. Now a wide retinal image can be captured quickly and painlessly. Convenient for patients, while providing critical eye health information–that’s why we were the first in Iowa to introduce the technology!That’s also why optomap® technology was featured on an episode of the popular TV show “The Doctors.” (You can see the TV clip by clicking here.)
An optomap® Retinal Exam provides:
A scan to show a healthy eye or detect disease.
A view of the retina, giving Dr. Olson a more detailed view than he can get by other means.
The opportunity for you to view and discuss the optomap® image of your eye with Dr. Olson at the time of your exam.
A permanent record for your file, which allows the doctor to view your images each year to look for changes.
The optomap® Retinal Exam is fast, easy, and comfortable for all ages. To have the exam, you simply look into the device one eye at a time and you will see a comfortable flash of light to let you know the image of your retina has been taken. Your optomap® is immediately captured so Dr. Olson can evaluate and review it with you on a computer screen during your exam. Click here to see a video demonstration of the optomap experience.
Please schedule your annual optomap® Retinal Exam today by calling our office at 319.385.9534 .
It’s a sunny day in Mt. Pleasant, at least for now! During this spring’s activities I’ve been thankful for a good pair of sunglasses, whether I’m driving, doing yard work, or watching a high school tennis match. What a difference it makes in my comfort and enjoyment! If you are a contact lens wearer you especially know what I mean. We keep hearing more and more about the necessity of proper sun protection, for your skin and your eyes.
I’ll let you in on a little known fact. We have an expanded selection of great sunwear right here in Mt. Pleasant, in our eyewear gallery. Why not stop in and try some on during your lunch break today? If you’re interested in prescription sunwear, we have that too. (In fact, this Saturday you can save $50 on a pair of prescription sunglasses, during our annual Fashion & Eyewear Event!)
If there’s one way you can save your vision over your lifetime, it’s by wearing good quality sunglasses now. Whether it’s summer or winter, sunny or overcast, ultraviolet exposure can damage your eyes. Premature cataracts, the clouding of the lenses, and macular degeneration are the greatest concerns. UV damage has also been attributed to some eye growths and can affect the structures inside the eye.
When choosing sunglasses, cheaper is not better. Dark colored lenses without adequate UV protection can dilate your eyes allowing even more harmful light into the eye through your enlarged pupil. So don’t skimp on eye protection, especially for children, whose eyes are more sensitive. (Some studies estimate that 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs before age 18.) Sunglasses found on discount store racks may claim UV protection, but the triacetate material many of them are made of only absorbs about 40% of UV rays, and they often distort the light passing through them which can negatively impact vision and performance. We can show you the superiority of the optical quality polycarbonate and polarized sunglass lenses with 100% UV protection.
This March, during Save Your Vision Month, we’re encouraging you to upgrade your sunglasses. We’ve expanded our sunwear selection just as the weather begins to beckon us outside. So consider a new look and new protection for your eyes this year. It could save you from compromised vision or costly surgery in the future.
You’ve broken out the new calendar, or at least turned the page to a new year. Are you wondering where 2008 went? None of us seems immune to this syndrome, perhaps a sign of the busyness of our culture. So, it should come as no surprise that you’ve probably underestimated how long it’s been since your last eye exam.
Not all people need a comprehensive eye health exam every year. Every two years can be adequate for people who are not considered “at risk”. Having said that, children and students may need more frequent care since their eyes are growing and changing quite rapidly. That’s why it’s important for parents and teachers be educated to recognize signs of vision problems in children.
So who needs to been seen at least annually? Those over age 60, contact lens wearers, anyone who has had eye surgery, people who take prescription or non-prescription drugs that can have ocular side effects, diabetics, anyone with high blood pressure, those who have a family history of ocular disease (such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc.), those who work in occupations that are visually demanding or with eye hazards, children with a high refractive error, an eye turn, or eyes with unequal refractive power, children born prematurely, with low weight, or through difficult or assisted labor, children who received oxygen as newborns, children with family history of certain diseases, and people with other health concerns or conditions. (Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list, and some conditions require more frequent monitoring.)
After examining and talking with you, Dr. Olson will make a recommendation about how long it should be until you have your next eye health exam. Our first concern is your health, so we help you keep on track with convenient scheduling and reminders tailor-made to your situation. But we won’t be surprised if your response is, “Has it really been a year?”
You can rack up holiday shopping savings very quickly by purchasing your eyewear at Complete EyeCare Center’s downtown Mt. Pleasant, Iowa office. Not only that, you could win a prize valued at $300 or more! We are participating in Main Street Mt. Pleasant’s “Get Punched” promotion, which starts November 3rd, 2008. For each $100 you spend at participating businesses, take your completed punch card to the Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber office to receive a free gift certificate worth at least $5 to spend downtown, plus a chance to win the weekly prize. That’s an automatic reward of at least 5% on your purchase, perhaps more! Large weekly prizes will be awarded November 14th, 21st, December 5th, 12th, and 19th. You can have a new look for the holidays, and these added bonuses, by getting those new eyeglasses or contacts you’ve been wanting now!
If your Halloween costume includes theatrical contacts, like Wild Eyesâ„¢ brand lenses, make sure you keep in mind that all contact lenses are medical devices. They must be prescribed by an eye doctor because if they are not properly fit, or are worn improperly, they can cause serious eye problems. That goes for all contacts–even lenses that do not corrective power in them.
Lens sharing is a temptation with theatrical lenses, but infectious keratitis can be transmitted by doing this. It can also begin when a particle under a contact lens scratches the eye, lenses are improperly cleaned, or worn too long. Keratitis causes eye pain, redness, decreased vision and sensitivity to light. Untreated, it can develop into a corneal ulcer–an open sore on the cornea. This requires emergency medical treatment because corneal ulcers may spread and can lead to partial or complete blindness in a short period of time.
Theatrical contacts can be a fun part of your Halloween costume, when properly prescribed and worn. Just remember it’s not worth it to sacrifice your eye health for the momentary effect. We can fit you with these unique lenses, and provide training on proper care and wear regimens so you have a safe and comfortable Halloween. Wild Eyesâ„¢ lenses from Complete EyeCare Center include the following designs: Jaguar, Zebra, Cateye, Knockout, Black-out, White-Out, Red Hot, Wildfire, Zoomin’, Icefire, and Hypnotica.
The colored part of your eye, called the iris, is what controls the amount of light that is allowed to enter the eye. When your eyes dilate, the iris retracts and the central opening, or pupil, enlarges, letting more light in. This automatically occurs when you are in darkness, and to a limited degree, when you are relaxed and happy. Eye doctors can also provoke this response with dilation drops to get a wider view of the eye’s interior features.
Eye color is primarily determined by melanin within the iris stroma. Interestingly, just as the ultraviolet component of sunlight triggers melanin production in the skin, it can affect the iris’s melanin content and cause subtle eye color changes. Melanin is absent in the iris of a person with albinism so the iris may appear pink as blood vessels in the back of the eye are reflected through it.
Some clinical studies have examined the relationship between iris color, race, and age-related macular degeneration. There seems to be a higher prevalence of the disease in people with light-colored eyes and skin. Sunglasses with UV protection are highly recommended for everyone, but especially for those who fall into this potential risk group.
If you have green eyes, you are a rare breed. Statistically, green eyes are found in only 1 to 2 percent of all people. Brown eyes are by far the most common eye color. More than 50% of the population shares that trait. Brown is followed by hazel–a blend of brown and green or amber. Blue eyes are significantly less common than either brown or hazel, yet it is predominant in certain geographic areas.
Your eye color may have been different when you were born. Some Caucasian newborns have blue eyes that change as melanin production increases during the first year of life. Eye color often stabilizes by the time an infant is 6 months old. By the age of 3, the eyes produce and store enough melanin for the color to be fully established.
If you are not completely satisfied with the color of your eyes, there are now contact lens products that can enhance or even change them. Most enhancement tints have transparency so they work best on light-colored eyes. Opaque lenses allow even those with dark eyes to have a new look. A wide variety of both types are available in our office. (Call 319.385.9534to schedule contact lens exam.)
Theatrical contact lenses are typically opaque and create special iris effects such as the appearance of a cat-eye shaped iris, or a white iris. These are often popular with people wanting a dramatic costume effect for Halloween. Watch for an upcoming post with more information about these lenses.
Video magnifiers utilizing closed circuit television are a wonderful aid to people with low vision, but because of their large size they aren’t portable. One unique product, the “Jordy”, can be worn like glasses for portable use, and can also be placed in a stand at home or work and used with any monitor. This flexibility means you can read, write, or see no matter where you are.
Jordy contains a small, high-resolution camera that magnifies up to 30 times. Jordy’s auto-focus feature allows you to follow an object in motion–near, far or in-between. In the optional stand, it can provide 50x magnification.
“Jordy Glasses” are available for purchase at Complete EyeCare Center, along with other Enhanced Vision products including Merlin, Max, Nemo and Amigo. You can try them for yourself in our Mt. Pleasant, Iowa office. Dr. Olson is pleased to offer patients this advanced low vision technology. To learn more about Jordy and other low vision products, call our office today at 319.385.9534.