Resolution Revolution

This time of year people start to think about Resolutions.  As an eye care professional, I not only think about the usual diet and exercise New Year Resolutions — I also think about Visual Resolution — as in the sharpest vision possible.

At GH Eye we’re using  lens technology that was not even available a few years ago!  It’s  a  Resolution Revolution because we are using Digitally Designed, Free-Form lenses from Essilor (Varilux), HoyaVision, and other manufacturers.   Combining these lenses with the best possible (2 year warranty!) anti-glare lens treatments results in our patients being thrilled with how well they see with their new glasses.  

The edge-to-edge lens clarity is especially noticeable for people who wear progressive multifocals;  people who have large differences in prescription between their right and left eye;  people who have high prescriptions;  people with significant astigmatism–or for anyone who wants the best possible optical clarity.

But consumer beware — there are retailers who market lenses that sound  hi- tech — but aren’t.  The only thing hi-tech about some of these lenses is their name (and their price). 

At GH Eye, you get the real thing.  We want our patients to have the best vision they are capable of having at the best possible price.  So come in for your eye exam & new glasses and join our Resolution Revolution!

Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations for all age groups, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area of Virginia. Her practice at GH Eye has a superb collection of  basic and high tech lenses and the latest in fashion frames for adults and children.   




Eyes and Weddings

If you are planning a Spring or Fall wedding, now is the time to think about……your Eyes! Here’s some suggestions for making sure you’re seeing clearly on your big day:

  • Schedule your eye examination at least three months before your wedding. That will give you time to decide if you want to get new glasses, contact lenses or consider Lasik surgery. It will also give your eye doctor a chance to make sure your eyes are healthy.
  • If you wear eyeglasses, consider a classic or rimless frame in a size proportional to your face. That type of frame will be less distracting in photos and will look less dated when you look at the photos years from now.
  • Avoid glasses with Transitions.  If some of your photos will be taken outdoors or near windows, your lenses will tint and you may not like how that  looks in your wedding photos.
  • Make sure your lenses have a high quality anti-glare / anti-reflection treatment.  Lesser quality lenses scratch and smudge too easily.
  • Consider using 1 day disposable contact lenses.  These types of lenses tend to be more comfortable and  are less likely to cause your eyes to be red and irritated.  Plus they are a lot easier to travel with since they don’t require solutions.
  • Suggest to family members who will be in your photos that they get  eyeglass frames adjusted a few days before the big event.  That way no one’s glasses look crooked in the photos!

Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations for all age groups, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area of Virginia. Her practice at GH Eye has a superb collection of  basic and high tech lenses and the latest in fashion frames for adults and children.   




Do Vision Screenings Fail Our Children?

Although vision screenings pick up children who have vision problems, not all children with vision problems are picked up on vision screenings.  Screenings easily detect children who are myopic (near-sighted).  But children with significant vision and eye problems can pass a vision screening test for the following reasons:

1.   Screenings may fail to detect children who cannot sustain clear and comfortable reading vision.  A child can pass a distance vision acuity test, yet still have vision problems that affect learning.  Many of these children are so accustomed to eyestrain and reading difficulty that they do not realize they are having a problem.

2.  Vision screenings pass children with 20/40 visual acuity or better.  That may have been acceptable 50 years ago.  It’s not acceptable in the visually complex world we now live in.   For optimum clarity and comfort, I would want my children seeing 20/20 and not a minimal standard of 20/40.

3.  Screenings miss children with anisometropia (an example of this is a child that has one eye that is far-sighted and the other eye is astigmatic).  I’ve seen children with as many as 10 steps difference between the right and left eye who have passed vision screenings!  A difference such as this can affect visual clarity, comfort, sports vision co-ordination and driving safety. These children often end up suppressing the vision of one eye.  That’s a heavy price to pay for relying on a vision screening instead of an eye exam.

4.  Screenings can miss children with hyperopia (far sighted).  Because of the extra focusing effort these kids have to make in order to see clearly, they may have trouble concentrating on schoolwork or they may decide they don’t “like” to read.

5.  Screenings can miss children with amblyopia (lazy-eye) where the amblyopic eye is 20/40 or better.

6.  Screenings can miss children with intermittent strabismus (eye turn).  These kids are visually uncomfortable  because of the instability of their visual system.

7.  Screenings can miss children with medical eye problems.  Unfortunately not every healthy child has healthy eyes.

8.   Some kids with significant astigmatism can still pass a vision screening.

A few days ago we were examining a mom and dad who happened to bring their grade school child with them.  Since we had an opening in our exam schedule, the parents of this child decided to have her eyes examined also.  What we found was that this young child — who had passed pediatrician and school screenings –had six “steps” (1.50 diopters) of astigmatism in each eye. She even had mild amblyopia (lazy eye).  Fortunately,  we will probably be able to eliminate the amblyopia with the use of the proper glasses prescription.

Our office can help parents check their vision plan benefits.  Most vision plans cover adults and children.

80% of learning occurs using vision.  It makes good sense to make sure your child has the best possible vision and healthy eyes.  Eye exams can do that; vision screenings can’t.

Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations (including children’s eye exams), medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area of Virginia. Her practice at GH Eye has a superb collection of  basic and hi-tech lenses and the latest in fashion frames for adults and children.






Pregnancy and Eye Exams

Almost every pregnant woman has read somewhere that pregnancy hormones can affect her glasses or contact lens prescription. Because of this a pregnant woman may delay necessary eye care.

I have found pregnancy usually does not affect glasses or contact lens prescriptions. In fact, pregnant women who delay their eye exam until after delivery, or after they finish nursing, may be putting themselves at risk for the following reasons:

1. Outdated eyeglass prescriptions can reduce driving safety

2. They may end up trying to squeeze an extra few weeks out of their last box of contact lenses. Wearing contact lenses longer than approved  can cause eye infections, changes in the delicate tissue under the eyelids that will make future lens wear less comfortable, and can even cause corneal damage.

3. Pregnant women should have eye exams to check the optic nerve and retina. At GH Eye we generally do not perform dilated eye examinations for pregnant patients. Instead, we use Optomap technology to get a wide angle panoramic view of the retina. This technology does not use any x-rays.  And, because their eyes are usually not dilated, pregnant patients feel safe driving home after their eye exam at GH Eye.

Comfortable eyeglasses with a current prescription are important because pregnant women are not permitted to wear contact lenses during delivery. Also, I recommend wearing glasses and not extended wear contact lenses during night feedings.

The good news is that unlike clothes or  shoes — the eyeglass frames that a pregnant woman purchases will still fit after delivery. So have fun with eyeglass fashion — buying eyeglass frames is like buying purses — won’t matter if you have added a size or two!

Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area of Virginia. Her practice at GH Eye has a superb collection of  basic and hi-tech lenses and the latest in fashion frames.

Laser Pointer Maculopathy

Based on a recent case report in the Review Of Optometry, it’s possible to get the same kind of permanent retinal damage from a laser pointer directed at your eyes as it is from staring at the sun. In this case, a teenager was pointing the laser pointer at the reflection of his eyes while looking in the mirror. The result was a loss of vision – not correctible with glasses, contacts, surgery or medication. Clinically, the retinal lesion was similar to the type of lesion we see in people have who stare at the sun.

We have had millions of years of evolution of eye/brain nerve fibers so that even babies won’t stare at the sun. Unfortunately, laser pointers sometimes look like regular flashlights and when children (or adults) play with them, they may not realize how serious they are. It’s not as uncomfortable to look at a laser pointer as it is to look at the sun, so there is probably not a quick enough reflex to turn away.

It’s nice to know that some problems have a really easy fix. Don’t buy laser pointers, don’t use them, don’t leave them where kids, friends or colleagues can pick them up and look into them because they think its just a penlight. It’s the rare power point presentation that would suffer (any more than they already do) without the help of a laser pointer.

Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area. Her practice at GH Eye has a superb collection of both basic and hi-tech lenses and latest fashion frames.

60 Minutes, Luxottica and GH Eye Pricing

60 Minutes reporters love to showcase businesses that may operate in a way that hurts the consumer. So it’s no surprise that we’ve had several patients mention the recent 60 Minutes story about Luxottica and eyeglass pricing. For those who are not aware – Luxottica owns LensCrafters, Pearle and optical locations in Target, Sears and JC Penney.

Since we are in an election season, the words “Fact-Check” have gotten a lot of press. So here’s my fact-check for the first point Leslie Stahl makes. Here’s the transcript:

“Have you bought a pair of glasses lately? Bet your eyes popped when you saw the price tag. If you don’t go to places like Walmart or Costco, you could easily be spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a pair that cost $30 ten years ago.”

1. Frames for the past 10, 20 and even 30 years have almost never been priced anywhere near the $30 range. My estimate is that the vast majority of frames in the past three decades–at Luxottica, at independent optometrists, and at most commercial retailers– were sold for $90 to $180 or higher.
2. Yes Walmart or similar big box stores carry some $30 frames. (In fact at GH Eye we have some frames at or below $30 as well). But most frames at Walmart and other big box stares are quite a bit higher than $30.
Bottom line – Leslie Stahl substantially underestimated what frames cost 10 years ago and substantially underestimated what frames now cost at Walmart and Costco.

GH Eye is an independent office not affiliated with any big box or shopping center retailers. We are, however, affiliated with a progressive network of 1500 optometrists nationwide who share clinical information and purchasing power. Unlike big box stores and other retailers we don’t have the overhead expense of district managers, regional supervisors, national headquarters, national advertising and shopping center rent.

In fact, should you purchase eyeglasses from our office and then find the identical product at a lower price within 30 days of purchase–as long as we can verify this as being in-stock pricing at an optical retail establishment within 30 miles of our office — we will refund the difference to you. And we’ll even get you a cup of Starbucks on us!

At GH Eye we have a great deal of technical expertise and a lot of fun in our optical department….but we want you to know we take your eyes very seriously. Whether you are here for an eye exam, eyeglasses or contact lenses, we have your back (and your eyes!).

Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik surgery co-management. Her practice at GH Eye has a superb collection of both basic and hi-tech lenses and latest fashion frames.

Understanding Eye & Vision Insurance

There’s almost nothing more important to your well-being than clear vision and healthy eyes. And there’s almost nothing more important to your budget than making sure that you use your health insurance benefits correctly. Unfortunately, patients rarely understand how their eye and vision insurance works.  Here’s a quick two question quiz on this topic:

1.  Jessica is in pain because something got in her eye while she was out running.  She has medical insurance but because she doesn’t wear glasses or contacts, she elected not to take the vision plan addition to her medical insurance.  Which of the following is correct:

A.  Since Jessica does not have a vision plan, she does not have insurance coverage to see an eye doctor to remove the particle in her eye.

B.  She has eye coverage if she sees an eye doctor on her medical insurance plan.

Correct answer:   B

Vision Insurance generally provides for a once a year visit for a routine annual eye examination. It does NOT cover medical eye emergencies or treatment for eye disease.  However, your medical insurance — even if you do not have vision insurance-will typically cover a medical eye condition (assuming you have met your deductible).  

2.  Jeremy has a vision plan and a medical health insurance plan. His vision has gotten blurry  and  his eyes are frequently red and irritated. He had to stop wearing his contact lenses but wants a prescription for new contacts and glasses. Jeremy is concerned that he has recently started seeing floaters in his vision. Which of the following is correct:

A. Jeremy’s Vision Plan will cover his examination for irritated eyes, blurry vision, new contact lens prescription, eye glasses and floaters.

B.   Jeremy’s new glasses and contact lenses will  be covered by his vision plan.

C.  Because he has a vision plan he will not have any  charges for contact lens fitting services.

D.  None of the above.

Correct answer:  D  None of the Above.  

Jeremy has multiple medical eye problems (eye irritation and floaters) and multiple vision needs (eyeglasses and contact lens fitting). He may need two or three visits.  He would probably use his Vision Plan for one visit and  his medical insurance plan to cover additional visits related to the red eye irritation and floaters.  

If Jeremy uses his Vision Plan to purchase eyeglasses, he may have additional fees for glasses if he upgrades from the basic frame and lens choices provided by his vision plan.  And, if he used his VIsion Plan to purchase eyeglasses, in most cases he  would need to pay out of pocket for contact lens fitting / evaluation and for his contact lenses. If he uses his Vision Plan for contact lens fitting, he will need to pay out of pocket for eyeglasses.

Even though contact lenses are not covered under medical eye insurance, if you have a contact lens related complication that causes infection or eye pain, it may be covered under your medical insurance and not your vision plan.

And there are a few medical insurance plans that do cover an annual eye examination, even if you do not have a Vision Plan, and even if you do not have a medical eye problem.

GH Eye accepts VSP, EyeMed, Anthem, Care First, United Health Care, Aetna and other plans.  As part of our service to the community, we will help you research your eye and vision care benefits coverage.

For patients who do not have vision plans, or who want to fill in the gaps of their vision plan coverage, we offer our exciting GH Eye Club program.

Perhaps the most important aspect of care at GH Eye is that we co-ordinate your vision and medical eye care — both in terms of the examination services you need to protect and preserve your vision, and in terms of your insurance.   We care for your eyes AND your vision.

GH Eye is conveniently located for patients who live in Gainesville, Haymarket, Warrenton, Manassas and surrounding areas.  We have morning appointments available as early as 7 AM for early birds; late afternoon appointments and Saturday appointments.  Come visit!






Haymarket Day 2012

The original name for our optometry practice was Gainesville-Haymarket Eyecare. Our eye care practice is located in Gainesville, Virginia but since folks from Haymarket can walk to our office for eye exams we decided both towns should be in there. But it didn’t take long to realize what you have probably already realized — the name was waaaaay too long. GH Eye was born.

GH Eye will be one of many participants in Haymarket Day 2012.  So visit our booth, say hello, and enter our Haymarket Day Contests! So far we have announced two Haymarket Day Contests, with two more yet to come! Contests are posted on our Facebook Page and winners will be announced at our Booth during Haymarket Day festivities.

Contest #1:  G is for Gainesville. H is for Haymarket. Eye is for Eye Care. Our first contest for Haymarket Day is WORD COMBO. It features a prize for a 2 word combination that starts with a G and then an H; the phrase should relate to wellness. An example is “Great Health”. Bonus points if the phrase also relates to eye care. Just bring the entries to our Booth or drop them by our office anytime before Haymarket Day on Sept 15. Pass this along to your Facebook friends! Winning entry receives free Anti-Glare treatment on their next pair of glasses + $25 we will donate to Winners favorite charity!

Contest #2:   What do you call someone in car #1 who is on a cell phone while driving, and who is oblivious to the driver in car #2 in the next lane trying to exit a highway. No profanities please. Bonus Points if the winning response has the word “vision” or “eye” in it. Winner receives free Transitions on their next pair of glasses + $25 donation to their favorite charity!

Check our Facebook Page for info on the additional two Haymarket Day contests that will be announced in the next few days. In addition to contests, we will also have Optos certificates and an amazing GH Eye Club promotion at our Booth. Visit us while you enjoy Haymarket Day!

What Your Eyes Say About Your Health

Yesterday, the Wall St Journal, in it’s Personal Journal section, reported something eye doctors have known for a long time–changes in the eye may signal diseases elsewhere in the body. These diseases include diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, cancer and others.

The article specifically discussed the benefits of this technology as a method of screening for many medical conditions. I’m happy to say that I have utilized Optomap technology in my optometry practice for over 10 years!

The Optomap instantaneously captures more than 80% of your retina in one panoramic image. More traditional methods show smaller sections of the retina at one time. Plus, Optomap technology allows us to store a digital record of your retina for future comparisons. Optomap is not the same as retinal photography. Typical retinal photographs can only view 30 degrees of the retina. Optomap can image 200 degrees – a huge difference! And, although a dilated view can show up to about 240 degrees – the quality of that view depends on how well the patient can hold their eye steady while bright lights are shining in their eye. and that’s only if the patient allows you to place dilating drops in their eyes.

Bottom line – Optomap and Dilation do not show exactly the same thing. The most comprehensive eye and medical health information occurs when I perform both Optomap and Dilation.
However, there are many patients who simply do not want to be dilated. Optomap is the very best technology for those patients. And, it’s a great test for kids.

Which tests we perform is always related to the patient’s eye health and medical history. What I find works best for many of our patients is to alternate – some years we perform Optomap testing and other years we perform dilation. That way we are always checking thoroughly, but getting slightly different information each time. Optomap is a powerful diagnostic tool and we are pleased to offer it at GH Eye!

Life After Lasik

When the “right patient” (we help you decide) meets the “right surgeon” (we team up with Dr. Andrew Holzman at TLC), Laser Vision Correction is liberating and wonderful.

But one of the things Lasik does not liberate you from is visiting your eye doctor.

5 Reasons Why People who have had Laser Vision Correction should schedule an Annual Eye Exam:

1. Retina Risk Your correction may no longer measure -5.00, or -3.25, or -7.50 — but your retina doesn’t know that! People who are moderately or severely myopic (near-sighted) have a higher susceptibility for retinal holes, tears and detachments. Whether they have had Laser Vision Correction or not, they should have a Dilated Eye Exam every one or two years (more frequently if there are risk factors)

2. Your Eyes Change. Just because you’ve had Laser Refractive Surgery does not mean that your eyes don’t change. You may benefit from a prescription for night driving. Or from a prescription that will make you more comfortable and efficient for using computers and digital devices. To be your best, see your best.

3. Your Body Changes. Many systemic conditions, and the medications used to treat them, can affect your eyes — whether you need glasses or not. People who are Diabetic, have Thyroid Disease, have a history of Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Auto-immune Disease, Hypertension and other medical problems should have a complete eye examination including a dilated view of the retina.

4. Glaucoma has been called the “silent thief of vision” because there are almost no symptoms prior to permanent loss of vision. For that reason, Glaucoma is typically diagnosed during an annual eye exam. Whether you have never needed glasses, or whether you do not need glasses because of laser correction, you are just as much at risk for Glaucoma as people who wear glasses.

5. Many people have dry eyes and /or allergies. When these conditions are not properly treated, both vision and comfort are affected. At GH Eye we treat dry eyes and allergies in pre-laser surgery patients and post-laser surgery patients.

As a service to our new patients, we can request pre-Lasik information from your previous eye doctor or laser surgeon. This is important information to keep on file in the event you require eye procedures (such as cataract surgery or a Lasik enhancement) later in life. If you have questions, give us a call!