Float Your Lens

Contact lens wearers frequently assume the only reason to use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops is if their eyes or contact lenses feel dry.  And, if that only tends to happen at the end of the day, many contact lens wearers  just grit it out until they remove their lenses.

So here’s  4 reasons why contact lens wears should use contact lens rewetting drops more often:

1.  Float Your Lens – Your cornea sloughs off epithelial cells just like your skin does.  These cells can can stick to the inside surface of your lens resulting in inflammation and irritation to your eyes.  Inserting an eye drop allows your lens to float.  This action helps to clean out cellular debris between your cornea and the lens.

2.  Clear Your Lens – Wetting drops inserted while your lenses are in your eyes will help remove filmy build up on your lenses.

3.  Rehydrating Your Lenses – Lenses that are dry cause blurry vision.  Rehydrate your lenses and your optics will be better!

4. Your Eyes Will Look Better –  Float Your Lens, Clear Your Lens, Rehydrate Your Lens and you are less likely to have contact lens related red eyes.

For our patients at GH Eye I generally recommend Blink Contacts or Refresh Plus Preservative Free eyedrops for use with contact lenses.

If you wear contact lenses overnight it is particularly important to “Float Your Lens” at bedtime and when you awaken.  If you inadvertantly fall asleep with your lenses in, be sure to insert a wetting drop when you awaken. Dehydrated lenses that stick to your eyes while you sleep are a leading cause of contact lens related eye problems, some of which can be serious.

Be sure to call your eye doctor if you experience redness, blurry vision, eye pain, light sensitivity or discharge from your eyes.

Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik/refractive surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area of Virginia.  GH Eye also has a superb collection of frames and high tech lenses.  



Treating Dry Eye at GH Eye

Dry Eyes have been getting a lot of media attention. Even the Wall St. Journal recently published a detailed article “Why There Are More Dry Eyes in the House These Days” in their July 9, 2013 issue! There are probably about ten times the number of articles on dry eye in current eye care journals than there were ten years ago.

Why all the interest? One of the reasons is that how we diagnose and treat Dry Eye has become much more precise. Years ago, treatment was pretty much limited to handing the patient whatever bottle of lubricant eyedrops the last pharmaceutical rep left. That’s all changed because there has been so much more research into the causes and treatments of dry eye.

In addition to much more problem specific lubricating eye drops and ointments, we can also prescribe prescription eyedrops such as Restasis, Topical Steroid eyedrops such as Lotemax, Punctal Occlusion techniques and we even use low dose oral antibiotics such as doxycycline. Several pharmaceutical companies have new treatments for dry eye syndrome in the works.

The person who has dry eye corneal irritation because they sleep with their eyes partially open needs a different dry eye treatment than the patient who has arthritis related dry eye – or allergy related dry eye – or Lasik related dry eye – or corneal surface irregularity dry eye – or ‘meibomian gland dysfunction’ dry eye. We now have the ability to diagnose and treat different types of dry eye.

The most typical complaint we hear from people who have dry eyes is that there is a gritty sensation in their eyes. It may even feel as if there is something in your eye. Many people are surprised to find out that dry eyes can cause vision to be blurry. And, people who have both dry eyes and eye allergies are particularly uncomfortable.

For patients who have dry eye and/or allergic eye symptoms, I recommend an Ocular Surface Evaluation. This examination includes a detailed history and a determination as to whether the cause of your dry eye is excess evaporation of tears, inadequate production of tears, or is related other problems that can affect dry eye symptoms. This type of exam is typically covered by medical insurance (not vision plan insurance).

Whether your dry eyes are mildly annoying or very uncomfortable, we can help.

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


Seeing vs. Seeing As Well As You Can

Google Glasses are in the news. These are eyeglasses with a smart pad embedded in the frame. They’re clever, expensive and available to select trendsetters.  But I think that  what should be in the news is that there are millions of Americans who go to school, work or drive with sub-optimal vision.

The saddest moments in my practice occur when I examine people no longer capable of clear vision because of eye disease or injury. The happiest moments occur when a patient picks up new glasses or contact lenses and sees clearer than they have in a long, long time.

But in between the people who may never be able to see clearly again and the people who are thrilled with their amazing  new vision correction, are a whole lot of people who are “seeing” — but not “seeing as well as they can”. This can include people who:

1. Have not had an eye exam in a long time

2. Have their eye exam performed by a doctor who makes minimal effort to fine tune the prescription or discuss current lens technology

3. People who increase the font, purchase over the counter reading glasses, or get bigger tv’s. Seeing magnified images may enable them to do a task like work on a computer or watch tv. But it does not provide the same comfort level as seeing a properly focused image through the best possible vision prescription. It’s amazing how much vision compromise people put up with because they just don’t realize how much clearer their world can be!

4. People who have had Lasik or Cataract Surgery several years ago. Their vision may have gradually changed but they have gotten out of the habit of seeing an eye doctor.

Passing a DMV or school screening means the person simply has MINIMUM required vision. Now wouldn’t you rather share the roads with people who see 20/20 and not just the minimum that DMV requires? And wouldn’t you rather have your doctors, plumbers, accountants, teachers, bus drivers or anyone else whose services you or your family use have perfect vision rather than “minimum” clarity? If an attorney is charging by the hour, I sure hope his or her vision is as efficient as possible. And if a contractor is reading a blueprint, I sure hope he is seeing all that tiny print really well.

I recently had the disconcerting experience of being in a doctor’s office where it was evident the doctor made an error because his vision was not as clear as it should be. When I mentioned he needed an eye exam, he just sort of said that he was ok because he has one eye that sees well at distance and the other eye works for reading and close vision. This doctor was confusing “seeing” with “seeing as well as he can”. He should have known better – but after many years as an eye doctor, I know how often I see people who have spent years not seeing as well as they can.

Vision is precious. Enjoy clear vision by having regular eye exams and utilizing today’s amazing frame, lens and contact lens technology. Be the best that you can be by seeing the best that you can see!

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


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.

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!






Astigmatism Myths and Facts

Myth: You can’t wear contact lenses because you have astigmatism
Fact: Either you were told that a long time ago or you were told that by a doctor who did not like to fit astigmatism contact lenses.

Myth: 1 Day disposable contact lenses are not available for astigmatism correction
Fact: Vistakon (Acuvue), CooperVision and Ciba each manufacture a daily disposable lens that corrects for astigmatism
*Additional Fact*: Some of my happiest patients are 1 Day Disposable Astigmatic Contact Lens Wearers!

Myth: You can’t have Lasik Surgery because you have astigmatism
Fact: At GH Eye we co-manage astigmatic Laser Vision Correction patients with TLC Laser Center surgeon Dr. Andy Holzman. We make sure we consider ALL important factors (not just astigmatism) that make laser refractive surgery successful.

Myth: Post cataract surgery intraocular implants cannot correct for astigmatism.
Fact: Yes they can!

Whether you choose Eyeglasses, Contact Lenses, Lasik Surgery or Post-Cataract Intraocular Implants to correct Astigmatism — the key to maximizing vision success is accuracy of measurement and precision of correction.

A is for Astigmatism

The word ‘Astigmatism’ is sticky. Patients hear it from an eye doctor and they remember.

The simple definition of astigmatism is to think football instead of baseball. Non-astigmatism corrections are considered ‘spherical’ – like a round ball. Astigmatic corrections have 2 curvatures – like a football.

Improper astigmatism correction reduces clarity and can cause eyestrain. The interesting thing is I’ve seen this happen with small amounts of astigmatism that may have been missed, and large amounts of astigmatism that are improperly corrected.

Properly correcting astigmatism requires the following steps:
1. The doctor needs to take enough time to refine the prescription. If your doctor quickly dials in a prescription and does not take much time to refine it, you may not be getting a prescription for seeing the best that you can see.

2. Frame and lens selection is critical. There is a vast difference in optical clarity between different lens materials. What works for one type of astigmatism prescription, may not work well for another. And, proper frame selection is critical for maximum visual clarity, comfort and appearance.

3. Glasses should be verified for accuracy.

4. Glasses need to be adjusted properly in order to optimize vision and comfort. I recommend patients come in every 3 to 4 months for glasses adjustment and maintenance.

Our next post will go over the newest and latest info about Astigmatism and Contact Lenses!

Any questions? Just call me at 571-445-3692!

Yours, Dr. Ally Stoeger

Summer Eye Safety Tips

1. Safety glasses are essential when using lawn mowers, week wackers, etc. That’s because small pieces of rock, glass, etc can turn into projectile missiles when kicked up by your lawn mower and headed for your eyes. These types of injuries can enter the interior of the eye and cause permanent damage. More than one retina specialist (the doctors who fix these injuries) has stated he or she would never mow a lawn again.
2. Beware the Bungee Cord. Give it your undivided attention so that no way, no how will it snap towards your face!
3. Remove your contact lenses before a long flight. A patient once told me that cabin air is dryer than desert air. (just one of the many things I have learned from my patients!) I have no idea if that’s true but you do not want to land at your destination with red eyes or have to look for an eye doctor before going to hour hotel.
4. Spray sunscreens can cause nasty chemical eye abrasions. My suggestion – use lotion. If you do use spray, don’t let your kids point and spray.