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.


 

Vision Plan Facts

If you have a Vision Plan, there’s a good chance GH Eye and Dr. Ally Stoeger are providers for your plan. We see patients who have Vision Service Plan (VSP), Eyemed, Davis Vision, Spectera and other vision plans.

One of the benefits for patients who have a Vision Plan is that whether they are examined at an optical store — or whether they are examined at a technologically advanced private practice like GH Eye — fees are determined by their VIsion Plan Benefits.   The bottom line is that patients are pleasantly surprised to find it costs about the same to have their eyes examined at GH Eye as it does to be examined at a big box store optical!

We’re fortunate to have a large number of patients tell us how much they appreciate having a private practice alternative.  

When national retail opticals and big box opticals first appeared on the landscape, the perception was that their prices on exams and glasses were much lower than private practice eye doctors.  But Vision Plans and other changes have leveled the field.   In fact, while private practice doctors have lowered many of their fees, some “discount” opticals have quietly raised theirs.  

If it’s been a while since you’ve had an eye exam by a private practice eye doctor, schedule your next appointment at GH Eye, and see the difference.

If you have a medical eye problem, we accept most medical insurance plans (Anthem, CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield, Aetna, United Health Care, Medicare).  Vision Plans do not cover medical eye problems, but medical insurance plans do.

If you don’t have a Vision Plan, don’t worry —  just ask us how you can benefit from our GH Eye Club program! 

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 eye care 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.   



 

 

 

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.”

Fact-Check:
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.