Glasses of Binyon – A Clark Family of Four-Eyes

Sometimes (Often) glasses run in the family…

whatcom falls family binyon vision center glasses

When I contacted Shelly Clark about photographing her family for the latest “Glasses of Binyon” blog she responded- “Could we meet at Whatcom Falls Park? We kind of live right in the park.”  I thought that might mean on the road leading into the park but as Kevin works for the Department of Fishery for Washington State- they literally live in the park.  It was a joy to watch the family in their backyard and picture the kids growing up in one of Bellingham’s most beautiful parks.  Kevin, Shelly, Chester and June have been patients of Dr. McEathron’s for many years and they each have unique and interesting stories about their journey with their glasses.

Let’s start with Chester.

whatcom falls family binyon vision center glasses

Shelly tells me he’s worn glasses for as long as she can remember.  His first eye exam was when he was four years old- with concerns of family history of nearsightedness.  Shelly remembers this appointment vividly- that Dr. McEathron kindly recommended they try again the following year when Chester knew more letters.  He received his first pair of glasses the next year and Shelly comments that he’s always taken very good care of his glasses- probably because he’s “blind as a bat” without them.  His high astigmatism doesn’t make him a great candidate for contact lenses- but he wears glasses well and appreciates the help from the opticians to find him a great fitting pair that is stylish.

Shelly was also proactive with an early eye exam for daughter, June.

When she was 5 she sat in Mom’s lap for her first eye exam.  The next few years she came in for regular checks- but Dr. McEathron found no need for glasses.  As 3rd grade rolled around, some reading struggles were noted.  We made some reading glasses, but Dr. McEathron also recommended a consultation for vision therapy.  June now sees Dr. Bearden at Optometric Physicians Northwest to help with excessive convergence.  She wears her reading glasses for close work but with the improvement she’s seeing in vision therapy, she might not need them for much longer.

Shelly recalls Kevin coming home with his first pair of glasses in 2012 andwhatcom falls family binyon vision center glasses being amazed…

at what he had been missing out on because he couldn’t see!  He spends a lot of time outdoors- so he tried Transitions darkening lenses but didn’t like the amount of time it took for them to change back to clear- so he invested in his first prescription sunglasses made by Maui Jim.  He describes those as the ultimate treat- and necessary for his work around bodies of water to be able to see clearly through the glare.

whatcom falls family binyon vision center glassesI saved my favorite story for last!

Shelly was very nearsighted and had Lasik performed in 2010 and was glasses free for 4 years after wearing them since she was a little girl.  She remembers the news that she would need glasses again as being disappointing – “It’s because I’m getting older right?” she asked Dr. McEathron.  “Well, it’s because you keep having birthdays,” explained Dr. M.  Shelly loves how he took her negative and turned it into a positive.  She says she’s fine wearing them now and even likes them!  When she lost her glasses she got the same frame in another color.  This was smart because she found the lost glasses again and now has two very cute similar but different color frames!

https://kids.optometricphysiciansnw.com/our-services/vision-and-learning

It was a fun adventure to get to know this family better in their beautiful back yard and hear about their unique glasses experiences.  A special thank you to Shelly, Kevin, Chester and June for sharing their glasses stories and to Katheryn Moran of Katheryn Moran Photography for taking this awesome family’s pictures!

Kid’s Eye Exams – All the Facts!

Eye Exam – add this to your Back to School checklist!

Back to school season is upon us, which means your list of to-do’s is <hopefully> getting shorter by the day.  Make sure to include scheduling your kid’s eye exam! Researchers say up to 10 percent of preschoolers and up to 25 percent of school-age children have vision disorders that can affect learning. Routine eye exams are essential to making sure kids have the visual skills needed to thrive in the classroom!

Kids are especially visual learners, and they can’t learn what their eyes can’t see! Therefore, healthy vision is key in order for them to learn to their fullest potential.

What to Expect in a Kid’s Eye Exam

Kid's Eye Exams are an important part of back to school! Photo by Binyon Vision CenterThere are several things your optometrist will check for when you bring your child in for their eye exam. The first tests are looking for refractive errors including nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness.  Next is looking for astigmatism: when the shape of the eye causes blurriness, and amblyopia: when one eye is weaker than the other. Amblyopia (also known as “lazy eye”) is the most common cause of vision problems in children, most easily treated when young. The optometrist will check how eyes move, if they line up right and track together, and how they react to changes in light and darkness.

If your younger child doesn’t have confidence in letter recognition, the doctor presents easily recognizable for vision testing.

Kid's Eye Exams are an important part of back to school! Photo by Binyon Vision Center

Doesn’t the school test vision?

School vision screenings are less likely to catch farsightedness or astigmatism- which can have a negative affect on academic performance.  Students in Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Nebraska are required by law to have comprehensive eye exams by an optometrist or ophthalmologist before kindergarten.  In Washington state, any student who fails the vision screening test is required to have a comprehensive eye exam.  The child must bring signed proof of the exam to the school nurse.  This is a great start- but in our experience we have seen several misleading test results. This makes us a little concerned there are kids out there who need glasses that the vision screening didn’t catch.

Kid's Eye Exams are an important part of back to school! Photo by Binyon Vision Center

A prescription for glasses is the potential output of an eye exam. If your child needs glasses, you are starting them off on the right foot for academic success in the 2018-2019 school year!  Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Kid's Eye Exams are an important part of back to school! Photo by Binyon Vision Center

The Things Patients Say…

We have the unique opportunity to be present for an awesome “WOW!” moment in many peoples’ lives… the moment the world becomes clear!  Inspired by the adorable viral video last year of a baby seeing her mom for the first time (see here) the Binyon team would like to present our first edition of patient talk…

The Things Patients Say

“Everything is so sharp – I haven’t taken them off!” – – C, who thought she just needed her glasses for driving and wouldn’t wear them often
“I can see the points on the stars!” – – O (10 years old) about the star stickers on the ceiling of his bedroom

patient feedback on glasses and eyewear“I can see raindrops on the cars!” – – K, after putting on her contacts for the first time

 

<< QUIET … then big smile >> – – 10 month old C who was crying crying crying as Christie put her first pair of glasses on and she looked at her mom
“The roof has lines on it.” – – J, first time contact lens wearer talking about the shingles

patient feedback on glasses and eyewearI can’t believe how trees look- I can see the leaves when before it was a big blob of green.” – – R, 11 years old, first time glasses wearer

“Dr. McEathron – you saved my marriage – you showed my husband how the world looks when I don’t have my glasses on and he’s so much more understanding now.” – – L, 63 years old, very nearsighted
“I can see the mole on your face Mommy!” – – L, 8 years old when asked what she could see with her new glasses
“OH! Where did all those wrinkles come from!” – – C, 52 years old, putting on her first progressive lenses

 

A new world appears with clear vision – are you seeing to your full potential?  Come on in!  We’d love to share a WOW moment with you, and add your patient talk to this list!

Seven Reasons to NOT Buy Glasses Online- Part 1

I read a blog post recently – “How to save money like by thinking like a millennial” (credit here) with interesting tips like opening a checking account that refunds all your ATM withdrawal fees, signing up for Amazon Prime and downloading the browser extension coupon finder Honey.  Then I reached – “Stop getting ripped off on glasses by getting Warby Parkers.”

Hmm…

Companies over the eyewear industry cut cost and quality for high margins. This has created distrust of the eyeglasses prescription dispensing by brick and mortar optical retailers.

But when you see a cost difference of $39 for online glasses to over $200 from a store- you at least wonder why.  I’d like to say the differences and convince you that even for $39… online glasses are not worth it.

Seven Reasons to NOT Buy Online Glasses

1. Standards do not apply

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has developed 14 standards. These describe the acceptable degree of error in a pair of eyeglasses, to the written prescription by the doctor.  Here’s an example:

If your prescription is -2.50 in your right eye, the acceptable range of power for the lens is -2.13 to -2.63 (±0.13).

What do these numbers mean?  With every click of the phoropter when the doctor is measuring your prescription and asking “Which is better, 1 or 2?” there is a change of 0.25 diopter.

A summary of the standard for making lenses can be found here.  The standards are developed by a team of doctors and manufacturers to show what is acceptable to the patient’s visual needs.

When a prescription is outside of this standard, you won’t see as clearly.  Imagine using a pair of binoculars to see something in the distance- turning the dial until you see the image clearly.  Then you move the dial even slightly one direction or another.  That’s how wearing a prescription that’s not close enough can feel.  Less than perfect vision is already a disadvantage. And, it also has potential effects such as eyestrain, headaches or double vision.

For children, wearing the wrong prescription can have even worse consequences. Due to their visual system developing, the wrong prescription could cause one eye to work harder than the other. This could throw off the eye’s ability to work together and a muscle imbalance could lead to amblyopia (lazy eye).

At our office, we use a lensometer to double check every pair of glasses that is ordered to the doctor’s prescription. We reject any lenses that are outside of tolerance.  Do online retailers do this?  According to a study performed by the American Optometric Association (see here) where 154 online glasses were ordered and analyzed, 29% of these had an incorrect prescription.

One out of every 3.5 pairs of glasses that ships out from an online retailer will not have an accurate prescription.

Every pair of glasses that is dispensed by our opticians will have a prescription within the tolerances laid out by the ANSI standards.

2. Duty to Warn

Optometrists have a professional and legal “duty to warn” patients about the proper use and safety issues associated with ophthalmic products (aka glasses and contacts).

So, it is important to have an optical professional- an optometrist or licensed optician to provide educated recommendations for lens materials and lens options. Therefore, this will protect one of our most valuable assets- our eyes.

Thankfully there are also manufacturing standards in place to address the integrity of glasses lenses. How do glasses purchased from an online retailer match up to the safety standard?  Not well.  Because, in the same study by the American Optometric Association referenced above, 23% of online glasses failed impact resistance testing.

Almost 1 in 4 online glasses do not pass ANSI safety standards for impact resistance.

Definition of failure of the impact resistance test?  Cracks through the entire lens thickness into two or more pieces.

3. Those licensed dispensing opticians?  Armed with knowledge and experience.

An average conversation about lens styles, lens materials and lens options at our office is at least ten minutes long.  An optician should ask lifestyle questions about how you use your eyes and what your visual needs are. Then, will make recommendations on which lens will be best for you.  Explaining the benefits of different lens materials in relation to your prescription helps you make a good decision between Trivex and Hi-Index plastic.  A conversation about how you care for your glasses will help the optician recommend the best anti-reflective (non-glare) coating.

Becoming a licensed dispensing optician is a three year apprenticeship program in Washington state.  After a written and practical exam, an apprentice becomes a licensed optician.

Licensed opticians bring experience and knowledge to help each patient make educated decisions on their individual eyewear needs.

Even Siri doesn’t have the answer to which progressive lens will work best all week at the computer or Saturday at the golf course.

In the next blog post, we will continue with an additional 4 reasons. Finally there is only one good reason to buy online glasses as stated above. You will save money on the initial purchase.

I hope you take our reasons to not buy online glasses into consideration before making a decision to purchase them.  Furthermore, the purpose of glasses is to help you see. They shouldn’t cause harm to your vision or put your eyes at risk in the process.  Please carefully weigh your options and let us know if you have any questions!

Thank you and have a great day!

Back to School!

The First Exam of the Year Should be an Eye Exam!

children's eye exams for back to schoolAs you’re preparing for the upcoming school year, it’s important to make sure a comprehensive eye examination is on the family’s to-do list.  Kid’s vision can change dramatically from one year to the next and 80% of learning is experienced through vision.  Therefore, a thorough eye exam is a necessary step to making sure your child is ready for the school year!

The Affordable Health Care Act designates Kid’s Vision as one of the ten essential health benefits.  What does that mean to you?

Qualified health plans must include benefits for an annual comprehensive eye exam and vision materials (glasses or contact lenses) for members 18 years old and younger.

Please give us a call today with your insurance information and we can check on the details of your plan!

We want to help you get ready for back to school!

During the month of September…

  • Come visit Dr. McEathron or Dr. Hoekstra for your annual eye exam
  • Order one complete set of glasses or an annual supply of contacts (may be covered by insurance- call us and we can check!)
  • PICK YOUR SAVINGS!  Either:
    • The lenses for your back-up glasses will be discounted 50%
    • OR…
    • Receive complementary Transitions® lenses! ($100 value)children's eye exams for back to school