Our patients love us because we love what we do. We are looking for an equally enthusiastic optician to join the team at Binyon Vision Center and help us serve more of the Bellingham community with amazing eyewear.
We have been taking care of eyes in downtown Bellingham since 1935. Our two doctors provide a thorough eye exam and our opticians guide patients through our independent frame lines and educate on the latest innovations in lenses. We’ll all argue Bellingham is the best place to live in the world and the community support for independent businesses is very strong.
As we grow we are excited to add to our team an optician apprentice or licensed dispensing optician with exceptional customer service skills. Optical experience is a plus, but we have on the job training available as well. An ideal fit for this position is someone with a passion for helping people and an eye for style. Our patients are our highest priority always, so excellent customer service is a must! Experience in customer focused jobs (retail, sales, food service, etc.) is mandatory. This is a full time position. We offer competitive salary based on experience, benefits and a matching 401k plan.
Primary responsibilities include but are not limited to:
– Assisting patients with frame and lens selection
– Prescription verification and dispensing
– Adjustments and repairs
– Inventory management
– Order placement
Experience with Crystal Practice Management, DVI and VSP billing is a plus. Optimal candidates will be passionate about eyewear, eyecare and delivering top service and quality products to our patients. Must be able to work as a part of a close-knit team. To apply for this position with Binyon Vision Center, please submit cover letter and resume here. Emails preferred, no phone calls please. Compensation depends on experience.
Job Type: Full-time
Pay: $17.00 – $23.00 per hour
Paid time off
8 hour shift
COVID-19 considerations: All staff must be fully vaccinated. Staff and patients must wear masks in the office.
Ability to commute/relocate:
Bellingham, WA 98225: Reliably commute or planning to relocate before starting work (Required)
When Top Gun was released in 1986, the next seven months saw a 40% boost on the sale of Aviator sunglasses (Goh, March 17, 2020). We won’t know the impact on the classic style’s popularity for a few months, but it’s safe to say that Top Gun: Maverick released May 27 ,2022 will spur another surge. It’s easy to see why – Aviators are ageless… a lot like the movie’s star who wears them so well – Mr. Tom Cruise himself.
The actual sunglasses worn in the movie are manufactured by Ray-Ban, a Luxottica-owned company that has enough dollars behind it to guarantee exclusivity in a movie with a production cost of $170M. It’s easy to find the frame model number online with a quick search, but, interestingly, another article (Homes, June 1, 2022) mentions the exact pair Tom wore was custom made for the star- not the model you would buy off the shelf.
How to Choose the Best Aviator Sunglasses for Your Face
Since even Tom Cruise had a custom pair of aviators made for his face, we know the subtleties in aviator design can make a big difference for which model looks best on your face. First let’s define what makes a pair of sunglasses “Aviators”
thin metal frames with double or triple bars across the bridge (piece across the nose, connecting the lenses)
large lenses, double or triple the size of the eyes
while many associate the teardrop shape with traditional Aviators, many of the current designs are more square, can even be round and more flattering
Speaking of shape – frames flatter face shapes in contrasts – a square or angular face is softened by a frame with rounder edges and a round face is flattered by an angular cat eye or square frame. Maintaining proper proportion with the size of the lenses is very important – look at the temple (side) pieces of a frame when it’s on your face – it should be about a finger width from your temples. If it’s touching your temples- it’s too small which is not good aesthetically or for comfort!
We often see in Aviators the oversized look going too far. If the lenses extend way beyond the edges of the face- it will not provide the best sun coverage – allowing bright rays to penetrate and reflect back into the eye and also look… too big. Thankfully many sunglasses manufacturers are manufacturing petite Aviator frames. One of our favorites is the Baby Beach by Maui Jim:
Thankfully with the popularity of the basic Aviator design- there are so many different styles- that will account for the shape and size suggestions we gave above. As we describe on our Frames page, working with independent eyewear manufacturers is important to us. We align with these companies’ patient-first mission and notice significant differences in quality and customer service compared to large corporate brands. If this is also important to you, here are some of our favorite independent manufacturers of Aviator sunglasses, available at Binyon Vision Center.
Independent Manufacturers of Aviator sunglasses
Maui Jim favorite styles: Baby Beach, Maverick (obviously), Cliff House
Each of you who trusts us with your eye health and glasses needs are invaluable to our business. From each of us – thank you to our patients. This month we celebrate YOU.
Our community’s support of local, independent businesses is above and beyond. Inspired by the “think local” campaign – we’ve put together a drawing with prizes from some of our favorite local businesses and multiple ways for our patients to enter!
Here are the ways you can earn entries to the drawing:
Purchase a year supply of contact = one entry
Order a new complete pair of glasses = one entry
Order multiple complete pairs of glasses – two pairs = three entries, three pairs = five tickets, four pairs = seven tickets
Optical supply kit – spray, fog spray, kim wipes, key chain screwdriver, Zeiss lens wipes, cleaning cloth (3 available)
2 tickets to Lockbreaker Escape Rooms
$10 in Farmers Market Bucks and Tea Towel
$10 Gift Card to Pure Bliss
Cute but Crazy Socks (4 available)
Gift Certificate for 2 orders of Pelmeni Dumplings
$20 Gift Certificate for Village Books
All qualifying purchases will be automatically added to the drawing throughout the month of April and the winner will be notified the first week of May! Thank you again for your incredible support of our business! We appreciate you!
Also! Keep a look out on our Instagram page for a special social media giveaway this month!
A recent very extensive, scientific poll of the broad audience of our Instagram followers revealed 13 out of 13 respondents had an increase in computer/device/screen time in the last two years that was directly related to the pandemic.
Well, it might not be from an extensive or scientific survey’s results – we do feel confident that a lot of us are staring at a computer or another type of screen for more hours per day than we did a few years ago. Or if someone is not – it’s possible they always did most of work on a screen. And that’s a key word too – working – we’re working on screens, staring at text, graphs, spreadsheets, zoom calls with less face to face meeting breaks or interruptions.
And your eyes are feeling it.
This topic is now brought up with almost every patient in the exam room with Dr. LeClaire and Dr. McEathron. Dr. LeClaire said the only patients she doesn’t talk about screen time with are the youngest ones! Our doctors have a few recommendations for helping your eyes cope with screen strain. They explain there are three main causes for the computer strain:
– fatigue in your eye muscles caused by staring at a fixed distance for long periods of time – irritated, dry eyes created by staring without blinking enough. Normally we blink every 4 seconds, on a computer it can be between 40 seconds between blinks! – the glare from devices causing additional visual strain
Here are some steps to take to address these three causes for eye fatigue directly:
Schedule an eye exam. There are two reasons this is a great first step, first – you might need a new prescription. Eye strain can change your prescription more quickly than usual. In addition, our visual needs at computer distance are often different than your needs for driving or reading. During an exam, the eye doctor will take a look at how screen time is affecting your eyes’ health and offer suggestions. As mentioned above, when we’re concentrating on a screen our blinking often lags behind what our eyes need to stay hydrated, healthy and feeling good. The symptoms you experience and the doctor will observe are dry eye indicators. The doctor will be able to tell by taking a close look at your eyelids and cornea and make a recommendation for lubricating drops (many are over the counter!) and how often to use them to help your eyes. In Whatcom County? Schedule an eye exam with our doctors here.
Take frequent breaks. It’s hard to remember as we work away, so we recommend setting a timer. Set your watch or phone for 20 minutes and every time it beeps, look away for twenty seconds and hit the reset button on the timer to start again. A common rule is 20-20-20, every 20 minutes look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. During this short rest time, concentrate on taking intentional full blinks. Blinking fully and more often will activate the oil glands in your eyelids and help hydrate your eyes. Changing your eyes’ focal distance and reducing the glare stare consistently throughout the day will make a noticeable difference.
Speaking of glare… if you’re already looking through glasses and then at a screen there will be light bouncing around that plastic lens in front of your eye creating noise and distraction to your visual system. Make sure your lenses have a high quality anti-reflective coating to minimize the additional straining effects of glare on your eyes. Also, in your home office/work space/work area design- think about the lighting and whether or not it is contributing extra glare to your work area. This article from one of our favorite resources, “All About Vision” describes this more in point 9: https://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/irritated.htm. It has some other fantastic tips on this topic also.
We hope we’ve offered a few easy ideas to help with screen-induced eye strain. While we can hope screen time inflation will go down – it’s hard to say if and when that could happen so please, take care of those eyes in the meantime.
The team at Binyon Vision Center LOVES bringing unique, fun, independent eyewear to our patients. We are so excited to introduce l.a. Eyeworks to our community!
In 1979, two women opened a storefront on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles with the goal to change the way people looked at eyewear. Over forty years and hundreds of imaginative designs later, l.a. Eyeworks is an internationally recognized brand, known for quality and originality. The original owners Barbara McReynolds & Gai Gherardi still begin each design with a pencil sketch and are heavily involved in every aspect of the design from concept to materials, manufacturing to marketing.
In 1981, the brand launched an ad campaign with over 200 celebrities and “cultural provocateurs” modeling the frames in stunning black and white images with the tagline – “A face is a work of art. It deserves a great frame.”
We could not agree more! We look forward to seeing these great frames on many works of art around Bellingham!
In September of 1980, my wife and I moved to Bellingham to start my career at Binyon Vision Center. Now, 41 years later, I’m delighted to continue to see many of you from those early days, as well as so many more who I have had the pleasure of getting to know and care for.
While I will still be seeing patients, I am shortening my work week, and will be an employee rather than owner of Binyon Vision Center. My concern in the last few years has been that you will have a high quality continuum of care, and I’m pleased to let you know that my associate, Dr. Heather LeClaire will be taking over the ownership of the practice. In the midst of the challenges of the last few years, she has shown herself to be both an excellent optometrist and manager, and she is adept at handling all aspects of the business. I feel confident that Dr. LeClaire will do a great job as she leads us into the future.
While I will continue to see my patients on a part-time basis, I’m looking forward to this new season and what it brings, especially being able to spend more time with our grandkids.
We are dedicated to safe environment to provide eyecare to our patients. Here is an overview of our current COVID-19 procedures. If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact us.
We are seeing patients by appointment only for all services including repairs and adjustments. This allows us to maintain appropriate building capacity and allows for proper social distancing.
All patients and employees are required to wear a face mask while in our building. Employees have been trained in proper personal protective equipment protocol from the Washington State Department of Health.
All patients are asked to fill out a COVID prescreening questionnaire before their appointment or at arrival.
We strive to maintain a 6′ distance between people as much as possible using visual markers. Employees use face shields for some procedures.
We clean and disinfect all common surfaces and tools between use.
We are proud of the efforts our team has made to keep our office safe. Here are some comments from surveys we’ve sent to patients who have recently visited:
They are doing an excellent job making you feel safe during this pandemic!
During these odd times, I felt very comfortable visiting the office, as they took every safety precaution they possibly could to keep their patients healthy!
Thank you for doing the right thing and keeping all of us patients safe during this pandemic. Their staff take each patient’s temperature as you walk in and adhere to all social distancing/masking/sanitizing protocols.
The office follows strict Covid precautions which eased my anxiety.
If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call. Best wishes and stay well.
At the end of the year, our waitlist for appointments can get long… filled with patients wanting to use insurance benefits and medical savings dollars before they expire. We called a waitlist patient near the end of 2019 – and he was delighted an earlier appointment time came available. He came in to use up his benefits for an annual eye exam and had no specific complaints, just needed more contacts. What started as a routine exam turned into a surgical procedure at a specialist office the same afternoon. We are all very thankful the patient was able to come in sooner than his scheduled appointment.
The patient had not noticed any vision changes, flashes or floaters in his vision and had not experienced any pain but when Dr. McEathron dilated his eyes he saw a slight blood leakage on the patient’s retina. Dr. McEathron sent him directly to Bellingham Retinal Specialists for further evaluation. The same day, the ophthalmologist at the office performed a laser procedure to the patient’s eye to stop the retina hemorrhage and prevent permanent vision loss.
Optometrists can uncover asymptomatic eye problems with potential to become large problems and when they do- it’s quite memorable. Dr. LeClaire recalls a similar event to the one described above when she was practicing in Seattle. “Many people mention in the exam room they do not want to be dilated,” she reflects. “I make sure they understand the benefits of us being able to really see what’s happening in the back of their eyes.”
Routine Physical for your Eyeballs
Dr. LeClaire likes to think of an eye exam as a routine physical for your eyeballs. The doctors discuss eye health and family history to make personalized recommendations to promote long term eye health. Key to creating a great understanding of your eye health is talking about if you experience eye strain and headaches and your daily exposure to electronic devices and computer screens.
Before getting into the physical exam, the doctors will test your vision using the Snellen Chart. See this last blog post for more detail on reading 20/20 and visual acuity measurement.
Your eye movement is studied throughout the exam- how your eyes track and work together. Sometimes a patient who has 20/20 vision but is experiencing headaches, might have delayed focusing or a tracking problem contributing to eye fatigue and strain.
The doctors test your peripheral vision to look for any defects that need further attention. They will also look at your eyelids, eyelashes, tear ducts, blood vessels and iris appearance. When you have this “eyeball physical” done regularly the doctor will record observations and note any variations and the first sign of any issues that could present a long term problem are caught early!
What about the part of the eye you can’t see?
I’ve described the study of how the eyes are moving and the examination of the outside of the eye, but as you can see in the image above- there’s a lot going on under the surface. Two thirds of your eyeball lie below the skin and the best way for the doctor to take a peek at the back of the eye is through that little black hole- your pupil. When the pupil is dilated by the special drops- the doctors can get a much better picture of the back of the eye- the blood vessels and optic nerve.
No, the doctors are not just trying to torture your vision for a few hours- they look at what the back of your eye looks like and create a record of the appearance. Then year after year they will note any changes to these key parts of the eye that work to make you see.
What kind of changes might they be looking for? Well, like for the patient discussed above, blood leakage or tears in the retina can be asymptomatic but when they grow they could lead to permanent vision loss. Abnormal optic nerves could be a sign of glaucoma, which also can lead to permanent vision loss when not treated. Unusual pigmentation on the macula could be an indication of macular degeneration, another eye problem with irreversible vision loss. A brief overview of common eye conditions can be found here.
20/20 Vision for Life!
As you can see, the optometrists performing detailed eye exams do more than measure your ability to read the 20/20 line. The doctors look for any signs of issues that could cause future vision loss. When you schedule an eye exam you will definitely be reading the eye chart, but you’re also taking care of your ability to SEE the eye chart throughout your life. This year of perfect vision we urge you to make eye exams a part of your routine maintenance. Schedule the annual eyeball physical to keep 20/20 vision a reality throughout your life!
A Dutch ophthalmologist, Dr. Herman Snellen, developed the 20/20 measurement system for visual acuity in 1862. Could he even have dreamed that 158 years later optometrists all over the US would be doing a happy dance that the year 2020 is going to be their year.
What is 20/20 vision?
In the Snellen measurement system- the top number represents the distance between the person and the eye chart. In the US, this distance is 20 feet. At this distance, one of the smaller lines at the bottom of the eye chart has been declared the standard- to correspond with normal visual acuity. If you can identify the letters on this line, but none of the smaller letters on lower lines, you have 20/20 vision.
The letters get larger as the lines go toward the top of the chart and each line corresponds to worse visual acuity. The smaller letters in lines below the 20/20 line correspond to better than 20/20 visual acuity. If you can read the 20/10 line- your visual acuity is two times better than someone who can only read the 20/20 line.
The single “E” at the top of the chart represents 20/200 vision. If this is the smallest letter you can read WITH corrective lenses in front of your eyes, you are legally blind.
Why do you keep saying 20/20 visual acuity?
While we tend to say “20/20 vision” a more proper term is 20/20 visual acuity. Vision is a term that is too general to accurately describe what the 20/20 measurement denotes. Why? Well, 20/20 vision is measured statically for one- in other words while the person is not moving. Also the measurement is using high contract- black letters on white background. This measurement is useful for a relative comparison of clarity of vision in a standard situation. It is a poor indicator of a person’s ability to see colored objects, moving objects or depth perception- all qualities of one’s vision. A more comprehensive description of vision would include eye tracking ability, contrast sensitivity and focusing speed.
An optometrist measures visual acuity with an instrument called phoropter in a procedure called a refraction. You’ll remember this from the eye exam when the doctor asks which is better one or two? and moves knobs or buttons until you can read the 20/20 line. The resulting numbers represent the strength of lenses needed to help you see 20/20.
The quest for perfect vision
As discussed above, 20/20 visual acuity is a measured by eye doctors. There are even smart phone apps that can measure visual acuity. Using this reference will catch most visual disorders such as farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. Unfortunately certain eye conditions will prevent correction to 20/20 even with corrective lenses in glasses. These conditions include cataracts, macular degeneration and even extreme dry eyes. Often these conditions are progressive- meaning the vision degenerates more and more over time. There can be preventative measures to slow and even stop progression but in some cases the vision deterioration is irreversible. Read more information here about proactive eye care. Annual eye exams are extremely important to evaluate eye health and look for any early signs of these damaging conditions. An comprehensive eye exam is much more than seeing if you can read the 20/20 line. Every time you write “2020” let that be a reminder to visit the optometrist and congratulate them on the year of perfect vision. Click here to schedule your appointment today!
Much of the information in this blog post was gleaned from Dr. McEathron, Dr. LeClaire and the fine writing at www.allaboutvision.com.
The end of the year is a busy season and we’re here to help make sure you’ve got clarity going into the new year in more ways than one!
First order of business – our office will be open our regular office hours of Monday – Friday 8:30 – 5:30, closed for lunch 12:30 – 1:30 except for the following days: Thanksgiving and the day after, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Our office will be closed those dates.
Next – let’s talk about vision insurance and flexible spending accounts. Are you familiar with the details of your insurance plan? Many benefits expire at the end of the year- let us help you find out more details about yours!
Calendar year vision benefits
Many plans are on a calendar year cycle. This means they renew on January 1st no matter when you used them last. A common plan in our area that has this benefit is the Uniform/Regence plan. This plan is an option for employees at Western Washington University. Patients can use this benefit to their advantage by using the hardware allowance for glasses in December of 2019 and contacts or a second pair of glasses in January 2020. That means the hardware would not be available again until January 2022, but it’s a fun way to maximize your benefits if they are still available.
Flexible Spending Accounts
Some employers offer their employees to defer part of their salary to a tax-free savings account. This can be used towards medical expenses. These are “use-it-or-lose-it” plans. These plans will expire with the funds going away either at the end of the year- or in some cases on March 15th. Talk with your employers or the manager of your FSA fund to make sure you understand the balance in your account and when it might expire.
Money saved into flexible spending accounts can be used for medical expenses that are not covered by insurance- but must be medically related. In our world that means – eye exams, copays, glasses, contact lenses and prescription sunglasses.
There might be no better time to update your glasses or stock up on contact lenses!
Please give us a call to check on your vision benefits or to answer any questions on how you could maximize the money you’ve saved in your FSA account!
Also, we have a large number of frames in our “red-dot” sale section right now- all 30% off! We look forward to seeing you this year! We would love to help you see 2020 going into the year 2020!
Photos by Katheryn Moran Photography. See more of her excellent work here!
BINYON VISION CENTER
411 E. Magnolia Street, Bellingham WA 98225