Blog

Feb31st Frames Sale in February!

feb31st eye glasses frame sale february 2024 binyon vision center bellingham

Each of these Feb31st frames were custom designed by their wearer! We’re extending that opportunity to you for the month of February with a 31% discount! (See what we did there?). There’s never been a better time to design a frame unique to you- a true reflection of your style and personality! Stop in or give us a call to schedule time with an optician to talk about your custom Feb31st!

See more information about the Feb31st eye glasses frame line in our recent blog post here and on their website here!

Specialized Office Lenses a Life Saver for Extended Computer Use

In our increasingly digital world, many of us find ourselves spending prolonged hours in front of computer screens. Whether it’s for work, entertainment, or staying connected, our eyes are constantly exposed to the strain of digital devices. The team at Binyon Vision Center understands the unique visual challenges posed by extended computer use and is thankful to be able to prescribe and fit specialized lenses designed to alleviate digital eye strain.

Understanding Digital Eye Strain

Extended computer use can lead to a range of visual discomfort known as digital eye strain. Symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain. The blue light emitted by screens can also contribute to sleep disturbances. To address these issues, specialized office lenses offer a tailored solution for individuals spending more than 4 hours per day on computers. Binyon Vision Center offers carefully curated packages for specialized office lenses.

Features of Specialized Office Lenses:

  1. Anti-Reflective Coating: Specialized office lenses come with an anti-reflective coating that reduces glare and reflections from computer screens. This not only enhances visual clarity but also minimizes eye strain caused by intense light sources. Our office lens packages come with Shamir Glacier Expressions Anti-Reflective Coating. After trying many coatings, we find this anti-reflective coating to be the best at reducing glare, but maintaining sharp vision – and it’s the easiest one to keep clean with anti-static and hydrophobic layers worked into this multi-layer coating.
  2. Blue Light Filtering: These lenses incorporate blue light filtering technology to reduce the exposure to harmful high-energy visible (HEV) blue light emitted by digital screens. This feature helps alleviate eye fatigue and supports better sleep patterns. This is an optional add on to the Binyon lens packages. Please ask for more information and a demonstration of how the blue light filtering works!
  3. Optimal Reading Distance: Unlike regular glasses, which may not be optimized for intermediate distances, specialized office lenses are designed to provide a clear and comfortable vision at the typical distance of computer screens. This ensures a more relaxed and ergonomic posture during extended computer use. There are two Shamir lenses Binyon offers- the Computer lens is designed for seeing up to a 5′ distance and the Workspace lens works well for up to 10′ distance.
  4. Progressive Design: Some office lenses often have a progressive design that allows for smooth transitions between different vision zones. Whether you’re focusing on your computer, documents on your desk, or engaging in face-to-face conversations, these lenses offer seamless vision correction. As mentioned above, the two progressive lens styles work up to difference maximum distances- depending on the needs of the wearer- but have a larger viewing area of the lens optimized for computer distance than a traditional progressive lens.
  5. Customization for Your Needs: We understand each individual’s visual needs are unique. The optometrist and optician will recommend a specific office lenses, best suited for your prescription and work space.
Shamir Computer Lens, image courtesy of Shamir.
Shamir Workspace Lens, image courtesy of Shamir

Tips for Digital Eye Health

In addition to investing in specialized office lenses, consider incorporating the following practices to promote digital eye health:

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes, looking at something 20 feet away to reduce eye strain.
  • Adjust screen settings: Ensure proper screen brightness, contrast, and font size to minimize eye strain.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your eyes lubricated.
  • Regular eye exams: Schedule regular eye examinations to monitor and address any changes in your vision.

We are committed to enhancing your visual comfort in the digital age. Specialized office lenses are designed to provide clear vision and alleviate the challenges associated with extended computer use. Invest in your eye health and experience the difference of customized eyewear tailored to your unique needs. Schedule an appointment today to embark on a journey toward clearer and more comfortable vision.

The End of the Year is Coming – have you used your vision benefits?

Have you been paying for vision insurance or into a flexible spending account all year?  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 Regence plan. This plan is an option for employees at Western Washington University.  This two year benefit now renews every even calendar year. If you haven’t used your benefit dollars in 2022 or 2023 – it’s a missed opportunity!

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!

We have a large number of frames in our “red-dot” sale section right now- all 30%-50% off!  Our in-stock sunglasses are 50% off this month (some exclusions apply) and can be used for prescription sunglasses! We look forward to seeing you before the end of the year!

We’re thankful for progressive lenses!

If you’ve crossed over the 45 birthdays mark… you know what we’re talking about. For someone who was nearsighted and wearing glasses since 2nd grade, the experience was much different than I expected. I knew the blur of not being able to see in the distance, but this was weird. All of a sudden, my eyes wouldn’t focus when my kids shoved something close to my face to read. “Mom! What does this say?” would elicit this response – “Whoa… move that back a little bit.” When I thought things would get blurry- they didn’t- instead my eyes started to pull funny, feel strained and the natural instinct was to move my head back until ahhh… I could read.

My yearly eye exam confirmed – it was time for progressive lenses. I anxiously awaited the arrival of my first pair with a +1.00 add. After helping fit people with +1.75 to +2.50 add powers for years, this seemed like a baby step that probably wouldn’t make much difference. But to my surprise it did made a big difference! I’ve since graduated to a +1.25 add power as another birthday came and went and that strain feeling came back. The joy of this particular birthday change called presbyopia.

What is Presbyopia?

The lens of our eye (see image below) is actually flexible and along with the surrounding muscles, it changes shape to focus on objects at different distances. Presbyopia is an age-related condition when the lens and muscles connected to the lens become weaker, preventing it from moving into a shape that is able to focus at near distances. Like nearsightedness and farsightedness, presbyopia is a diagnosis of a visual acuity deficiency in the patient’s eyes.

The eye’s lens stiffens with age, so it is less able to focus when you view something up close. – source: allaboutvision.com

How do Progressive Lenses Help?

Progressive lenses in eyeglasses are the most common treatment for presbyopia. A progressive lens is a line-free multifocal lens. In other words, there are multiple vision prescriptions incorporated into one lens for the wearer to be able to see clearly at multiple distances. Unlike traditional lined bifocals or trifocals, progressive lenses offer a seamless transition, allowing wearers to see clearly at varying distances. The same lenses allow one to see the far distance (driving or watching a movie), mid-distance (face-to-face conversation or looking at a computer) down to close up (reading a book or looking at a phone).

Take a peek at the diagram of a progressive lens below. It’s not completely accurate because it does look like 3 focal distances when in face there are infinite focal lengths for the wearer which progress from distance to near as your eyes look downward through the lens. The diagram clearly shows something important – the lighter, unidentified areas on each side of the lens. This is what we call a blending zone. The combination of manufacturing limitations and physics means this progressing zone through the lens does not extend all the way to the edges. That is a limitation of these lenses that can cause difficulty with adaptation to wearing progressives.

Diagram of a progressive lens – source: Tatum Eyecare

On the market today, there are several progressive lens manufacturers. The first lens was designed and released by a company called Varilux in the 1960’s. Thankfully there has been a lot of improvement in design and manufacturing during this time. Each company has a unique approach to creating this visual corridor of the progressive lens. We highly encourage you to understand all the options and benefits of the different types of progressive lenses.

How to select the proper Progressive Lenses

  1. Customization: At Binyon Vision Center, our experienced opticians take the time to understand your unique visual requirements. We offer personalized progressive lenses tailored to your lifestyle, ensuring optimal clarity and comfort.
  2. Lens Technology: Our opticians stay updated with the latest lens technologies. From anti-reflective coatings to blue light filters, we offer a range of options to enhance your visual experience and protect your eyes from digital eye strain. There has been much innovation in the world of progressive lenses, and we partner with the top lens manufacturers to provide the best, most effective lenses available. Our preferred progressive lens partner, Shamir, has an unmatched number of lens designs and invest highly in research and development to understand the wearer’s experience.
  3. Frame Selection: Our extensive collection of frames complements the style and preferences of every individual. Our knowledgeable staff can help you choose frames that not only look great but also accommodate progressive lenses seamlessly.

If your experience with progressive lenses has left you anything less than being thankful – we encourage you to explore more options. Lens designs continue to improve and with a better understanding of how they work, we hope they will be more successful for you. It’s unavoidable – that up close vision will go someday and being comfortable in the progressive lenses is something we would love to help you with!

Feb31st Wood Glasses

I’ll never forget when one of our opticians at the time, Christie, returned from a Vision Expo conference in 2013 and said- “You won’t believe these wood glasses. There’s an Italian company that figured out how to put prescription lenses in wood glasses and they custom make every frame with wood layers and you pick the colors. We could be one of the first in the United States to carry this line.”

Looking down on the layers of wood that will be manufactured into glasses fronts – from feb31st.it

Ten years later… a rough count of shops on the www.feb31st.it website shows over 130 stores in the United States and a few hundred Binyon patients have worn or do wear Feb31st frames.

John designed these color-blocked green and black and white patterened wood frames himself.

Bespoke Eyewear – manufactured to order!

In addition to a cool concept – a design that allows for manufacturing a one-off custom pair of prescription wood glasses, this company is always innovating. They’ve created a more robust product over the years by changing hinge designs and reinforcing the layers of wood. Many new wood finishes and material combinations have also been introduced into the product line, allowing for infinite customization possibilities. One of the most unique and rewarding features is the custom engraving possibilities on the temples of the frames. Dates, initials, symbols are all examples of amazing designs we’ve seen created on the wood glasses.

Another custom design- note the patient provided a drawing for the custom engraving inside the temple.
Wood chip color swatches

Sustainable manufacturing from tree to glasses

In addition to the uniqueness of design and manufacturing, we want to highlight another vital part of this company – it’s dedication to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. All wood is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified for being sustainably forested. Every frame produced is made to order therefore eliminating waste in stocked inventory. There is also an opportunity to use a wood from fallen trees, mostly from unusual hurricane force winds that hit the Northern Italian Alps in October 2018. If there is an opportunity to improve sustainability or manufacture in a more eco-friendly way, this company will act.

Trees fallen during the October 2018 storm in Northern Italy – from www.feb31st.it
Frames manufactured from the wood of the fallen trees from the storm – from www.feb31st.it

Feb31st at Binyon Vision Center today

Over the years, the Binyon team has loved designing Feb31st frames for our inventory and has held design appointments on special days with our patients interested in designing their own pair. With a variety of shapes, so many colors and size possibilities the customization options are endless. In addition, some of the frame models in the EVO line incorporate metal, which comes in many colors for a unique spin on the wood glasses- plus the engraving option mentioned above. This design your own eyewear option that this unique made to order company provides through it’s wood glasses is amazing. Another important benefit of Feb31st eyewear is they are very light and comfortable to wear. For some of us four-eyes, these are our most comfortable pair of glasses. We had a patient who was very sensitive to metals and plastics and found these to be the only glasses she could wear! Here are a few of our other favorite Feb31st designs. We hope to see you in the office soon to design your own!

Please note – our next opportunity to design a pair of Feb31st glasses is October 19th, 2023 – email calana@binyonvision.com to schedule an appointment!

Recycling Update for all things Eye Care!

New recycling options for eye drop containers and contact lens cases!

We are into our fifth year of recycling contact lenses and contact lens packaging as a Terra Cycle partner! A common concern for our potential daily wear contact lens wearers was the amount of waste the daily disposable contacts would generate. We’re excited to have this solution available and we’ve now shipped over 460 pounds of contact lens waste that has been dropped off by you Bellingham for proper recycling. Yes – I calculated that twice to make sure. Municipal recycle pick up would sort out these little pieces of plastic from the recycle and now we’ve diverted the equivalent weight of a tiger out of the landfill!

An average Bengal Tiger weighs 450 lbs. Binyon Vision Center has shipped over 460 lbs of contact lens waste for recycling since 2018.

We’ve worked hard to get the word out about our contact lens recycling program and these results show it has been successful! Now we’re excited to introduce a new recycling program available for more eyecare products. Binyon Vision Center is now also a drop off point for recycling the following items:

  • All brands of contact lens cases
  • All brands of contact lens solution bottle caps (bottles can be recycled through the city recycling program- but caps are too small!)
  • Eye drop single dose vials
  • Eye drop packaging

Hard to remember? Here’s a little image to help. If it has to do with your eye care or eye wear and it seems too small to go into the City Recycle… we will probably be able to recycle it!

With the addition of eye drop packaging, this spreads to non-contact lens wearers! We’d appreciate helping us get the word out- if you can share this image above with your friends, family members and social media followers we can get more people recycling these items. As with the contact lens packaging, anyone can drop by a container of these products, we’ll take the goods and return your container if you’d like. You can drop it through our mail slot (if it fits!) during our closed hours.

Recycling around the office with Ridwell

Our optical business receives many boxes via courier service and various package delivery outfits every day. Yes, this is so fun- new frames for our showroom floor, our patient’s completed prescription glasses, office supplies, and more to keep us going! After the thrill of opening the boxes of new glasses, the let down was the amount of unrecyclable waste. Over a year ago, Dr. LeClaire opened an account with Ridwell, a unique pick up service for hard to recycle items. Check out here if they are available in your area.

Recently, we upgraded our Ridwell service to the unlimited plan. This allows us to recycle:

  • Plastic film (many frame companies send their frames to us in plastic film bags for protection)
  • Batteries
  • Threads
  • Light bulbs
  • Multi-layered plastic (food storage bags for example)
  • Clear plastic clamshells
  • Styrofoam
  • Latex paint and fluorescent lights for a minimal extra fee

We received a bin to fill for monthly pick up but with our unlimited plan, we can add extra bags (and we always do!) outside of the bin and they will take those also. We love the knowledge the extra waste that comes in the door can be recycled and what is especially cool about Ridwell is they will tell us where it’s going! They are transparent and accountable for how and where the recycled materials are used. See more details here.

With Terra Cycle and Ridwell, small recycling steps add up!

You can help us with our mission to divert small eye care waste from landfills – reference the image above and drop by these new items along with your contact lens waste to Binyon Vision Center. If you haven’t started using Ridwell yet, we’d encourage you to give it a try! The service can be canceled any time if it’s not a good fit. For the Binyon Vision Center team, the peace of mind all of us get from not throwing these previously unrecyclable items into the garbage can is priceless!

Lafont Trunk Show- Finding the Perfect Pair of Glasses!

The ENTIRE Lafont Collection on display

There was no doubt on July 12, 2023- Lafont Paris was in the Binyon house in Bellingham, WA. One of the pioneers of the independent eyewear movement and family owned for 100 years – we are always so excited to welcome this company to take over the store and show their extensive and unique line of frames.

Cheetah, cheetah and more cheetah

A long time signature of the Lafont line is the cheetah print that has graced many a frame style in the last 100 years. One table was dedicated to all of the current frames that come in cheetah print. There are over 18 frames that incorporate cheetah into their color scheme!

My mission – finding my next frame to compliment my current collection!

When I became presbyopic a few years ago and needed progressive lenses to see the fine print- my glasses collection severely reduced in size! I was so excited to peruse the latest Lafont line to find the perfect pair. There were two that stood out immediately- both recommended by the Lafont rep for the Pacific Northwest, Ciara.

The “Maud” features a metal polka dot motif in an amazing cut out bronze color accented by the bottom light blue. I love the delicacy of the cut outs- I had a previous Lafont frame with a filigree cut out and it looked like a piece of jewelry. Jordan pointed out the bronze color might not wear well in winter without the summer glow, and I had to agree! Maybe next time, Maud.

Oh hello “Jeanne” … this is the magic of a trunk show. Jeanne has been at the Binyon store before but in a different color combination. This pop of color combined with lightness and my favorite shape was exactly what I needed. I put these on, and knew I’d found the perfect pair.

After making my final selection, I was excited to be measured by the new tool in the office, the Shamir Spark hands-free measuring tool. Heather sat me down to look in the mirror and showed me how the machine took all the necessary measurements for the progressive lenses, even calculating how far the glasses were from the front of my eyes and the angle from the top to the bottom of the lenses. I’m so excited to get the Autograph Intelligence lenses with these new frames- the best in progressive lens technology.

Lafont Trunk Show Invitation

What is a trunk show?

A trunk show is an opportunity for a manufacturer to bring in their entire collection to a retail partner. As much as an optical boutique like ours would love to carry every frame in every color, we get to choose our inventory carefully (PS – stay tuned for an upcoming blog interview with our office manager on how she chooses which frames to bring in the store)!

During a trunk show, we get a limited opportunity to bring in every frame from one of our manufacturers in every color and it is SO fun. This summer, we’re bringing one of our longtime favorites, Lafont Paris who is also celebrating their 100th year in business!

Who is Lafont?

Here is a snippet from the Lafont website about their rich history in eyewear:

“Lafont’s story begins with Louis Lafont in 1923 and the opening of his optical boutique at 11 rue Vignon Paris. The Maison took a pivotal turn in the 1980’s with Laurence and Philippe Lafont introducing their iconic frame – GENIE. Today Thomas and Matthieu, fourth generation the of Lafont family, head Maison Lafont, where independence remains a pillar of the brand.

Together they are committed to the future ensuring eco-responsibility in their products and services.

Lafont is full of color and Parisian style. Signature colors and patterns are combined with seasonal shading forming unique and exclusive designs. Evidence of the authenticity of French eyewear expertise and French manufacturing found in the unique combination of artisanal craftsmanship and technology that is fundamental to the House.
One passion guides our collections: a beautiful product made with care and attention to detail.”

With over 500 additional frames in stock, we hope that you join us for return of the annual Lafont Trunk show!

Your Invitation!

Welcome Dr. Squires!

Dear Patients,

We are extremely excited to announce the addition of a new optometrist to the team at Binyon Vision Center.  Dr. Patrick Squires will start seeing patients on April 24th and have availability on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  

Dr. Squires grew up in St. Louis and graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry with honors.  He has spent most of his career working in community health clinics in Seattle.  Dr. Squires helped establish a diabetic clinic for the Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Clinics, where he did retinal screenings.  He volunteered with UW Faculty and medical students, “Sight Savers”, and local health fairs including Seamar’s Latina Health Fair. He was also a past director and a volunteer at the Millionair Club Eye Clinic in Seattle. 

Dr. Squires’ wife is from Glasgow.  While pursuing her, he spent four years working abroad in Germany and Scotland.  During his time in Germany, Dr. Squires set up contact lens clinics as a civilian for the Department of Defense.

Dr. Squires’ son attends Fairhaven Middle School, and his wife is an Occupational Therapist for the Opportunity Council.  In his free time, Dr. Squires travels the I-5 corridor driving his son to his next soccer match.  Being an avid baseball fan, he is a season ticket holder to the Everett Aquasox, and frequently attends Bellingham Bells games.  Dr. Squires considers himself fortunate to have worked with many exceptional clinicians, and caring individuals, throughout his career. He has great respect for Dr. McEathron and is excited to join Dr. LeClaire and Binyon Vision Center.

Dr. McEathron will be working two days a week in June and on Wednesdays in July until he hangs up his ophthalmoscope- except for occasional vacation fill-in for the other doctors!  We wish him all the best in his retirement.

Sincerely,

Dr. Heather LeClaire and the Binyon team