Many people participate in Vision plans, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) or Health Savings Accounts (HSA) through their employers. Many vision benefits and flexible spending accounts (FSA) offer benefits that expire at the end of every year. This means that if you do not USE the money by the end of your benefits year (usually December 31st) you will LOSE it. In most cases, unused benefits cannot be transferred over to the New Year (usually beginning January 1st). Most vision insurance plans entitle you to annual comprehensive eye examination and either an allowance or discounts toward eyewear or contact lenses each year. Have you taken advantage of these benefits this year? If you are not sure of the date of your last comprehensive eye examination, please call us and we can look it up for you.
Periodic eye and vision examinations are an important part of preventive health care. Many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms, so you might not know a problem exists. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision problems can help prevent vision loss.
Each patient’s signs and symptoms, along with your optometrist’s professional judgment, will determine what tests your optometrist conducts. A comprehensive adult eye and vision examination may include, but is not limited to, the following tests.
The doctor will ask about any eye or vision problems you are currently having and about your overall health. In addition, a patient history will include when your eye or vision symptoms began, medications you are taking, and any work-related or environmental conditions that may be affecting your vision. The doctor will also ask about any previous eye or health conditions you and your family members have experienced.
Visual acuity measurements evaluate how clearly each eye is seeing. Reading charts are often used to measure visual acuity. As part of the testing, you will read letters on charts at a distance and near.
The results of visual acuity testing are written as a fraction, such as 20/40. The top number in the fraction is the standard distance at which testing is done (20 feet). The bottom number is the smallest letter size you were able to read. A person with 20/40 visual acuity would have to get within 20 feet to see a letter that should be seen clearly at 40 feet. Normal distance visual acuity is 20/20.
An optometrist may first want to look at specific aspects of your visual function and eye health. Preliminary tests can include evaluations of depth perception, color vision, eye muscle movements, peripheral or side vision, and the way your pupils respond to light.
This test measures the curvature of the cornea (the clear outer surface of the eye) by focusing a circle of light on the cornea and measuring its reflection. This measurement is particularly critical in determining the proper fit for contact lenses.
Refraction determines the lens power you need to compensate for any refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism). Using an instrument called a phoropter, your optometrist places a series of lenses in front of your eyes. He or she then measures how these lenses focus light using a handheld lighted instrument called a retinoscope. Your doctor may choose to use an instrument that automatically evaluates the focusing power of the eye. The lens power is then refined based your input on the lenses that give you the clearest vision.
Eye Health Evaluation
Your optometrist may need to perform additional tests based on the results of the previous tests. These tests can help confirm or rule out possible problems, clarify uncertain findings or provide a more in-depth assessment.
At the completion of the examination, your optometrist will evaluate all the test results to determine a diagnosis. He or she will discuss with you any visual or eye health problems and explain treatment options. In some cases, your optometrist may refer you to another optometrist or other health care provider for consultation or treatment.
Additional testing may be needed based on the results of the previous tests to confirm or rule out possible problems, to clarify uncertain findings, or to provide a more in-depth assessment.
At the completion of the examination, your optometrist will assess and evaluate the results of the testing to determine a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. He or she will discuss with you the nature of any visual or eye health problems found and explain available treatment options. In some cases, referral for consultation with, or treatment by, another optometrist or other health care provider may be indicated.
Now’s the best time to get great deals on your next pair of glasses. Whether it be your first pair, spare pair, dress up pair, or sunglasses. We’ve got you covered! Stop by to see what looks good on you! All in stock frames will be 40% off April 28 – May 12*
SALE KICK OFF PARTY – SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 12-5pm
Please join us for special discounts, music, dancing, games, prizes, and refreshments to kick off our annual SALE!
Many insurance plans renew every calendar year and if you have a FSA, you may want to think about using those flex dollars to pay for your eye exam, new eyeglasses or a supply of contact lenses before the year ends. Don’t wait until the last week of December to take care of yourself and your vision.
How Does FSA Work?
What exactly is an FSA? When you sign up for an FSA, money from each paycheck is automatically deposited into an account. You can use this account to pay for health expenses that aren’t covered by insurance. You decide on the amount in advance, and since the contributions aren’t taxed, each dollar goes farther. An FSA can provide you with tax-free dollars to use toward any eye care expenses not covered by your vision insurance plan.
Is there a catch?
Just one: use it or lose it. So don’t wait until the end of the year. Schedule your eye exam anytime in the year, prior to your FSA’s deadline to take advantage of this great benefit. Your FSA can help purchase prescription eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, and contact lenses year-round.
What Can I Buy With My FSA Card?
So what will your FSA plan cover? Every FSA plan is different, so it’s important to take a good look at yours before you start your FSA “shopping.” Typically, an FSA will cover vision expenses like:
- Co-payments and deductibles
- Routine eye exams
- Prescription eyeglasses
- Contact lenses
- Prescription sunglasses
The Doctor Is Your First FSA Step
Wondering where to start? Don’t get overwhelmed by the details; your first step is to schedule an eye exam. Use this visit as a starting point for spending your FSA funds – you’ll learn if you have any vision issues that should be addressed, and if you need new glasses or contact lenses.
Your FSA To-Do List
Understand your plan: Read your FSA guidelines and know what’s covered.
Make an appointment and mark your calendar: Doctors may be busier than usual at the end of the year, so try to schedule earlier if possible.
Keep a record: You may need to provide receipts, so make sure to hold on to any relevant paperwork.
How Does HSA Work (Health Savings Account)?
Depending on your insurance plan, your company may offer an HSA instead of an FSA. Typically an HSA is offered with high deductible insurance plans. Unlike an FSA, the money put into an HSA does not have a use-it-or-lose-it policy.
Instead, it earns interest over time and can be used as a rainy-day fund when healthcare expenses pop up. Just like an FSA, you can usually use HSA dollars to purchase glasses and pay for other vision expenses like eye exams, prescription sunglasses and contacts, so check your policy.
The benefits of an FSA sound appealing – but you didn’t participate this year? Talk to the HR expert in your office to find out when you might be eligible to enroll. Then, you can put FSA money towards health expenses – like new glasses – next year.
December is often the busiest month for optometrists and optical shops. Schedule your exam early, stop by anytime to pick out your next pair of eyeglasses and/or call to order a supply of contact lenses before time runs out!
Now is a great time to get a new pair of eyeglasses before the holiday rush.
From now until October 31st, buy one pair of eyeglasses (frame + lenses), get the second pair 50% off!*
*on select styles only
Forget the tricks! Treat yourself to a new pair of glasses!
Did you know that the 2017 solar eclipse will take place on August 21?
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and the Earth. The area of the Earth shaded by the outer shadow of the moon (penumbra) experiences a partial eclipse; the area shaded by the central shadow (umbra) experiences a total eclipse.
From beginning to end, the eclipse will be visible for about two and a half to three hours, depending on where in the U.S. you are viewing the phenomenon. The maximum level of the eclipse (“totality”), however, lasts only a minute or two.
On the West Coast, the 2017 solar eclipse will begin around 9:06 AM and end around 11:41 AM (Pacific time). On the East Coast, it will begin around 1:03 PM and conclude around 4:06 PM (Eastern time).
Solar Eclipse Glasses: Do They Really Protect Your Eyes?
Solar eclipse glasses are inexpensive, very dark filters with cardboard or paper frames that are designed to protect your eyes from retina damage when viewing an eclipse.
But do they really work?
Staring at a solar eclipse (or staring at the sun at any time) can cause a burned retina — called solar retinopathy or solar maculopathy — that can cause permanent vision loss. So having adequate eye protection when viewing a solar eclipse is extremely important.
Most “eclipse glasses” do offer adequate protection from the sun’s potentially damaging UV rays when viewing a solar eclipse. Look for documentation somewhere on the disposable glasses that says the eclipse shades are certified to meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for safe direct viewing of the sun.
But unfortunately, according to the National Science Foundation’s American Astronomical Society (AAS), excitement about the 2017 solar eclipse has caused the marketplace to become flooded with counterfeit eclipse glasses that say they are ISO-certified when in fact they are not.
Because it is impossible to tell if eclipse glasses truly meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard (sometimes written as ISO 12312-2:2015) by simply looking at them, the AAS created a Solar Eclipse Task Force that has compiled a list of reputable manufacturers and retailers of certified eclipse glasses.
Sunglasses Are Not Enough
Sunglasses don’t provide adequate eye protection during the course of a solar eclipse.
Regular sunglasses, polarized sunglasses or photochromic lenses do not offer adequate eye protection when watching a solar eclipse.
Though these lenses provide 100 percent UV protection during general wearing conditions, the special-purpose solar filters used in genuine eclipse glasses are thousands of times darker than ordinary sunglasses to protect the eyes from the intense visible sunlight that can cause a serious retinal injury or even blindness when viewing the sun directly.
When Is The Next Solar Eclipse?
If you miss the 2017 solar eclipse, you’ll have to wait awhile to see another one in the United States. The next total solar eclipse to cross North America will take place on April 8, 2024.
ISO certified eclipse glasses are available for purchase in our office while supplies last. HAPPY VIEWING!
Are you protecting your eyes from harmful UV exposure?
The sun’s ultraviolet rays pose a significant risk not just to your skin but also to your vision. That’s right. No matter the season, solar radiation can harm your eyes, and other components of those UV rays can lead to serious eye health and vision problems. Despite these health risks and warnings, only 40 percent of Americans cite protection from sun damage as their main reason for wearing sunglasses.
Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to eye damage, including cataracts, macular degeneration, pingueculae, pterygia and photokeratitis.
We recommend that you schedule a comprehensive eye exam at least every two years. Such visits are a good investment to monitor your eye health, maintain good vision, track UV protection needs and learn the latest advances in eye protection.
You can enjoy the great outdoors no matter the season or location. Just remember that sunglasses offer a simple solution to protect your vision from the harmful rays of the sun. Let us help you find your next pair of eyeglasses that provide the protection you need and the style you want!