Have You Used Your 2019 Benefits?

It’s almost December! Have you used your 2019 Vision Care, and/or FSA benefits?

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 or text us at (206)217-2015 and we can look it up for you.

The end of the year is often the busiest time 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!

the truth about marijuana and glaucoma

there is a lot of focus in the u.s. and around the world on the potentially helpful aspects of using marijuana in medicine. much of the research is promising, although there are risks and unknowns when it comes to medical marijuana.

one specific area where there’s attention is on marijuana and glaucoma.

so, does marijuana help glaucoma? below is more information on this condition, and also specifics on marijuana and glaucoma and their potential relationship to one another.

what is glaucoma?

before looking at the particulars of marijuana and glaucoma and answering “does marijuana help glaucoma,” what is this condition?

glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve and can ultimately lead to loss of vision and blindness. in most people, glaucoma affects both eyes, although some people may experience the condition being worse in one eye. there are two primary categories of glaucoma. the first is open-angle and the second is closed-angle.

with closed-angle glaucoma, the person will usually have relatively sudden pain and vision loss, but since there is a lot of pain with this type, the person usually gets medical treatment quickly so it can help prevent permanent damage.

with primary open-angle glaucoma, also often called chronic glaucoma, there is a slow progression, and many symptoms aren’t noticed including minimal vision loss. because of how slowly this progresses people often don’t get treatment for the condition until there’s already permanent damage.

one of the primary reasons people feel pain when they have glaucoma is because of the high levels of pressure in the eye.

the goal of most treatments for glaucoma is to improve how fluid flows from the eye, to reduce the production of fluid or a combination of both.

the first treatments usually given for glaucoma are eye drops, but they can have unpleasant side effects such as rarely retinal detachment or breathing problems. there are also surgery options if medicines don’t work and they can include surgery to unblock drainage canals, filtering surgery to open eye channels and drainage implants.

so, does marijuana help glaucoma?

marijuana and glaucoma

a lot of people wonder does marijuana help glaucoma?

medical marijuana has been linked to glaucoma for decades, and there were studies that showed that marijuana could help reduce the intraocular pressure people with glaucoma experience. with that being said, research showed that marijuana could only temporarily reduce the eye pressure of glaucoma. in fact, most research shows that with marijuana and glaucoma, the effects of the marijuana last only a few hours, and this is one of the biggest reasons marijuana might not be the best treatment for glaucoma.

glaucoma needs around-the-clock treatment, so it would require that someone use marijuana throughout the day to really get the benefits.

of course, with this comes the consideration that marijuana can alter your behavior and perception, and there are side effects that come with its use.

another reason a lot of researchers are rethinking the conventional wisdom about the relationship between marijuana and glaucoma is because there is some evidence coming to light that glaucoma may also be a neurological disease that comes from a reduced level of blood flow to the optic nerve. marijuana lowers blood pressure, which can result in even less blood flow to the optic nerve.

with marijuana and glaucoma, it’s not seen as an ideal treatment for early-stage patients.

however, even with that being said, with late-stage glaucoma, marijuana is often more encouraged as a treatment. the reason is because during late stage glaucoma the objective isn’t necessarily to treat it because the long-term damage has likely already been done. instead, marijuana may be used to help treat the accompanying symptoms and discomfort. for example, marijuana could help with the pain and nausea that can be associated with late-stage glaucoma.

there is likely to be continuing research on marijuana and glaucoma, because of the role cannabinoid receptors play in ocular tissue. it may be that in the future researchers are able to develop cannabis-based medicines that are more effective in helping with earlier stage glaucoma.

summing up—does marijuana help glaucoma?

so, does marijuana help glaucoma? as it stands right now, marijuana isn’t the preferred treatment for glaucoma, particularly when it’s in its early stages. first, with marijuana and glaucoma the effects are very short-lived, so they’re not very practical. also, there are risks and side effects that can come with the use of marijuana.

right now with marijuana and glaucoma doctors are more likely to recommend it when glaucoma has reached later stages, and the marijuana can be used as a way to help the patient cope with the side effects.

that doesn’t mean there isn’t a future for marijuana and glaucoma, especially as researchers are looking at cannabinoid-based medicines that could have positive future implications.

new year, new outlook on eye health

with the new year comes a fresh start. while many americans will make plans to change their habits, a large majority of resolutions are focused on health-related outcomes.

that commitment to focusing on physical health extends to preventative care for your eyes. there are several lifestyle habits that can have positive implications for sight and help combat issues that lead to vision impairment or blindness.

to kick off 2019 with your eyes in mind, we recommend five lifestyle habits that lend a hand to healthy vision:

  • eat healthy. the holidays can be especially tempting for poor diet choices. make sure you eat plenty of leafy greens, colorful fruits and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids for good eye health. our optometrist can also make recommendations for supplements that support eye health.

  • get active. try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise into your everyday routine. healthy weight and normal blood pressure levels are key to improving your overall health, including your eyes.

  • avoid smoking. most smokers are not aware that their tobacco use is a preventable cause of blindness. avoiding smoking, or taking steps to quit lowers your risk of vision impairment and vision loss.

  • wear sunglasses. sunglasses serve as a fashion statement, but the right pair can shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful uv rays. prolonged and high levels of uv rays can lead to serious health problems, including cataracts and macular degeneration.

  • schedule an annual eye exam. an annual eye exam is recommended for everyone, even when vision issues aren’t apparent. having a routine comprehensive eye exam is the most important thing you can do to prevent or treat vision issues.

we want to help you achieve your new year health goals. schedule your comprehensive eye exam today!

Have You Used Your 2018 Benefits?


It’s almost December! Have you used your 2018 Vision Care, and/or FSA benefits?

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 or text us at (206)217-2015 and we can look it up for you.

The end of the year is often the busiest time 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!

The Aftermath of The Solar Eclipse

What is Solar Retinopathy?
The name given to eye damage which has been caused by looking directly at the sun is solar retinopathy. The recent eclipse has brought attention the harmful effects of viewing the sun without proper viewing devices.

Your eye has an opening at the front (pupil) and a lens which adjusts to focus images you are looking at onto the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is made up of delicate tissue that is sensitive to light. Solar retinopathy occurs when the harmful radiation from the sun reaches the eye and is concentrated by the lens onto the retina. This burns the retina and destroys the cells that enable you to see.

How do I know if I have solar retinopathy?
As there are no pain-sensing nerves in the retina you will not feel any pain while the damage is being caused. Some hours after the event you may experience the following symptoms:

  • eyes may become watery and sore
  • difficulty in seeing shape and detail of objects
  • discomfort with bright light
  • a blind spot in your central vision
  • things may appear to be unusually coloured
  • objects may be distorted in shape

What do I do now?
In the first instance, go to your local optometrist, the eye specialist found in the high street optician’s shop. Unfortunately, there are no treatments currently available, however the optometrist will be able to advise you on the extent of your particular eye damage and assess and monitor your condition. The optometrist can also refer you on to other specialists if necessary. Alternatively, visit your physicians office to get proper referral of care.

Is the damage permanent?
If the damage is mild, your eyesight may return to normal after a time when the swelling at the back of the eye is reduced. The length of time varies with each individual and the extent of the damage. The eye specialist will advise you on how to reduce the discomfort while the swelling goes down.

Unfortunately, if the damage is more severe, your eyesight may be permanently affected. It is only through monitoring of your sight over a period of weeks that the eye specialist will be able to assess the extent of the long-term damage.

What if my sight cannot be fully restored?
If your sight has been permanently affected, much can be done to help you adjust and use your remaining vision as fully as possible. Services on offer vary in different areas and you should ask your eye specialist to discuss the available options with you.

We hope that you enjoyed viewing the recent solar eclipse. If you, or anyone you know has any symptoms of solar retinopathy from improper viewing, please encourage them to see an eye doctor as soon as possible.