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You’re Never Too Old to Try Contacts!

Are you one of those people who tried contacts in the past, but had no luck? Perhaps you found them dry and uncomfortable, or your allergies made them impossible to wear?  Maybe you were unable to see as clearly compared to your glasses, or you never needed glasses but now you’re struggling to see up close?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time for you to try contacts again!

Advances in Contact Lenses

Over the last decade, contact lens technology has continued to make significant improvements. Do not let your age, prescription, or any previous experiences keep you from giving them another try.

The most common reason for discontinuing contact lenses is due to discomfort, especially at the end of the day. Other common reasons are poor distance vision, or the inability to see both near and far for those over 40 years of age. With the latest contact lens technology, almost all end-of-day discomfort can be eliminated as can the difficulty achieving acceptable vision at all distances.

Early generation soft lenses were thick and known to become dry by the end of the day. Soft lenses today are much thinner, lighter, and more comfortable than the contacts 10 years, 5 years, and even 1-2 years ago.

Wearing contact lenses over a period of days or even weeks causes them to absorb natural oils, mucus, and proteins from our tear film. When these substances accumulate, they can cause contact lenses to dry out faster, resulting in irritation. Today there are many different materials such as silicone hydrogels, water gradient lenses, and other innovations that are designed to reduce drying and enhance the overall comfort.

Disposable Contacts

Are you still having issues with weekly or monthly contacts? Try switching to daily disposable soft contacts! Daily disposables are worn for just one day and then thrown away. Using new, fresh lenses each day avoids the potential problem of debris build-up, which is often the cause of discomfort and blurred vision. In fact, daily disposable lenses may help relieve dry eyes for some users.

Commonly, many people do not close their eyelids completely while blinking, exposing their eyes to air which leads to dehydration. When fitted correctly with the appropriate material, contacts can help seal in moisture to help avoid this issue. The new water gradient design lines both sides of the contact lenses with a thin film of water that keeps the eye moist. The comfort is truly remarkable allowing our doctors to use this lens type for not only vision correction, but for the potential treatment of dry eye as well.

What if I need glasses to see up close while wearing contacts?

Adults over the age of 40 typically have three options when it comes to wearing contact lenses for clear vision. One option is to wear contact lenses for distance vision and then use reading glasses in addition to contact lenses to achieve an acceptable near vision. Second, multifocal contact lenses are designed to allow you to see at both near and far distances and if needed can include an astigmatism correction. Monovision, on the other hand, is the third option which uses a fitting technique fitting one eye with a lens for optimal close-up vision, while the other eye is fitted with a lens for optimal distance vision.

More Information

Need help deciding which option is best for you, or want to schedule a fitting appointment? Give our Advanced Eyecare Specialists team a call today at 570-839-2221!

Eye Allergies, Or…?

Hey, allergy season. Welcome back to the time of year when everyone blames almost every distress on allergies! Let us help set the record straight though, since certain symptoms are easily assumed as a seasonal allergic reaction when they can actually be a result of something worth looking into further.

Eye Allergies

But okay, we’ll give eye allergies a little bit of attention since they can be the reason for red, itchy, swollen, sensitive, burning, and overall irritated eyes. First and foremost, don’t forget, it’s not just the pollen. There are several things you can be allergic to from trees to animals to new perfumes, even new contact lenses, believe it or not.

The reason behind the reactions you experience is the release of histamines. Histamines are a chemical that causes all the swelling, tears, et cetera, in an attempt to release allergens and help defend your eyes.

While antihistamine pills and eye drops help calm allergic reactions, it’s suggested that over-the-counters aren’t used for more than a couple of days. Ask us about prescribed eye drops that can be used on a more fluid schedule and can healthily harmonize with any existing eye issues such as glaucoma.

Now that we’ve covered eye allergies, let’s talk about other possible culprits.

Eye Allergies or Eye Infections?

girl with irritated dry red eye or allergy female

The reactions might seem as similar as identical twins in the beginning. But the causes are completely unrelated. Eye allergies are caused by allergens and eye infections are caused by substances like bacteria, parasites, and viruses. If they are not appropriately addressed, symptoms can mutate from a mild itch to more intense pain, light sensitivity and thick, slimy discharge.

Another important thing to know about infections vs allergies: infections can spread to others and allergies cannot. Proper hygiene and following ODs guidance are crucial to healing your own eyes and protecting the eyes of others.

Eye Allergies or Dry Eye?

One oddity of dry eye syndrome is that it can lead to watery eyes. This reflex tearing helps to confuse dry eye syndrome and eye allergies. There are so many varied factors that can lead to dry eye. Factors that can develop at any time. One way to help differentiate the two is maintaining awareness of other symptoms that are more prone to dry eye, such as:

  • Heavy eyelids
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye pain that feels different from allergic irritation

Eye Allergies or Adverse Medicinal Reactions?

Some medications can cause severe eye problems, but the puzzling part is they often don’t kick in until after years of use. This is one of the several reasons why it is important to discuss all side effects with your doctors and to share your use of all medications with your trusted optometrist.

Medications that can lead to eye issues fall in every arena. The most common negative results are dry eye, light sensitivity, and in more serious cases, optic nerve damage and loss of visual acuity. If these reactions begin to take place during the months that are often considered “allergy season”, it may be easy to relate them with allergy responses.

Eye allergies usually don’t come on their own. They’re often accompanied by sneezing, a scratchy throat, and a stuffy nose. The best way to confirm the cause? A checkup! Request an appointment on our website with details of what eye irritations you’re looking to calm. Our team at Advanced Eyecare Specialists is here to help!

When the Whites of Your Eyes Just… Aren’t Quite White

White eyes have just about the same cosmetic priority as white teeth or unblemished skin. In fact, several surveys reveal that about 30% of people initially notice eyes when they first meet someone. While you can be a generally healthy human with stained teeth and imperfect skin, your eyes can reveal a lot about you… including your health.

First, allow us to introduce you to the sclera. The sclera is simply the medical term for “the white of the eye”. And it comes with high importance.

The sclera is four coats of protection that wrap around most of the eyeball, from the front of the beautiful colored part of the eye- the iris, to the back with sensitive optic nerves. This eye armor is no more than one millimeter thick, which amounts to the thickness of about 10 sheets of paper, layered on top of one another!

The layers of protective armor that give your eye its white color and the sclera its overall strength include randomly patterned collagen fibers and tissues called the episclera, the stroma, the lamina fusca, and the endothelium.

Typically, the entire sclera, not just one layer, changes color or accumulates spots.

Here are 4 hues to keep a lookout for along with a few reasons why:

  1. Yellow: A yellow tone brings along with it a couple of main suspicions, jaundice and “surfer’s eye”.A buildup of red blood cells that are normally filtered out by the liver can have several different causes but can trigger jaundice which often includes a yellowing of the eyes and skin. Surfer’s eye should really be given the nickname of “Outdoor A Lot Eye” as it is a sign of untreated UV damage from the sun combined with high winds or areas filled with dust.
  2. Blue: A tint of blue/gray might not be easy to detect by looking in a mirror, and often these tints are unavoidable because of long-term use of important medications.Tints of blue are still important to observe with help from your OD to consider or dismiss certain health conditions like genetic bone disease or iron deficiency.
  3. Red: Chances are we’ve all experienced eyes with a shade of red, whether it was thanks to allergies or exhaustion or any other typical culprit.
    However, it is still important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible since a red eye can also signal an infection or a broken blood vessel, especially if accompanied by discharge, pain, or blurred vision.
  4. Closeup of an eye of a black manBrown: Brown spots are on both ends of the spectrum. They range from completely harmless to life-threatening. High levels of melanin, the natural skin pigment which makes skin, hair, and the iris of your eyes a darker color can curate spots outside of the iris and within the sclera which are nothing to worry about.
    However, if a dark spot that resembles a freckle that changes over time develops during or after your 30’s, we suggest you make an appointment. These more serious brown spots are not at all melanin-related and can become cancerous if left untreated.

So, when the whites of your eyes just… aren’t quite white, give us a call at 570-839-2221! Keep note of what is accompanying your sclera color change and alert us about anything such as…

    • Blurred vision
    • Discharge
    • Pain
    • Light sensitivity
    • Swelling or bulging

…and our team at Advanced Eyecare Specialists will handle the process to lead your eyes—and your entire self—back to health.

A Close Up of Presbyopia

Through each stage of life, from infancy through adulthood, your eyes and visual needs will change. One of those changes, and arguably the largest and most frustrating, will come in your early 40’s. Yes, we are referring to the need for reading glasses which is technically referred to as presbyopia.

Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on near objects or tasks. The lens inside the eye loses its ability to change shape over time, which is necessary to focus at near. This is, unfortunately, a natural part of the aging process. Symptoms will include blurred vision up close, a tendency to hold reading material further away, or eyestrain after reading or computer work.

There are several ways to combat presbyopia, and the good news is, your optometrist can help!

1. Glasses

There are multiple glasses options available for our presbyopic patients. First, a simple pair of prescription reading glasses may help. With reading glasses in place, close objects will appear more in focus. However, since the distance prescription is now different than the near prescription, these glasses that were specifically designed to help with near, will unfortunately make vision in the distance significantly more blurry. This will result in a constant on and off with the glasses depending on the task at hand. Or, if there is also a need for distance correction, constant switching between distance and near glasses. For those who find this highly frustrating – enter multifocal glasses.

Multifocal glasses simply mean that both distance and near can be seen through the lenses; the top part is designated for distance, and the bottom for near. Even these come in two styles: blended or non-blended. The blended style is the most common and referred to as a progressive lens. The progressive lens gives clear vision at all ranges (far, intermediate, and close) and is more ideal for those who spend several hours on the computer throughout the day. The non-blended style is referred to as a bifocal. This style still gives distance in the top but has a small box in the bottom nasal corner of the lenses for reading. There is no intermediate/computer area in these lenses.

2. Contact Lenses

Several contact lens options exist for presbyopic patients as well! There are multifocal contact lens options which incorporate distance prescription as well as near prescription into the lenses. There is also an option referred to as monovision, where the dominant eye is set to see far and the nondominant eye is set to see close. Both multifocal and monovision contact lenses can take some getting used to, but after adapting, most patients do well with one of these options.

3. Surgery

Although traditional LASIK does not correct for presbyopia, LASIK can be performed in the monovision format – where one eye is corrected for far and the other eye is corrected for near. Since not all patients adapt well to monovision, it is wise to test this out for several months in contact lenses before opting for surgery. Furthermore, when it is time for cataract surgery, there are multifocal implant options now available.

4. Other Options

Hold tight for other presbyopic treatments in the pipeline! Vision focused pharmaceutical companies are working on clinical trials for the development of eyedrops to treat presbyopia, like Vuity. Vuity™ (pilocarpine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution) is an FDA-approved eye drop to treat age-related Blurry Near Vision (presbyopia) in adults. VUITY™ works by reducing your pupil size. It contracts certain muscles in the eye to help you see up close.

Farewell Letter from Dr. Demko

Dear Patients:

I am writing to share with you the news of my retirement, effective October 15, 2020. It has been a great pleasure meeting and caring for you.

As I continue to transition away from the practice over the coming weeks, I hope you will look to Dr. Aimee Grimm for your continuing care.

Dr. Grimm is a residency-trained optometrist who specializes in comprehensive eye exams and advanced contact lens fittings including soft, rigid gas permeable, multifocal, hybrid, and scleral lenses for regular and irregular corneas, as well as keratoconic patients.

Read more about Dr. Grimm here.

Your medical records will be available for the period of time required by law at Advanced Eyecare Specialists. You may obtain a copy of your medical record by contacting our office.

It is important for you to make arrangements to continue to receive quality eye care. If you wish to continue your care with Dr. Aimee Grimm, you may contact the practice to schedule an appointment. If you already have an upcoming appointment, you will be seen by Dr. Grimm.

Alternatively, if you need assistance finding an optometrist or ophthalmologist, you may contact your health or vision plan and request a list of providers specializing in this type of care in your plan’s network. You may of course have your records transferred to the eye care professional of your choice.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Best wishes for your future health and happiness.

Sincerely,

Dr. Steven R. Demko

All About Management & Treatment of Eye Disease in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania.

Many eye diseases are associated with aging, and even before you notice any problems, it is common for one of these conditions to be detected during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next.

Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Swiftwater eye clinic has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

I have a cataract. Do I need cataract surgery and when?

Cataracts develop and grow slowly, and it is common for people to miss the early symptoms of this eye disease. Yet, as the cataract grows it will begin to affect your vision. In the beginning, the effects are generally mild and cataracts require no treatment. You may find it helpful to wear anti-glare glasses and sunglasses and read or work under brighter lighting conditions. But once they start to interfere with your vision, it is time to discuss cataract treatment with your eye doctor. Cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens from your eye is the gold standard for treatment and has a very high success rate.

My glaucoma pressure levels are high. What type of glaucoma treatment will I need?

Elevated levels of the fluid in your eye is the primary sign of glaucoma, although your eye doctor will need to perform a thorough eye exam to confirm the diagnosis. Even though glaucoma doesn’t usually present symptoms at the beginning, it is essential to begin treatment as early as possible!

There are two types of glaucoma, “open angle” and “angle closure.”

The second form, angle-closure, requires immediate medical treatment because it can damage your vision very quickly. The main goal of glaucoma treatment for both types is to lower or stabilize your intraocular pressure. Reducing the pressure level is the best way to prevent damage to your optic nerve. In general, prescription eye drops are frontline treatment. However, if glaucoma progresses, your eye doctor may recommend other treatments, such as pills, laser procedures, conventional surgery, or a combination of the above.

I have symptoms of macular degeneration. Is there treatment for my eye disease?

There are two kinds of macular degeneration, and the treatment depends on which type you have. Dry macular degeneration, which progresses more slowly, usually causes less severe damage to your vision. In the beginning, treatment may involve taking high doses of antioxidants and zinc, as well as a specific combination of vitamins and minerals. If you have wet macular degeneration (the more serious type), treatment may consist of injections directly into your eye, which works to suppress the growth of leaky, abnormal blood vessels. Laser therapy is another promising treatment.

My last dilated eye exam showed I have leaky blood vessels from diabetic retinopathy. Do I need laser surgery?

If you have nonproliferative retinopathy, then there may be no need for any immediate treatment. You will just need to visit your eye doctor regularly for eye exams to keep a close watch on the condition of your eyes. It is also important to control blood glucose levels tightly, (according to your physician’s recommendations), as studies show that controlling diabetes can significantly slow or halt the progression of retinopathy.

If you have proliferative retinopathy, you will likely need surgery, such as focal laser surgery. This outpatient procedure can help prevent vision loss. Other possible procedures include laser scatter surgery to get rid of abnormal blood vessels or a vitrectomy to replace the inner gel of your eye.

My dry eyes hurt! What can be done?

The symptoms of dry eye can be painful and get in the way of doing many things, such as reading or watching TV. In order to design the most helpful treatment for your unique condition, you will need a comprehensive eye exam that uncovers the root of the problem. Depending on what’s causing your dry eyes, treatment can be as simple as topical therapy, such as eye drops. Other options include artificial tear inserts, hydration masks, antibiotics, or punctal plugs that block tear drainage and help to disperse your tears over the eye surface. Treatment for dry eye is highly personalized – what works for one patient may not help another, and you need an experienced eye doctor to custom-design the best therapy to give you comfortable vision once again!

For a precise diagnosis of eye disease and advanced treatments, call our Swiftwater eye doctor at Advanced Eyecare Specialists, Call 570-832-4122 or Click here to make an appointment online!

Advanced Eyecare Specialists, 2055 Route 611, Swiftwater, Pennsylvania, 18370

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Exercise and Your Eye Health

Advanced Eyecare Specialists - Local Sunglasses Shop and Sports Safety glasses center in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania

Regular exercise is an essential component of overall health and wellness. It is proven that exercise reduces sickness and disease; it increases strength, immunity, and mental health; and it also helps regulate bodily functions and maintain a healthy weight. Research shows that exercise can lower our risk of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, as well as other eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Whereas, a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of these diseases and of vision loss, studies show that even moderate exercise at least three times a week can improve the prognosis of the above-mentioned chronic illnesses and reduce the risks of developing vision threatening eye diseases.

Inactivity is an even higher risk factor if you have other co-factors for developing eye diseases, including: a family history, previous eye injury or surgery, diabetes, high blood pressure or very high myopia. A combination of healthy lifestyle habits which include regular exercise and a nutritious diet and tending to your mental and emotional well-being can reduce these risks significantly.

Tips for Incorporating Physical Activity Into Your Day

  • Make it a priority. Schedule your exercise time into your day as if it is a non-negotiable appointment. Find the time of day that works best – for some that is early morning and for others late at night. Work your way up to a half hour at least three times a week.
  • Be realistic. You don’t need to become a fitness expert to experience the benefits of exercise. Walking, yoga, swimming, even dancing around the house are all options for staying fit. Find a type of exercise that you love so you will enjoy working this habit into your life.
  • Just move. Find ways to move your body throughout your day. Park your car a little further away from the mall entrance, take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk or bike to work. Remember, every little bit of movement helps.
  • Find something you enjoy. Often finding the right exercise is a good stress reliever, and reducing stress will also reduce risk of many chronic diseases.
  • It’s never too late. Exercise for the elderly can be a challenge especially during the cold winter months, when many seniors can’t get out of the house due to the weather. Even walking up and down the stairs in the house or following an exercise video can be helpful to keep from being sedentary.

Where can you find Eye Saftey Protection & Prevention services in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania?
Call Advanced Eyecare Specialists on 570-832-4122 in Swiftwater, PA to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist.

If you are exercising outdoors or playing contact sports, make sure to protect your eyes with sunglasses or sports safety glasses to ensure your eye health and safety.

Regular exercise can significantly decrease your risks of certain eye conditions but you still have to ensure that you visit your eye doctor for regular exams. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam every year to ensure your vision and your eyes are healthy and to catch any possible problems as early as possible.

Eye health and disease prevention are just two of the many health and wellness benefits you gift yourself when you make exercise a regular part of your lifestyle. Speak to your doctor if you have any health issues that need to be considered. At any age or level of physical fitness, you can find some form of exercise that works for you.

Call Advanced Eyecare Specialists on 570-832-4122 in Swiftwater, PA to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist.

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2017 Solar Eclipse – Safe Viewing Tips

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ARE YOU READY FOR THE SOLAR ECLIPSE ACROSS AMERICA?

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of the United States will have a solar eclipse. The moon will cover at least part of the sun for 2 to 3 hours. Halfway through, anyone within a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a brief total eclipse. The moon will completely block the sun’s bright face for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds. Day will turn into night, and (weather permitting) one of nature’s most awesome sights will become visible: the sun’s shimmering outer atmosphere, or corona. The American Optometric Association, in partnership with the American Astronomical Society, is providing detailed information so that you can safely view the eclipse.Here are four ways to safely view a solar eclipse:

  1. Use approved solar eclipse viewers. The only safe way to view a partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or viewers that meet international standard ISO 12312-2 for safe viewing. Sunglasses, smoked glass, unfiltered telescopes or magnifiers, and polarizing filters are unsafe. If you can’t find eclipse viewers, build a pinhole projector to watch the eclipse.
  2. Technique of the pros. Before looking at the sun, cover your eyes with the eclipse viewers while standing still. Glance at the sun, turn away and then remove your filter. Do not remove the filter while looking at the sun.
  3. Totality awesome. Only within the path of totality-and once the moon completely blocks the sun-can eclipse viewers safely be removed to view totality. Once the sun begins reappearing, however, viewers must be replaced.
  4. Visit your doctor of optometry. If you should experience discomfort or vision problems following the eclipse, visit your local doctor of optometry for a comprehensive eye examination.

How Do We See?

eyeball drawing

Have you ever thought about how vision works? Seeing is an incredible gift made possible by a system in which the eye and the brain process visual information from the outside world. If any step of that process does not function properly, vision will be impaired.

Similar to a camera, the eye transmits light from the world around us into an image that we can perceive. Certain parts of the eye even function like the different parts of a camera such as the shutter, the lens and film (if we can hearken back to the days when we used film in cameras). Here is a quick breakdown of the fascinating way our eyes and brain enable us to see and experience the world around us:

The Vision Process

Light reflected from an object in our field of view is gathered by the cornea which is essentially the clear “window” to our eye. The cornea then refracts the light rays through the pupil (the center of the iris where light enters the eye). The iris, which like the shutter of a camera will enlarge and shrink based on how much light is coming in, then passes the image onto the crystalline lens. Just like a camera lens, the lens in the eye focuses the light rays, projecting them to a point at the back of the eye called the retina, where the image will appear upside down. The retina contains a thin layer of color-sensitive cells called rods and cones that perceive color.

From the retina, the visual signals travel to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain receives information from both eyes and must then converge the images (and flip them right side up) to get a complete picture.

Vision Problems

A breakdown in vision can happen at any point in this process. From the muscles that control the eyes, to the parts within the eye, to the pathway to the brain. Sometimes vision impairment is due to technical problems with the eye receiving the information and passing the signal on, such as convergence insufficiency (inability to coordinate the eyes to converge on one point), myopia (nearsightedness) or cataracts (clouding of the lens).

Other times, the eyes might work perfectly, but there is a problem with the brain interpreting the signals it receives. In these cases we can’t “see” in the traditional sense, because our brains aren’t able to properly “read’ the signals or we don’t know what we are looking at. This is the case for some learning disorders that are caused by the visual processes in the brain such as dyslexia.

As you can see, vision is quite a complicated process. A simple vision exam isn’t always able to determine vision problems, especially in children which is why it is so important to have regular comprehensive eye exams, to measure the health of the eye and all of its parts.