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Treating Dry Eyes for Free

Treating Dry Eyes for Free 300×200Do your eyes feel itchy or irritated on a regular basis? Do you have blurred vision or red eyes? You may be suffering from Ocular Surface Disease. Ocular Surface Disease, also known as dry eye, can occur from certain medications, naturally by aging, or as a symptom arising from systemic diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, or Lupus. If you have a minor case of dry eye, you may be experiencing irritation, excessive tearing, fluctuating vision, and/or a burning sensation in your eyes. Excessive dry eyes, or dry eye symptoms that go untreated, have the potential to damage eye tissue, scar your corneas, and impair your vision.

Vision Source Specialists’ Dry Eye & Ocular Surface Disease Clinic offers FREE dry eye screenings and varying treatment options depending on the severity. While dry eyes cannot be cured, there are various ways to soften or lessen your symptoms. There are even free ways for a person to work towards eliminating dry eye.

20-20-20 RULE

There are many jobs and lifestyles where we spend hours in front of computer screens, tablets, or cellphone screens every day. Due to this lifestyle or work condition, more people are feeling the effects of increased “screen time”, including dry eyes. To combat this, it is recommended to follow the “20-20-20 Rule”. Every 20 minutes a person should spend at least 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. Looking at screens for long periods of time can strain your eyes and this is an excellent exercise to give your eyes a break.

TURN THOSE BLINKERS ON

Blinking more regularly, while it is something we often do not think about, can help with dry eye. It allows for the renewal of tear film that protects and moisturizes a person’s eyes. On average healthy blinking is 10 to 15 times per minute. But this drastically drops by half or more when a person is using electronics such as a computer, tablet, or looking at a television screen. This increases the likelihood of dry eye.

WARM COMPRESS

A warm compress to your eyes can help your eyelids produce more lipids. Lipids boost tear quality and can relieve some dry eye symptoms. You want to make sure your warm compress is warm enough to be therapeutic but is not too hot or cold. It is also important your warm compress is clean and sterile.

Dry Eye Syndrome can affect a person’s livelihood and experiences. Trying these three simple steps daily can make a difference in preventing and combatting dry eye. To learn if you have dry eye, contact Vision Source Specialists’ Dry Eye & Ocular Surface Disease Clinic today at (605) 399-3937. Sign up for your FREE dry eye screening and work with their team in the treatment of dry eye including with the use of state-of-the-art technology, LipiFlow. This is a treatment device specifically designed for effectively removing blockages from the meibmomian glands, allowing them to properly function and produce the oils that make up the top protective lipid layer of the tear film. During your appointment, Vision Source Specialists will discuss the treatment options that best fits your needs and help you develop a plan in helping your symptoms of dry eye.

Reading with the “RightEyes”

Right Eyes 300×200Back to school is in full swing! Your child has the newest clothes, a brand new lunch box, sharpened pencils, and a backpack they have been eyeing all summer. While your child may appear ready to head back into the classroom, are they truly ready? One in four children has a vision problem that affects learning and vision problems could be affecting your child’s sight of the board, after-school activities, and even reading abilities. Vision Source Specialists new Performance Vision Training Center (PVTC) can help a variety of people including athletes, patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries or concussions, and even those students who are struggling with visual activities such as reading. The PVTC offers different assessments and training to improve and enhance various vision skills a student needs when attending school, doing day-to-day activities, and even reading.

VISION DISORDERS

You may believe your child has 20/20 eyesight, but vision issues could still be plaguing their learning. Did you know that actually, 50% of vision disorders go undiagnosed? You may be questioning how this can occur. The answer is simple: vision disorders often share the same symptoms are many learning disabilities. Some of the symptoms can include poor handwriting, low comprehension, disinterest, letter reversals, short attention span, and more. These symptoms can be detrimental to your child, their development, and their educational journey. Luckily, with Vision Source Specialists Performance Vision Training Center, there is an answer to identifying vision disorders and working with your child to improve their vision skills.

RIGHTEYE

If your child is struggling in the classroom, RightEye is the latest technology in vision that can assist them. RightEye is an eye-tracking system that shows how a child can see and, if needed, can recommend personalized EyeQ Trainer Exercises that can be done at home. This technology measures and records eye movements delivers easy to read results in the form of a Reading EyeQ report. RightEye can measure nearly 20 vision skills in a matter of seconds. Some of these skills include but are not limited to vergence, ocular motility, reading comprehension, reading regressions, head tilt, eye movement skills, and more. These reports can be used by patients, families, doctors, and even teachers to understand the vision problem and take the next steps to improve vision skills and care.

Before your student goes back to school, remember to take time to ensure your child’s success in and outside of the classroom with a comprehensive eye exam and the use of the RightEye technology at Vision Source Specialists Performance Vision Training Center. Taking time to make sure these tasks are completed will set up your child to do well whether they are reading the board, completing homework, or taking a test. RightEye technology is the latest in vision training therapy and can enhance your child’s vision skills for life.

LEARNING I HAVE DRY EYE SYNDROME

BY: WHITNEE PEARCE

I have worn glasses since I was in 3rd grade and now I am nearly 30 years old. In the 6th grade I started wearing contacts. During these years I have played video games, watched television, surfed the web, typed, worked online and on the computer, read for hours digitally, Netflixed, and more. As the years have passed my digital use has drastically increased and unbeknownst to me, my eyes have suffered.

Working as a former optician, yearly eye exams are something that I view as vital. Comprehensive eye exams allow me to not only learn if I need new glasses or order contacts, but they enable me to understand about the health of my eyes. At my last eye exam after speaking with Dr. Wattenhofer, we both determined it would be best if I did dry eye testing. Some of my symptoms included trouble focusing after long computer use, irritated eyes, red eye, and more. Vision Source Specialists now offer the Oculus Keratograph 5M, an advanced technology that can accurately can diagnosis Dry Eye Syndrome. The technology can look at a variety of factors including how well tear film is being created from the glands in your eye lids. The Oculus Keratograph 5M also allows for the imaging and data to be saved, so if a patient did need treatment, a proper compare and contrast can occur after treatment.

Upon doing the test on the Oculus Keratograph 5M, I was quite alarmed at what was found. Yes, I did have dry eye syndrome and not only did I have it because some of my glands were not working properly to produce the tear film my eyes needed but some of the glands were permanently damaged. Due to permanent damage they would never be able to produce the tear film that my eyes need to maintain health. Going over the results and imaging with Dr. Wattenhofer allowed me to understand more about what was happening with my eyes and the importance of keeping the glands I do still have healthy and working their optimum.

From there we created a plan and decided on the next steps of treatment that would be best for me. Stay tuned for my next blog, where I experience the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System, an advanced technology that is designed to improve gland function. With this treatment, along with other treatments such as supplements, eye masks, and more, I will be tracking the health of my eyes and giving the truth about the process of having Dry Eye Syndrome.

For more information on Dry Eye Syndrome, treatment for dry eyes such as the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System, or the Oculus Keratograph 5M, contact Vision Source today.

STURGIS MOTORCYCLE RALLY : WHY HAVE MOTORCYCLE GLASSES?

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the largest motorcycle rally in the world, is in full swing from August 8th-August 14th in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. This year marks the 76thAnniversary for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and thousands of people will ride into the city for fun, excitement, various vendors, and to experience the amazing motorcycles that have come from all over the world. Another popular treat for many bikers during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, is the winding roads and breath-taking scenery that the Black Hills has to offer, perfect for every biker – young and old. Before hitting the open road on your way to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally stop by Vision Source Specialists for your riding sunglasses to make the most of your time in the Black Hills.

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Why Have Motorcycle Riding Glasses?

There are many different reasons to have motorcycle riding glasses from embellishing your style to increasing your safety and vision possibilities on your motorcycle. Motorcycle riding glasses come in a variety of styles which can showcase your unique preference in color, design, and also shape. From frames that offer a great deal of coverage, to lenses that feature pops of color, to temples with design…there are so many options for motorcycle riding glasses that can really showcase your personality as a rider.

Not only can motorcycle riding glasses show off your style, but they are more importantly a safety must-have for riders. Motorcycle riding glasses are just as important as helmets for riders as they protect eyes from debris, allow riders to see clearly even in the direct sun, and can prevent accidents from occurring. Motorcycle riding glasses allow riders to see to their best abilities during various weather conditions or even through the bright sun, which helps keep not only them safer on the road, but everyone on the road. Motorcycle riding glasses are essential for every rider, especially for those going to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and riding throughout the Black Hills.

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Popular Styles of Motorcycle Riding Glasses

There are many different styles of motorcycle riding glasses, but many riders prefer glasses that have “wrap”, or are curved to fit snuggly to their face. This allows for less sun exposure, allow for more protection, and are less likely to “fly off” during rides, and fit better under helmets. There are many different popular brands for motorcycle riding glasses and some of the top styles that Vision Source Specialists offer include Oakley, Wiley X, Ray Ban, Vicious Vision, Carrera, and our latest style the Amphibia sunglasses. These sunglasses feature not only a wrap, but can go from land to sea – they even float if dropped in water!

For more information on motorcycle riding glasses to make your time at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally perfect contact Vision Source Specialists today. We offer three convenient locations in downtown Rapid City, Hot Springs, and Philip, SD. With our wide variety of brands, style, and designs you may have trouble only finding one pair for Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

LIPIFLOW TREATMENT: MY EXPERIENCE

Upon being diagnosed with Dry Eye Syndrome after Dr. Dawn Wattenhofer examined images of my eyes from the Oculus Keratograph 5M machine; I was introduced to the idea of the seeking treatment from the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System. The Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System is an advanced technology that is designed to improve gland function. At first, I was a bit alarmed and unsure if I wanted the treatment. But after speaking with my doctor, staff of Vision Source Specialists, and doing my own outside research- I knew I wanted to try this treatment of my Dry Eye Syndrome.

The Facts

The Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System is an automated thermal eyelid massage that applies consistent yet gentle heat and pulsating pressure to the eyelids. LipiFlow is the only FDA cleared device that provides both inner and outer lid therapy. During treatment, the small LipiFlow device will be applied to the eyelids one at a time. The device works to unblock clogged meibomian glands, restoring the appropriate balance of oils in the eye’s tear film to relieve dry eye. This oil is essential for a healthy tear film and for protecting the tear layer or watery layer of your eyes. When the water layer is exposed due to lack of oils on the top of the tear film because of gland blockages, the result is the leading cause of Dry Eye Symptoms.

My Experience

My appointment was early in the morning and I wore no makeup to the eye doctor. I had been advised as they would be placing the pulsation system on my eyelids. While I felt a bit nervous, the process was not only easy but the doctor and the doctor’s technician vocalized the process in a clear manner and made me feel comfortable. After a few numbing drops to both my eyes, the system was placed on both of my eyelids. Soon the system’s temperature started to rise and I could feel slight warmth. Little did I realize the system was reaching nearly 108 degrees. It felt much like a warm compress on my eyes and I felt no discomfort. Then after reaching the peak temperature the system began to “pulsate” or massage my eyelids internally and also externally. This also did not hurt, but instead felt soothing. Then in approximately 12 minutes the entire process was finished. Immediately, my eyes felt almost “glossy” and better than they had in years.

Now it is time to wait for the full effects of the Lipiflow to take place, which for many patients take 6-8 weeks after treatment. While I wait I have also started other treatments, which I will go into detail with in my next blog. Typically the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System takes some time for maximum effects, I did feel immediate relief after using the system. My eyes did not feel as dry and the next morning my eyes were not dry, crusty, or have blurry vision at first. I will take this as a win and I look forward to more relief my eyes will feel over time from the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System.

For more information on Dry Eye Syndrome, treatment for dry eyes such as the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System, or the Oculus Keratograph 5M, contact Vision Source today.

USE IT. DON’T LOSE IT: INSURANCE BENEFITS AND FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS

Do you have vision benefits or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) money that needs to be used before December 31st? Use your benefits this year and don’t lose them!

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For many with vision insurance benefits or FSA accounts, your benefits start over January 1st. This means any unused benefits or money from Flexible Spending Accounts are not transferred over into the new year and actually expire. Yes, that is right, you can potentially lose what you earned for your insurance benefits or FSA accounts. To avoid losing your benefits, plan ahead. Schedule your appointment today to use your vision insurance benefits or FSA accounts.

We are also offering our Ultimate Deal on Lenses until Dec. 31st! Buy lenses from our Ultimate Lenses Package and get your second pair of lenses for FREE! Don’t miss this offer!

Our staff at Vision Source Specialists are trained to help you sort through your insurance benefits, answer questions about your FSA, and help you find the best eyewear to suit your prescription and personal needs. Vision Source Specialists can accommodate a variety of insurances including VSP and Davis. Contact us today for more information on using your vision insurance benefits before Dec. 31st!

LOOKING FOR NEW SUNGLASSES?

80f5caff 3ba2 4443 80b9 1712239be4b3We aren’t the only ones who feel the need to protect our eyes from the damaging UV rays of the sun. In ancient prehistoric times, Inuit people who were around the very bright and harmful rays of the sun created “sunglasses” from walrus tusks so they could see better. But it was not until the 1930s when sunglasses came into popularity with the emphasis of sun protection and many eye doctors started realizing that sunglasses could protect our precious eyes. As we know, not protecting our eyes from those harsh UV rays can cause a series of problems leading to cataracts, blindness, cancer, and macular degeneration. But just what should we keep in mind when picking out sunglasses? Follow our simple guide for picking out sunglasses to not only have the perfect style, but protect your eyes.

UV Protection

Before you buy any sunglasses, you should always look for a label that says your lenses block 99-100 percent of UV rays. For those that are buying prescription sunglasses, your lenses should come with this feature. Having UV protection ensures that your eyes are protected from both UVA and UVB rays which both can be detrimental to your eyes. If the sunglasses say something like “absorbs sunlight” this is not enough to protect your eyes.

Frame Fit

When picking out sunglasses, keep in mind that the reason you are wearing them: protection from UV rays. This means, sometimes bigger is better. No we are not saying that you need to have huge “bug-eye” sunglasses, but do keep in mind that having coverage from your sunglasses is key. Not only do you want front coverage but sunglass- frames that have a wrap or wide temples (sides) also will help protect your eyes and the skin surrounding your eyes.

Polarization

Another key to protecting your eyes, is to look for sunglasses that are polarized. You can get polarized sunglasses in both prescription and non-prescription. What does polarized sunglasses do? They cut the glare from horizontal surfaces, especially when driving on when on the water. Polarization allows for better sight that is more crisp and clear.

Lens Color

There are many different colored shades that are used for sunglasses that you can pick to have optimal protection. It is all about personal preference, what you will be using the sunglasses for, and what you are wanting. Are you looking for glasses that are perfect when you go shooting? Opt for a yellow or range color. Wanting to see all the beauty of the beach while you are on vacation? A brown lens will lighten and brighten your experience. Pick a dark gray lens if you enjoy having full coverage.

For more information on picking out sunglasses that properly protect your eyes from UV rays contact Vision Source Specialists. We offer unique and stylish frames to fit your needs whether you are reading your favorite book beach-side, going fishing, cruising through the Black Hills on your motorcycle, or looking to score par while golfing. We have a variety of lens options and offer the best in UV protection and polarization. Stop by today to find your perfect pair of sunglasses.

DONATE TO WAVI – ENTER TO WIN FREE GIFT BASKET

We are excited to announce we will be doing a Donation Drive for Working Against Violence, Inc. (WAVI). WAVI is an amazing organization in our area that provides shelter services to those who have been in violent situations. We are taking items on their wishlist such as women’s clothing, personal grooming items, children’s toys, and more. Drop off any donated items to our Rapid City Downtown location and for a full wishlist of items needed visit http://wavi.org/wishlist/. When you drop off items you are entered to win a gift basket worth $500 filled with things such as a $100 VSS gift card, eye drops, vitamins, eye masks, $100 women’s sunglasses, and more! We will take donations through May 31st.

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THE VALUE OF EYE EXAMS : MORE THAN JUST EYE HEALTH

Whether you are simply noticing a difference in your vision while wearing your glasses, perhaps suffering from an eye condition such as “dry eye”, looking for an updated eyeglasses frame, or it is time for your yearly eye exam — going to the eye doctor not only should be easy, but one where you were given the best service and patient care. Your eyes and vision should be considered priceless, so from investing time to have your eyes have a comprehensive exam with a licensed optometrists, to having a licensed and skilled optician talk about lens and frame options best for your needs and your prescription, to having the best materials used for your lenses to enhance the quality of your vision –your eye care is important and the value should be placed in keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear for years to come. Let’s take a look at some of the valued services your eye doctor, opticians, and technicians provide when you step through the door to get an eye exam.

Education

One of the most valuable services your eye doctor can provide to you, is not what you may think. No, not a prescription — but in fact, education. Educating you about the health of your eyes, talking with you about your family’s health history and creating preventative care for you is crucial so you can not only see your best today, but for years to come. Keep in mind the value of your eye exam surpasses any quick “in and out” service you may receive from chain opticals. Working with independent doctors, like at Vision Source Specialists, we provide comprehensive exams for your benefit. What’s the difference? Comprehensive exams consist of many steps including a review of family and personal health history, evaluation of near and distance vision, and evaluation for near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and presbyopia. During comprehensive exams eye doctors also look for your eyes’ ability to work together as a team and examine the interior of your eyes through dial action to look for cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetes. They will also conduct a pressure test to ensure you do not have the problems with your optic nerve, such as glaucoma.

Not only can going to the eye doctor help with eye conditions, but it can help with your overall health. According to CNN, “More proof that the eyes reflect overall health just arrived in the form of a study adding a disease to the list of what can be predicted by examining ‘the windows to the soul.’” During comprehensive eye examinations, eye doctors can notice if there are small changes in blood vessels in our eyes. This can help foretell if there will be significant memory loss for those over the age of 60. According to Dr. Bishop from the National Eye Institute, “The blood vessel supply is essential to all function, the function of all organs, and so if the blood vessels are unable to do their job, there’s no way that the brain can be functioning as well as a brain that has a good supply.” Other health related problems that can be detected from your eyes include: diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, thyroid disease, and more. Eye doctors like Dr. Jared Pearson and Dr. Dawn Wattenhofer can help their patients realize not only if they are having eye conditions but also potentially other medical ailments.

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Upon diagnosis of any vision problems, eye conditions, or diseases doctors will then speak with you about treatments, preventative care for your eyes, and ways to maintain your vision or the health of your eye. Eye doctors should use the best and latest in technology for the health of your eyes and will develop plans of preventative actions regarding your family health history, your personal history, and any symptoms they note you may be experiencing. Vision Source Specialists work tirelessly to use only the latest in technology for our patients. For example we offer technology such as the iWellness scan or the Optomap, which both give quick and easy scans of your eye to provide a detailed report of the health of your eyes. From this doctors can diagnose various eye conditions and even provide preventative care. Seeing your eye doctor, should not be something taken lightly because without the proper care to your eyes, you run the risk of losing sight and potentially going blind.

Lenses and Frames Options

Maybe, you love your eye doctor but don’t see the point in buying glasses in a store because it seems too costly and you can purchase everything online nowadays. Think again. Picking the right frame for you, is more than what color looks best or how to flatter your personal style –but in fact, can be crucial to your prescription and your glasses working properly. Licensed and trained opticians, are able to guide you through choices for your frames and help you make choices on lenses to suit your needs. Perhaps your prescription would look better in a full frame made from plastic, because of how your prescription will “cut out” in the lens. Maybe you never knew that the thickest part of your lens is the center due to your prescription and need to find glasses that can support that thickness and showcase your style. Or perhaps you are constantly in and out, needing protection from harmful UV rays – transition lenses may be what you need. With so many options, and so many different possibilities to help you see the best out of your glasses, licensed opticians are able to help you make the best choices for your vision.

Adjustments and Measurements

Opticians are also able to not only help guide you through the process of finding glasses that meet your style, but also are functional, but they can adjust and fix glasses. Maintaining the proper shape of your glasses is not only imperative for the comfort and fit, but it is also crucial for the prescription placement for your eye. For those that wear bifocals or progressive lenses, also known as “no-line bifocals” even if your prescription is just a few millimeters off, you can lose reading ability, depth perception, and even distance vision. While proper adjustment is imperative, opticians, also have the ability to properly measure your glasses, pupil distance, and size of lenses, among other things to ensure that the prescription placement is correct in your frame. Without working with a trained optician, measuring your eyes can not only be near impossible, but easily errors can occur which will cause detriment to your vision.

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Going to the eye doctor is more than just looking at a simple eye chart. Your eye doctors, their trained staff, and opticians bring much more to the table than a simple prescription. From knowledge on lenses, frames, adjustments, measurements, to crucial information with health, vision ability, using the latest technology to diagnosis and treat eye health problems, and preventative educational measurements – the list is endless all that happens during your 1 hour yearly eye exam. Education is the key in maintaining the health of your eyes and keeping your vision for many years to come, and with the combination of proper comprehensive eye exams from health professionals you will be able to see clearly for the rest of your life.

Have you realized that you need to book your yearly eye exam? Head on over to our online scheduling portal and schedule your appointment today with Vision Source Specialists. From our staff, to our doctors, to our use of the latest in eye care technology; you won’t be disappointed with your care from Vision Source Specialists.