June is Cataract Awareness Month


More than 22 million Americans over the age of 40 have been diagnosed with cataract disease, the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. An additional eight million people will be diagnosed by 2020.

What do cataracts look like?
In a healthy eye, the lens is transparent, allowing light to pass through and create a sharp image on your retina, which sends that image to the brain allowing you to “see”. Cataracts cause the lens of your eye to literally cloud (spots appear hazy or foggy), distorting the light reaching your retina, causing:

  • Blurry vision
  • Excess glare
  • Double vision
  • Trouble seeing at night

Will cataracts make you blind?
Changes in your vision may not be noticeable at first, but if left untreated, this degenerative eye disease may cause blindness.

Can cataracts be prevented?
The exact cause of a cataract is unknown. Medical professionals do know that most cataracts are caused by age-related changes. However, there are several risk factors for cataracts, including:

  • UV exposure
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Diabetes

According to the American Optometric Association, it’s important to have regular, comprehensive eye exams. While cataract surgery can help restore vision, the key to preventing vision loss in the first place is getting a regular eye exam.

How do I know if I have cataracts?
An annual comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor can help detect cataract disease early, before it progresses. If you don’t have insurance, consider a VSP Individual Vision Plan. It’s insurance you can buy on your own, and it covers everything you’d expect from a vision plan: an eye exam, frames, lenses and more.

This is a guest post written by VSP employee Chris Neuschafer.

Disclaimer: Information received through VSP Vision Care’s blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 


Will My Kids Be Color Blind?


When you think of how a person who is color blind sees the world, what do you imagine? You probably envision their world in black and white or shades of gray. This is actually a common misconception.

Color blindness often means someone cannot distinguish between certain colors, such as blue and yellow, or red and green. In rare cases, a person will be unable to see any color at all. According to Prevent Blindness America, as many as eight percent of men and less than one percent of women have a common form of color blindness.

“Color blindness is most often inherited,” said Arian Fartash, OD. “Color blindness is genetic and mothers are the carriers, whereas their sons will probably be the ones to experience color blindness.”

Watch Dr. Fartash explain how it all breaks down in the latest episode of #AskAnEyeDoc.

If a man is color blind, the chance of his future offspring also being color blind is dependent on if the woman carries the gene.

There are different degrees of color blindness, but most children and adults will learn different cues to help them distinguish colors. Dr. Fartash says it’s important to get an eye exam for your child starting at six months; however, at that age, the child will be too young to determine whether they can or cannot distinguish color.

“But at five years, your child will be able to tell their optometrist if they’re able to see the colors that are being presented to them,” said Dr. Fartash.

If you believe you or your children could be experiencing color blindness, be sure to talk to an eye doctor. Don’t have an eye doctor? Use our Find a Doctor tool for a quick and easy way to locate your nearest VSP network provider.

Disclaimer: Information received through VSP Vision Care’s blog and social media channels are for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 


Preventing Nearsightedness in Children

preventing-nearsightedness-in-children.jpgWe are in the midst of an explosion in the number of nearsighted (myopic) children. A 2002 study on the rate of nearsightedness in the United States showed a 41% increase in the number of nearsighted Americans compared to the original 1972 study. On average, a child in the U. S. will see an increase in myopia of .62 diopters per year. Fortunately, current research shows preventing nearsightedness in children is possible with great success.

A great deal of research is currently underway to determine what makes us more nearsighted and what might be the most effective method of  preventing nearsightedness in children. Much of the latest research in preventing nearsightedness in children is being done in China. Over 70% of Chinese children under 15 are now myopic. Needless to say, the Chinese government is putting a lot of resources behind the treatment and cause of the Myopic Epidemic.

What Makes Us Nearsighted?

Your genes do play a significant role in the type and degree of prescription you have. However, it’s not all genetic, environmental factors also appear to provide a strong influence in modifying your genetic propensity to progressive myopia. Even though our genetics may predispose us to being nearsighted there are things we can do to modify this trait. The majority of a person’s nearsighted prescription occurs during childhood. Therefore, finding ways of preventing nearsightedness in children is currently the most effective method of slowing the myopic epidemic.

Preventing Nearsightedness in Children is Possible With FDA Approved Lenses

We should only rely on methods based on sound scientific studies to guide us in finding and using effective treatments in preventing nearsightedness in children.


Orthokeratology involves the use of a contact lens that acts as a corneal mold (the cornea is the clear window covering the colored part of the eye) which changes the shape of the eye. The orthokeratology lens causes an optical effect known as peripheral defocus which reduces the stimulus to progressive nearsightedness. Orthokeratology has been FDA approved since 2002. Studies show orthokeratology reduces the rate of myopic progression up to 90%. This shape change has been clinically proven to slow the progression of nearsightedness in children.

An Ohio State University study showed that orthokeratology slowed the rate at which the eye grows longer. Keeping the eye from growing longer is a key factor in preventing the progression of nearsightedness. Other studies, conducted all over the world including the United States, China and Europe, have shown rates of reduction between 50% and 90%. Orthokeratology provides a clinically proven, effective means of preventing nearsightedness in children.


Orthokeratology and atropine therapy show similar rates of myopia prevention. Atropine is a medication discovered in the 19th Century. It is still used today for both systemic and ocular conditions. In the eye it is used to dilate the pupil and to freeze the eye’s ability to focus. Atropine is a proven, time tested method of reducing the progression of nearsightedness in children.

For over 40 years atropine has been the mainstay of myopia prevention. Due significant side effects, such as light sensitivity and near vision blur, the treatment drop-out rate with Atropine is high. Studies show however, low dose Atropine is almost as effective as full strength Atropine. Low dose Atropine is easily tolerated by patients. At Total Eye Care we will often combine Atropine therapy with specially designed myopia control orthokeratology lenses. We believe this combination is currently the most effective method of preventing nearsightedness in children.


Changing how we go about our daily activities can affect the progression of nearsightedness in children. Studies have shown children that spend more time outdoors are less nearsighted. Breaking up the day to day routine by spending time outdoors, away from near centric activities is helpful in preventing nearsightedness in children.

Busting Myopia Myths


Not prescribing the full prescription or under-correcting nearsighted prescriptions is easily the most common myopia myth. A Chinese study prescribed glasses to approximately 300 school age children. Half of the children were given the full prescription and the other half were under-corrected. After only 18 months the study was terminated early because the under-corrected group’s myopia accelerated at a much faster rate than the fully corrected group. Under-correcting a nearsighted person’s prescription, not wearing prescribed glasses, and wearing an outdated prescription all lead to thicker, stronger prescription. Wearing current, accurate prescription glasses is the first step in preventing nearsightedness in children.

Does The Bates Method Work

preventing-nearsightedness-in-children-1.jpgThe short answer is a resounding no. The Bates Method is ineffective in preventing nearsightedness in children. The Bates Method has a lot of unfounded support in social media. Dr. Bates was an early 19th century ophthalmologist.

What is the Bates Method

Bates hypothesized that various techniques, such as resting the eyes and pressing your palms (palming) to your eyes would reverse myopia. The Bates Method has been tested extensively, using scientific methods, and has been shown to have no affect on the reduction or reversal of myopia in adults or children. More information on the Bates Method can be found in Dr. Driscoll’s Book “An Eye Doctor Answers: Explanations To Hundreds Of The Most Common Questions Patients Wish They Had Asked” along with extensive information about effective, scientifically proven methods of preventing nearsightedness in children.

How Do I Learn More About Dr. Driscoll and the Myopia Prevention Program at Total Eye Care

By incorporating proven myopia reduction orthokeratology lens designs and atropine therapy we greatly reduce the rate of myopic progression in children. By reducing a child’s myopia, we also reduce their lifetime risk for numerous ocular conditions such as glaucoma and retinal detachment. Putting a once self-conscious, glasses wearing child, or teen, into contact lenses is a life changing event. Making the transition from glasses to orthokeratology or traditional contact lenses is one of those “moments” in a child’s life they will always remember and for which they will always be grateful. As parents we know the importance of instilling a sense of self worth and self esteem in our children. Transitioning a child from thick glasses to contact lenses helps to achieve just that.



On the Job Eye Safety


More than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work every day but with the right eye protection, most of these injuries could have been prevented or the severity lessened. Whether you work in a manufacturing plant, an office or as a mom taking care of little ones, it’s important to protect your eyes.

Are you in a position that requires manual labor?

When working around equipment or exposure to chemicals and other materials, it’s imperative to wear eye protection.

  • A pair of safety glasses, ideally made with polycarbonate lenses, are necessary for jobs that present an eye safety risk. If there are chemicals present, safety goggles should be worn. Talk with your employer to see if safety glasses are covered in your vision plan.
  • Get to know your work surroundings. Identify the primary health hazards in your line and location of work. By being more aware of the risks present, you can take the appropriate precautionary measures.

Do you work a desk job?

You’re likely sitting in front of a computer most days and have begun to realize that digital eye strain is a real thing. Blue light emitted from screens is the culprit. Thankfully, there are several potential solutions.

  • Computer glasses with special lenses can help block blue light emitted from screens. Talk to your eye doctor about these lenses if you spend two or more hours a day in front of a screen or under an LED light.
  • Limit screen time before bed. Ideally, put away your devices a couple hours before going to bed.

Are you a full-time wrangler of kids?

When the endless bound of energy strikes, the park and pool are surefire ways to tire the kids out. However, that could also mean UV light exposure, which can cause damage to the eyes and the delicate skin around the eyes.

  • Throw on a pair of sunglasses for you and the kids. Just look for the “100% UVA/UVB” or “UV400” labels to ensure your eyes are properly protected.
  • Grab a wide-brimmed hat or stake out a spot under an umbrella for an added layer of protection.

Need more tips on preventing eye injuries? Check out our Eye Safety Checklist.

Regardless of what your work day looks like, talk with your eye doctor about ways you can protect your eyes on the job.


NIH Study Commissioned to Examine Prevention of Nearsightedness with Soft Bifocal Contact Lenses

The National Institutes of Health awarded the University of Houston College of Optometry and the Ohio State University College of Optometry $7.5 million to study the use of soft bifocal contact lenses in the prevention of nearsightedness (myopia) in children. The Bifocal Lenses in Nearsighted Kids (BLINK) Study will follow 300 children, ages 7 to 11 years of age over a period of 3 years. The Ohio State University College of Optometry previously published the Corneal Reshaping and Myopia Study in a 2009 issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology where it found that orthokeratology lenses were effective in preventing the lengthening of the eyeball in children which in turn slowed the progression of nearsightedness.

Myopia Regulation Treatment at Total Eye Care

Do you have a family history of nearsightedness? Are your kids nearsighted? Would you like to prevent the progression of myopia in your kids? Summer is a great time start Myopia Regulation Treatment. If you would like more details you can set up a free consult with Dr. Driscoll.

More information about orthokeratology can be found at the OrthoKDoctor.com website.


Surprising Conditions That Eye Doctors Find First

People often think of an eye exam as how you update your eye glass or contact lens prescription. More importantly, it is a very effective way to provide early detection of systemic conditions. Readers Digest recently published this article on conditions that are often first diagnosed by an eye doctor.


Lehigh Valley Center For Sight Announces the Launch of a New Website

Lehigh Valley Center For Sight, an established leader in eye care, announces the launch of their new website, located at https://www.lvcenter4sight.com.

Dr. Houman Ahdieh, Lehigh Valley Center For Sight managing doctor, stated, “I am pleased to announce the launch of our new website. This newly redesigned website offers quick and easy access to essential information and features that offer a more comprehensive understanding of our eye care practice’s services.”

Dr. Ahdieh continued, “The new website has a clean uncluttered design, improved functionality and enhanced rich content focused on the practice’s mission to provide the best eye care service in the Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania region.  We believe that this new site will allow our visitors to have a very informative experience as we continue to grow our practice and increase our presence in the Lehigh Valley. Our new website will be updated on a regular basis with information on new eye care technologies, practice activity, events and other information.