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Practice Update

Dear Valued Patients and Families,

Through these difficult times, we want you to know that we are here for your eyecare needs.

Our office is open for emergency appointments only, but our phone is staffed for any questions or concerns.

We are available to order contact lenses and will ship them to your home at no charge.

Lost or broken glasses can be treated as an emergency visit, or we can order the same frame and lenses for you and again ship them to your home at no charge.

Please be well and we hope to see you again soon.
Dr. Thomas Holden, Dr. Lisa Knapp and Staff

Refer to our last post for information about our practice guiding patients who come to our office.

Ventura, CA and Eyeglasses, Meet Family Optometric Group

Ventura, CA and Eyeglasses, Meet Family Optometric Group Have you ever wondered what makes the secret sauce to success? Well, patients across Ventura California have shared amazing experiences with Family Optometric Group due to one key ingredient: great customer service.

When the time arrives that your old pair of eyeglasses needs a replacement, there are a lot of obstacles before choosing where to go.

  • How much do I want to spend?
  • How far do I need to drive?
  • Are my options better online?
  • When was my last eye exam? Am I due for one?

Looking for eyeglasses may have other considerations, yet when you come across a practice like Family Optometric Group, your focus changes entirely. The staff and eye doctors help you as you enter the door. From reviewing your medical history with you to sharing details about the workings and health of your eye, you will discover the expertise and personal care involved.

25 years of eye care in Ventura, CA | Family Optometric Group

After a thorough eye exam with one of our eye doctors, Dr. Holden or Dr. Knapp, one of the opticians will then guide you to our optical. Our trained opticians will help you find a pair of eyeglasses that are fashionable and cater to your face shape and personal style.

Dr. Knapp hp compressedDr. Holden hp compressedTime and again patients have shared the same positive experiences:

“…I highly recommend this place; they have great customer service.”

“First time …extremely helpful in finding the correct glasses.”

“Everyone was so nice and efficient. I will recommend them to anyone who needs new glasses.”

“ Great office, I broke my loops they helped fixing them without me being a patient! Great service.”

Patients who receive great customer service know that they have made a great decision. Receiving quality care for your eyes and finding eyeglasses that you love are the reasons patients continue returning to Family Optometric Group.

If you’re looking to buy eyeglasses in Ventura California and you want to meet amazing eye doctors backed by warm and caring staff, Family Optometric Group is only minutes away in Oxnard California.

Do Glasses Worsen Your Eyesight or Is that a Myth?

Young Child Big GlassesIt’s safe to assume that many people have heard of the claim “glasses can worsen your eyesight.” Possibly this concept arose from the fact that someone would place glass lenses in front of their eyes and somehow this could cause strain to your eyes. While glasses aren’t a natural way for your eyes to focus, fortunately, they have only proven to help people read and live with clear vision. Oddly enough, while there’s no evidence behind such a proposition, studies have shown across various countries that this myth is believed by as many as 30% to almost 70% of people.

For those who wear glasses, whether due to nearsightedness or farsightedness, your eye doctor probably shared with you a bit of a background about your eye health. For example, children and young adults start to wear glasses as a part of the aging process. For many, the weakening of their vision is simply due to their family history, where both parents were nearsighted. In such a case, nearsightedness is almost guaranteed at some level regardless of glasses. Perhaps, what’s important to remember is that changes in vision are perfectly normal. This myth about glasses could be a misplaced fear or lack of understanding about our vision, but it’s really just an expected adjustment for many. In truth, glasses or any other form of vision correction ever harm vision, but rather they protect it.

Perhaps, what’s important to remember is that changes in vision are perfectly normal. This myth about glasses could be a misplaced fear or lack of understanding about our vision, but it’s really just an expected adjustment for many. In truth, glasses or any other form of vision correction ever harm vision, but rather they protect it.

If a child with nearsightedness were to never wear glasses with the right prescription, their vision would only worsen over time at a faster rate. This could leave a long-term negative impact and cause a greater risk of ocular disease. A child’s vision is still sensitive and ensuring they receive the proper eyewear is essential for their future. While glasses might not everyone’s style, discuss options with your local optometrist. For some, contact lenses are an amazing alternative that provides comfort & clarity.

Although there was a misconception decades ago that one should deliberately prescribe a child a slightly weaker prescription than they really needed it, this too is debunked. Not only do we need to prescribe children with their exact prescription to ensure that myopia progression does not worsen too drastically, but this was proven over various studies & trials.

For example, a trial was conducted in Malaysia in 2002 of a group of 94 children with myopia. Some children wore glasses with the correct prescription and others wore glasses with a slightly weaker prescription than required. From the age of 9 until 14, their eyesight was measured for myopia progression. At the end of the trial, researchers discovered that those children with the weak prescription we’re gradually getting more myopic as time went on.

While there hasn’t been any absolute proof of glasses preventing myopia progression, there’s enough data to rely on the fact that they clearly don’t hurt vision at all.

It’s common knowledge that children who are nearsighted require glasses. Plus, for many of us at around age 40, we’ll need to consider progressive lenses or multifocal contacts to deal with presbyopia. Presbyopia is a condition where one has changes in their farsighted vision, which makes it difficult to see up close and at a distance. So, there are a lot of people who wear glasses, and some people wear them for a very long time. We shouldn’t consider glasses to be a danger to our vision but a support. There’s no real causal relationship between glasses and how your eyes weaken over time. It’s just another part of life.

One thing is certain: the concept that glasses will worsen your eyesight is a myth. There’s no data around that supports it, so glasses are still a great way to correct your vision. Especially when a child is ready to start school, where their vision needs to be its best, glasses should be encouraged in a positive environment.

For more information about eyewear & other options to correct your vision, call our practice today!

Dry Eye Treatments: Artificial Tear Drops and Omega-3 Supplements

Dry eye syndrome (DES or dry eye) is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Its consequences range from minor irritation to the inability to wear contact lenses and an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye

Persistent dryness, scratchiness and a burning sensation on your eyes are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. These symptoms alone may be enough for your eye doctor to diagnose dry eye syndrome. Sometimes, he or she may want to measure the amount of tears in your eyes. A thin strip of filter paper placed at the edge of the eye, called a Schirmer test, is one way of measuring this.

Some people with dry eyes also experience a “foreign body sensation” – the feeling that something is in the eye. And it may seem odd, but sometimes dry eye syndrome can cause watery eyes, because the excessive dryness works to overstimulate production of the watery component of your eye’s tears.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

In dry eye syndrome, the tear glands that moisturize the eye don’t produce enough tears, or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly.

Dry eye syndrome has several causes. It occurs:

  • As a part of the natural aging process, especially among women over age 40.
  • As a side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson’s medications and birth control pills.
  • Because you live in a dry, dusty or windy climate with low humidity.

If your home or office has air conditioning or a dry heating system, that too can dry out your eyes. Another cause is insufficient blinking, such as when you’re staring at a computer screen all day.

Dry eyes are also associated with certain systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea or Sjogren’s Syndrome (a triad of dry eyes, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis or lupus).

Long-term contact lens wear, incomplete closure of the eyelids, eyelid disease and a deficiency of the tear-producing glands are other causes.

Dry eye syndrome is more common in women, possibly due to hormone fluctuations. Recent research suggests that smoking, too, can increase your risk of dry eye syndrome. Dry eye has also been associated with incomplete lid closure following blepharoplasty – a popular cosmetic surgery to eliminate droopy eyelids.

Treatment for Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye – including dryness, scratchiness and burning – can usually be successfully managed.

Your eyecare practitioner may recommend artificial tears, which are lubricating eye drops that may alleviate the dry, scratchy feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye. Prescription eye drops for dry eye go one step further: they help increase your tear production. In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe a steroid for more immediate short-term relief.

Another option for dry eye treatment involves a tiny insert filled with a lubricating ingredient. The insert is placed just inside the lower eyelid, where it continuously releases lubrication throughout the day.

If you wear contact lenses, be aware that many artificial tears cannot be used during contact lens wear. You may need to remove your lenses before using the drops. Wait 15 minutes or longer (check the label) before reinserting them. For mild dry eye, contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Switching to another lens brand could also help.

Check the label, but better yet, check with your doctor before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Your eye doctor will know which formulas are effective and long-lasting and which are not, as well as which eye drops will work with your contact lenses.

To reduce the effects of sun, wind and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound styles offer the best protection.

Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that’s too dry because of air conditioning or heating.

For more significant cases of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes more moist.

If your dry eye is caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), your doctor may recommend warm compresses and suggest an in-office procedure to clear the blocked glands and restore normal function.

Doctors sometimes also recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also offer some relief.

If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first.

Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.

If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery, as well.

Red eye and dry eye syndrome are quite easily confused. Both conditions include itchy, red and dry-feeling eyes. A person who has dry eye syndrome will often think that their red, dry, itchy eyes are nothing more than something minor, like allergies, and live a long time with the severe comfort that comes with dry eye syndrome. He/she will find that, regardless of what measures are taken, the condition does not change significantly and an eye doctor must be consulted to bring relief. Fortunately, Dr. Thomas Holden is very familiar with the the symptoms of dry eye syndrome and how to treat it. Dr. Holden has compiled some points of essential knowledge below, to help his patients recognize the indications of this uncomfortable and painful eye condition in a more timely fashion, so that they can prevent prolonging the pain and discomfort of this extremely uncomfortable.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is characterized by itchy, red, dry feeling eyes that do not get better unless professional medical help is obtained. Doctors generally discuss two broad causes for dry eye syndrome. Either:

The eyes don’t make enough tears, and the eye cannot be comfortably hydrated

OR

The eye produces tears which are flawed. They often lack one or more essential parts normally included in tears to allow them to properly coat and hydrate the eye.

The leading defense against either of these forms of dry eye syndrome is a type of specialty eye drops called “artificial tears.” These special eye drops combat the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye syndrome by imitating real tears as closely as possible. In order to do this in the best way possible, there are many different formulations of artificial tears. Each formulation addresses a different underlying cause of your dry eye. Some help to to address the issues of dry eye syndrome in which tears are lacking in quantity, and others will add one or more building blocks to your tears to help them better perform their intended function.

Red Eyes

Red eyes are generally not as worrisome as dry eye syndrome and you shouldn’t worry too much about them. In most cases, red eyes are caused by allergens or foreign substances, which can cause your eyes to become irritated. Small blood vessels throughout your eyes then become inflamed and enlarged, becoming much more visible and turning your eyes a reddish hue. This is where the term “red eyes” comes from.

Many times, red eyes will heal up and return to normal without any medical attention at all. A not of caution, however: The great number of conditions that can cause dry eyes makes it very hard to know exactly what the cause may be sometimes. If your red eyes are accompanied by a high fever, headache and/or a great deal of eye pain, go to the doctor immediately. This note aside, red eyes are almost always minor and should not cause anxiety unless accompanied by these additional symptoms.

Even with a brief but comprehensive explanation such as this, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between these two similar looking conditions. If you feel your red eyes may be something more, come see Dr. Holden today.

Sometimes a person is unable to produce enough tears or their tears do not possess the right qualities to keep eyes healthy and comfortable. This can cause a consistent lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye, known as dry eyes.

Normally, the eye constantly lubricates itself with tears by producing them at a slow and steady rate, keeping itself moist and comfortable. Usually these tears consist of three layers, an oily, a watery, and a mucus layer. Each layer has a specific role in lubricating your eyes. The oily layer is outermost. It’s main purpose is to slow evaporation of the tear. The watery layer is in the middle. This makes up the majority of what a person normally thinks of as tears. This layer cleans the eye and helps to wash away small foreign objects and particles. The inner layer consists of mucus. This mucus allows the watery layer to stick to the eye and spread evenly over the eye in order to keep it lubricated. In a person with dry eyes, either hormonal changes, side effects from medication or some other factor causes the eye to either not produce enough tears, or leave out parts of the tear that make proper lubrication possible.

Dr. Thomas Holden, of Family Optometric in Oxnard, California explains, “Symptoms of dry eyes include stinging or burning in the eyes, scratchiness, and excessive irritation from smoke or wind. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, the eyes’ response to the consistent irritation caused by dry eyes may also cause a person to experience excessive tearing. In this case, the eye is attempting to flush and lubricate itself by producing more tears, but is unable to do so successfully due to the rate of evaporation or inability to spread the tears properly.”

Although dry eyes are not always curable, your optometrist may prescribe artificial tears to help with some of the symptoms. Artificial tears are lubricating eye drops that may help with dry, scratchy feeling eyes. Different artificial tears work in different ways. Some help replenish parts of the tear that your eyes are not producing on its own, others help to produce more tears overall. Your eye doctor will assist you to choose which will help you most. Dr. Holden cautions, however, “These artificial tears should not be confused with eye drops that are advertised to ‘get the red out.’ These eye drops may indeed reduce the appearance of redness in your eyes, but this is accomplished by making the blood vessels in your eyes smaller rather than actually lubricating your eyes. As such, these drops can sometimes actually make your symptoms worse. One should also be aware that if you wear contacts, some eye drops require you to take them out before using the drops and wait 15 minutes or more before reinserting your contact lenses.”

Some cases of dry eyes are seasonal, such as those which occur as a result of cold, dry winter air. In this case, your eye doctor may recommend wearing sunglasses or goggles when outdoors to reduce your eyes’ exposure to the sun, wind and dust. For indoors, your optometrist may recommend an air cleaner and humidifier to take dust out of the air and add moisture to air which is too dry.

Studies have also shown that nutrition may have a part in helping to relieve some symptoms of dry eyes. Your eye doctor may recommend nutritional supplements such as omega-3. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are cold-water fish, cod, herring and salmon, as well as flaxseed oil. Mild dehydration can make symptoms worse too, so be sure to drink plenty of water, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices and milk.

For more information, and to have Dr. Holden and Dr. Knapp help you with your dry eyes, be sure to make an appointment with your eye doctor today.

Macular Degeneration: What It Is and How It’s Treated

white 20haired 20manMacular degeneration is an extremely damaging and very serious eye condition that robs a person of their central and detail vision by destroying the small part of the retina, called the macula, that is in charge of this sort of vision. Subsequently, detail work, for example, threading a needle or activities, for example, perusing a book, turn out to be exceptionally troublesome or even unimaginable.

Macular degeneration can once in a while be a tremendous difficulty, as the clear or hazy spot in the focal point of a person’s field of vision frequently blots out faces, making it hard even to recognize dear friends and family. Macular degeneration as a rule continues gradually and is barely noticeable without routine eye exams, bringing on a critical loss of sight before detection. Particularly for those beyond 40 years old and/or with a family history of the disease, these regular eye exams are necessary as a method for right on time identification and treatment, guaranteeing long term eye and vision wellbeing.

Two sorts of macular degeneration exist, dry and wet. Here is a diagram of both:

Dry Macular Degeneration is a great deal more common condition than it’s wet option. Side effects incorporate blurred vision and/or reading vision, hues appearing to be considerably less striking and trouble seeing in faint lighting. Macular degeneration that influences one and only eye is frequently more hard to identify without an eye exam. This outcomes from your strong eye compensating for the vision’s weaknesses in the weak eye. For this situation, eye exams turn out to be considerably more vital to distinguish and screen the advancement of this single-eye macular degeneration.

Wet Macular Degeneration is substantially more uncommon, and considered extensively more unsafe. This is due to how wet macular degeneration shows a propensity to intensify considerably over an alarmingly short measure of time. Indications of this type of macular degeneration are like the dry alternative, with the addition that you might likewise see that straight lines appear to be twisted or screwy.

Macular degeneration, once it has developed, has no governmentally or federally approved treatment options, and sight which is lost through harm brought on by macular degeneration is non-reversible. Avoiding macular degeneration out and out, is accordingly a person’s best protection. Other than general eye exams for immediate discovery, various expert studies have demonstrated a connection between certain wellbeing supplements and lessened danger of macular degeneration. The individuals who took Vitamin C, Vitamin E and other solid supplements seemed to decrease their long term danger of creating macular degeneration or of their dry macular degeneration getting worsening or forming into wet macular degeneration.

For more information, contact Drs. Holden & Knapp today!

Protective Sports Eyewear is a Serious Matter

dad riding bike with daughter

There are thousands of eye injuries a year related to sports. According to the National Eye Institute eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in North America and most injuries occurring in school-aged children are sports-related. Further 99% of sports-related eye injuries can be prevented simply by wearing protective eyewear.

Sports injuries aren’t just a result of contact sports. Any sport can pose a danger especially those that involve balls, bats rackets or even elbows. It’s up to parents, teachers, coaches and league administrators to make protective eyewear a mandatory part of any sports uniform. This includes safety glasses or goggles, helmets with built in eye shields, or eye guards, depending on the sport.

Prescription Sports Eyewear

For athletes that wear prescription eyewear or contact lenses, sports eyewear plays an additional role. Many athletes choose to forego eyewear during play because of the inconvenience it causes, however this impairs their vision and ultimately affects their performance ability. Wearing prescription sports eyewear or wearing non-prescription goggles over their glasses or contacts not only serves to protect the eyes, but it allows them to see better and increases performance. It’s very important to note that standard prescription glasses or sunglasses do not protect the eyes from an impact and could possibly cause greater harm if the lenses or frames are damaged during play.

How to Select The Right Protective Sports Eyewear

Protective eyewear is made of special materials that are impact resistant such as polycarbonate or Trivex. Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses for outdoor use also have UV protection to protect the eyes from the sun, and can be made with added tints just like built-in sunglasses. It is a good idea to make sure that your lenses include a scratch resistant coating so that natural wear and tear don’t cause reduced visibility. Athletic eyewear frames are usually made from polycarbonate also, or from strong plastic, and often have padding on the forehead or nose to enhance comfort and fit.

Especially in children who are growing, it is critical for protective eyewear to fit well, for optimal safety and vision. To check that the glasses fit properly make sure that the internal padding rests comfortably on the face and that the eyes are centered in the lens area. If the child complains that they are too tight or you can visibly see that they are too loose, it may be time for a new pair. Also take into consideration whether the child will be wearing a hat or helmet to make sure that the goggles or glasses fit comfortably inside the gear.

Depending on the sport, the type and design of the eye protection varies, so be sure to tell your eye care professional what sport you play so he or she can find the best type of eyewear to keep your eyes safe.

How Pregnancy Affects Vision

woman 20smelling 20flowers

The hormonal fluctuations experienced during pregnancy can cause many unexpected changes in your body, including your eyes and vision. Most of these changes are temporary and will return to normal once you give birth. It’s important to know which vision changes are normal for an expecting mother and which could indicate a problem that requires medical attention.

Normal Vision Changes

Visual Acuity/Blurred vision

During pregnancy, you may notice a change in your vision due to hormone levels. If you find that your vision has gotten blurry or that your current prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses are not helping as much as they usually do, speak to your eye doctor. Often the change in your vision is due to fluid retention which can temporarily change the shape of your cornea. Since your hormones will continue to fluctuate and will return to normal shortly after you give birth or after you finish nursing, your doctor may advise waiting until after you deliver to assess whether you need to change your prescription. However, you may need a temporary pair of glasses with your current prescription if you need lenses for driving or other tasks that are dangerous or difficult without perfect eyesight.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes is a common and usually temporary condition that is experienced during pregnancy. Dry eyes can lead to irritation and discomfort in general and especially when wearing contact lenses. To relieve dry eyes, over-the-counter lubricating or rewetting eye drops are completely safe to use during pregnancy and nursing. It’s a good idea to consult with your optometrist to make sure you’re using a good dry eye solution, and definitely see the eye doctor if symptoms persist or if you wear contact lenses.

Puffy Eyelids

Along with many other areas in the body, eyelids may swell during pregnancy. To reduce water retention, make sure you drink a lot of water and limit your intake of sodium and caffeine.

Vision Changes that Require Medical Attention

Preeclampsia

Some serious vision changes could be signs of preeclampsia, a potentially serious issue that occurs in 5-8% of pregnancies. Vision symptoms associated with the condition include temporary vision loss, light sensitivity, blurry vision, auras and the appearance of flashing lights, along with high blood pressure. If you experience these symptoms seek medical attention immediately.

Diabetes

Both women that are regularly diabetic and those that have gestational (pregnancy) diabetes need to keep an eye on their vision as blurred vision can indicate elevated blood sugar levels. The risks of vision loss associated with diabetes is heightened during pregnancy so it is critical to monitor blood sugar levels at all times. Women with gestational diabetes should get a diabetic eye exam, which includes dilating the eye and examining the retina for signs of retinopathy.

While minor changes in your eyes and vision are a normal part of pregnancy, if at any time you notice persistent eye pain, vision loss or discomfort, visit your doctor. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

What you can do about the Dangers of Blue Light

blond 20wearing 20glassesIn our day in age, we have a number of electronic devices that we constantly use, such as cell phones, laptops, and mp3 players. All of these devices, with their many benefits and conveniences, all share one major disadvantage. Blue Light also known as high energy visible light is emitted by most electronics and poses a serious threat to your eye health. Most of us spend on average 25 hours every week staring at one of these screens and barely notice how the light affects our vision. In other words, if you were to stare at the screen for an entire day without sleeping, you could imagine the amount of strain your eyes are going through.

Often we feel headaches or fatigue and fail to notice they start from staring at these screens. Blue light exposure also increases the risk for macular degeneration and harming our visual system. Those with a history of macular degeneration are especially at risk as well as children, due to their large pupils and shorter arms. Children often need to bring electronics closer to their eyes to see, which is also more harmful. Fortunately, because technology is always taking new steps to protect and improve our lives, BluTech lenses are a specially designed lens that blocks out blue light, enhances visual comfort, and reduces eye strain. The lenses use a material that mirror the eye called ocular lens pigment and melanin. The body naturally produces these materials to give proper visual contrast and protect from blue light penetration. Other companies like Recharge as well as Hoya also produce similar lenses to block out harmful blue light.

These specific lenses are extremely important in preserving long-term health of your eyes. Patients who use electronics for most of their day often run the risk of eyestrain or experience difficulty falling asleep at night. For more information about blue light and how to protect your eyes, contact your eye doctor today.